New proposals could help ensure EU citizens living abroad are able to vote
EU nationals living abroad are entitled to carry on voting in European and local elections in the country they are living in. However, the figures show that many are still being denied this right.
It’s believed that, in 2019, around 1 million EU nationals living in the UK were unable to vote, and this figure is much higher when considering all EU member states.
In light of this, MEPs have voted on new proposals that would make sure EU citizens living in another European country can get their voter registration as soon as they register for residence.
The new laws would also encourage EU countries to make it easier for citizens in the bloc, including those living in another country, to vote by introducing postal voting, proxy voting, mobile polling stations, physical voting in advance, electronic voting, and online voting.
The Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs committee also backed other provisions to help mobile citizens, such as informing them of their voting rights and important electoral deadlines in an EU language they understand.
The proposals on the voting rights of mobile EU citizens are one of the revisions to electoral laws that the EU plans to revise before the next European elections, which will be held in 2024.
Another change that was recently backed by MEPs was that there would be a transnational list to elect 28 MEPs on top of the current 705 seats, but the negotiations for this are ongoing.
The MEPs also agreed to remove a current provision that lets member states restrict voting rights for mobile citizens when their population reached at least 20% of voters in that country.
Damian Boeselager, the German Green MEP who drafted Parliament’s report said: “One beauty of the EU lies in the freedom to move and live anywhere in the Union. But often, people moving are stopped from exercising their right to participate in European elections,”