It will now be easier for European Union citizens living in another EU member state to stand as candidates in the 2014 European Parliament elections, following a vote on a European Commission proposal in the European Parliament on November 20 2012.
Members of the European Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority (618 votes in favour, 23 votes against and 14 abstentions) to approve the proposal.
The draft law aims to simplify the procedure for non-national EU citizens to stand as candidates for the European Parliament by amending the existing rules.
The European Commission said that this was one of its initiatives to promote and facilitate participation in the European elections. Following agreement by the European Parliament, the proposal is now expected to be adopted by the Council before the end of 2012.
“Taking part in the European elections is one of the most important ways for citizens to make their voice heard in the EU,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner.
“Every EU citizen has the right to vote or stand as a candidate in European elections, whether they live in their own country or in another EU member state. The reform we have put on the table makes it easier for those EU citizens exercising their right to live anywhere in the Union to also exercise their democratic rights in European elections.”
In its 2010 EU Citizenship Report, the European Commission raised the issue of steadily declining turnout in the European elections and the need to facilitate the participation of EU citizens in the elections.
Simplifying procedures for non-national EU citizens to stand as candidates in their member state of residence is one way of addressing this issue, the European Commission said.
The European Commission said that it is working with EU member states to ensure that EU citizens residing in an EU country other than their own can participate in European elections under the same conditions as national citizens, in line with EU law.
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