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Summaries of EU Legislation

Voting rights and eligibility in European Parliament elections

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Voting rights and eligibility in European Parliament elections

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 93/109/EC — detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in European Parliament elections for EU citizens residing in an EU country other than their own

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?

It lays down detailed arrangements under which EU citizens residing in an EU country of which they are not nationals may exercise the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in European Parliament (EP) elections in that country.

KEY POINTS

Requirements to be met

The directive defines the requirements a national of another EU country must satisfy to vote or to stand as a candidate in his/her country of residence. The person must:

  • be an EU citizen;
  • be resident in the EU country in which s/he proposes to vote or to stand as a candidate;
  • satisfy the same conditions as a national of that EU country who wishes to vote or to stand as a candidate (the principle of equality between national and non-national voters).

Simpler procedures for submitting applications to stand as candidate

The directive was amended in 2013 to simplify the procedures for submitting candidates’ applications where they reside in an EU country of which they are not nationals. Previously, EU citizens in this situation had to provide a certificate from their country of citizenship that they were not disqualified from standing in EP elections in that country. Since 2014, when EU citizens submit their application to stand for election, they can provide a declaration instead of the certificate. The authorities of their EU country of residence must liaise with the country of nationality to verify the validity of the declaration. To ensure efficient communication, EU countries must each designate one contact point to be responsible for the notification of information concerning such candidates.

Exercise of the right to vote and to stand as a candidate

EU citizens may exercise their right to vote and to stand as a candidate either in the EU country of residence or in their home country. No one may vote more than once or stand as a candidate in more than one EU country at the same election.

Registration on electoral roll

Voters are to be entered on the electoral roll of their country of residence only if they so request in advance. In EU countries where nationals are legally obliged to vote, non-national voters who ask to be entered on the electoral roll are subject to the same obligation.

In order to have their names entered on the electoral roll, non-national voters must produce the same documents as national voters. In addition, they must provide further information in the form of a formal declaration.

Legal remedies

The legal remedies available to nationals must also be available to non-nationals who are refused entry on the electoral roll or whose application to stand as a candidate is rejected.

National rules regarding nationals living outside their territory

Nothing in Directive 93/109/EC can affect each EU country’s rules concerning the right to vote or to stand as a candidate of its nationals who reside outside its electoral territory.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

The directive applies since 30 December 1993. It had to become law in the EU countries by 1 February 1994.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENT

Council Directive 93/109/EC of 6 December 1993 laying down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals (OJ L 329, 30.12.1993, pp. 34-38)

Successive amendments to Directive 93/109/EC have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 15.12.2017

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