A strong European Parliament and a higher turnout in European elections are the aims of the European electoral law reform the European Parliament adopted yesterday (4 July) with an absolute majority.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement on this today:
This is a good day for Europe. Electoral reform has been agreed, thus strengthening the voice of the people in the European Union.
The mandatory threshold is of particular importance for the European Union’s cohesion and ability to act, as it prevents fragmentation of the Parliament. The fact that the European Parliament and the member states have reached agreement on the reform – nearly 40 years after the first direct election – is thus a great success.
The next European elections will take place in May 2019. Europe is our future. Every vote counts!
European electoral law is being reformed at the initiative of the European Parliament. On the basis of a European Parliament proposal from November 2015, the member states unanimously approved a draft decision amending the 1976 Electoral Act on 18 June. On 4 July, the European Parliament gave its consent, thus paving the way for modernising European electoral law. The aim of the reform is to increase voter turnout, give electoral law a greater European focus and strengthen the European Parliament’s ability to act, thus also consolidating the EU’s democratic legitimacy. Agreement was reached by 397 to 207 votes, with 62 abstentions.
Among other things, the reform provides for measures to prevent double voting. In addition, member states may approve the inclusion of names or logos of the European political parties on ballot papers. Furthermore, there will be a deadline of at least three weeks for the submission of the lists of candidates for the European elections. With the introduction of a mandatory threshold of between two and five percent for constituencies with more than 35 seats, rules are to be harmonised across Europe in order to prevent fragmentation of the European Parliament.
Member states now need to ratify and implement the reform by amending their national legislation on European elections.