Decision (EU, Euratom) 2018/994 amending the Act concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage, annexed to Council Decision 76/787/ECSC, EEC, Euratom

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Series Details L278
Publication Date 16/07/2018
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The Council of the European Union adopted on 13 July 2018 a Decision amending the 1976 Electoral Act which lays down a number of common rules concerning elections to the European Parliament. The discussions within the Council were based on a proposal adopted by the European Parliament in November 2015.

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The legislative initiative proposes amendments to the EU electoral law with a view to increasing the democratic dimension of the European elections and the legitimacy of the EU decision-making process. It aims to improve the citizens' participation in the election process and to bring Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) closer to their voters.

The Parliament's Conference of Presidents authorised in February 2015 the drawing up of a legislative initiative report on the reform of the electoral law of the European Union, based on Article 223(1) TFEU. In November 2015, the Parliament adopted a Resolution based on the report which puts forward amendments to the Act of September 1976 concerning the election of MEPs by direct universal suffrage.

Certain national parliaments expressed criticism of the EP proposals. On the side of the Council, the General Affairs Working Party discussed the European Parliament's legislative initiative during five successive Presidencies. The European Parliament progressively increased the pressure in early 2018. The Council's committee of permanent representatives adopted the draft decision on 7 June and the Parliament gave its consent on 4 July.

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Commentary and Analysis
EP: Legislative Train: Reform of the electoral law of the EU
EurActiv, 20.10.15: Leinen: Parliament mulls 'first steps' to reform EU elections before 2019
EPRS: In-Depth Analysis, September 2015: European Added Value Assessment accompanying the legislative own-initiative Report on the Reform of the Electoral Law of the European Union
EPRS: At a Glance, July 2018: Reform of the electoral law of the EU

EUObserver, 28.09.15: MEPs keen to harmonise EU election rules
EurActiv, 13.11.15: European elections reform backed by MEPs from three groups only
Politico, 12.11.15: Parliament wants Europe-wide election of Commission president
Politico, 04.07.18: European Parliament backs (modest) electoral reform changes
EurActiv, 08.02.18: Pressure builds on Bulgarian Presidency to deliver on European election law

Council of the European Union: Press Release, 07.06.18: Council reaches agreement on a set of measures to modernise EU electoral law
EP: Legislative Observatory: Election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage: reform
EP: Legislative Observatory: Reform of the electoral law of the European Union
European Parliament: Press Release, 11.11.15: EP elections: 'Spitzenkandidaten', mandatory thresholds, right to vote abroad
UK: House of Lords: Select Committee on the European Union: Subsidiarity Assessment: reform of the electoral law of the EU [7th Report of Sessions 2015-16]
UK: House of Lords: News, 27.01.16: Reasoned Opinion on European Parliament electoral reform recommended by Committee
European Parliament: Press Release, 04.07.18: Parliament backs a modernised EU electoral law
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 13.07.18: EU electoral law: new rules adopted by the Council

ESO Records
The History Of European Electoral Reform And The European Elections Act
1976 Electoral Act 40 years on: History and significance for European democracy today

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