EU Parliament Elections: What You Need to Know

External view of Parliament Building for Elections

From June 6-9, around 373 million citizens across the 27 EU member states are eligible to vote in the European Parliament elections.

Here's a breakdown of the key details:

What is the European Parliament?
The European Parliament (EP) is the EU's only directly elected body, representing its citizens. It negotiates EU laws with the European Council, approves the EU budget, and votes on international agreements and EU enlargements. The EP holds significant oversight responsibilities, including the power to approve or reject the European Commission president and commissioners. The EP has 720 members (MEPs) elected every five years. The current president is Italy's Roberta Metsola.

Who Can Vote?
In most member states, voting age is 18, but in Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Malta, it is 16. Greece allows voting at 17 during the election year, and Hungary permits married individuals to vote regardless of age. EU citizens can vote in their home country or from abroad, with some exceptions. Citizens living in another EU country can choose to vote for candidates from their country of origin or residence but not both.

How to Vote?
Voting procedures vary by country. Some use closed lists, while others allow preferential voting for individual candidates. Voting methods for citizens abroad also differ, including at embassies, by mail, or electronically, depending on national laws.

Who Can Run as a Candidate?
Candidates must be EU citizens. Depending on the country, voters may choose from individual candidates or party delegates. Some countries, like Germany, restrict candidacy to nominees of political parties or associations. Elected MEPs cannot hold national government positions or other political roles in the EU.

2024 Election Predictions
A Eurostat survey in April showed six in 10 EU citizens are interested in voting. Poll aggregator Europe Elects projected that the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) would win 180 seats, the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists And Democrats (S&D) 138, and the liberal Renew Europe (RE) 86. Other groups, such as the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and Identity and Democracy (ID), would share the remaining seats.

2019 Election Results
The 2019 elections saw traditional centre-right and centre-left blocs lose ground, requiring broader coalitions with centrist and pro-EU groups like Renew Europe and Greens/EFA. Voter turnout was 50.66%, the highest in 20 years, driven by issues like climate change, migration, and economic inequality.

These elections are crucial for shaping the future direction of the EU and addressing key challenges facing its member states.

Read more: European Parliament Elections

(Source: Reuters)

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