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EU Member States Are Not Ready for a New Era of EP elections – but the Citizens Are

Sophia Beiter

The proposed transnational lists and lead candidate process come back like a boomerang at each European Parliament (EP) elections. Even though citizens’ support for these changes is strong, and they have the potential to enhance the overall democratic and European character of the EU, they will not be embedded in EU electoral law anytime soon.

PS: Recommendations 

  1. Launch an informational and educational campaign about transnational lists and the lead candidate system in all member states as the awareness of both is low among citizens.
  2. Closely follow public opinion with regular Eurobarometer surveys, including questions regarding the transnational lists, the lead candidate system and transnational European parties.
  3. Define the desired states of EU electoral law in discussions about its reformation, clarifying what is meant by terms such as “European” and “democratic”, or exchange them with precise and measurable goals that a reform of the electoral law would aim to achieve.
  4. Make the EP election process more citizen-oriented by educating citizens about the options. It is the common responsibility of nation states, EU institutions and the media to anchor the EU elections in citizens’ minds with the same priority as national elections. The fact that the general public does not have a good understanding of EU elections should not serve as an excuse to not change the system but should rather be a wake-up call to start campaigns and raise awareness.