Communication: Securing free and fair European elections

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2018) 637
Publication Date 12/09/2018
Content Type

The European Parliament elections of May 2019 will be held in a very different context compared to all previous elections. The political challenges to the Union and its Member States are great. There is a clear need to forge a more robust Union which can act with credibility and strength on a world stage where global powers which do not necessarily share all our interests or values are vying for power. A robust Union built on effective judicial cooperation, exchange of information to tackle terrorism and organised crime, and a smoothly functioning Internal Market all require mutual trust between Member States, and in our democratic systems. Against this unique backdrop, the European elections of May 2019 will shape the future of the European Union in the years to come.

European citizens should be able to vote with a full understanding of the political choices they have. This entails more awareness of threats and more transparency in our political process. An open public sphere, secure in its protection from undue influence, ensures a level playing field for political campaigning and electoral processes the public can trust. It is essential for our democracies to provide room for a vibrant political campaign which provides voters with a clear and undistorted picture of the ideas and programmes of the parties competing for their vote. Therefore fraud and other deliberate attempts to manipulate elections should be actively combatted, including through sanctions.

Online activities, including during the election processes, are developing fast, and thus increased security and a level political playing field are key. Conventional (“off-line”) electoral safeguards, such as rules applicable to political communications during election periods, transparency of and limits to electoral spending, respect for silence periods and equal treatment of candidates should also apply online. Transparency about and limits on political advertisements on TV or billboards, and transparency of political advertisements should apply similarly in the online world. This is not the case now, and that needs to be remedied before the next European elections.

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Related Link(s)
European Commission: Press Release, 12/09/2018: European Commission proposes measures for securing free and fair European elections

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