European Elections

Elections to the European Parliament are held every five years, during which citizens of the European Union’s member states vote to elect Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). These elections are a key aspect of EU governance, ensuring democratic representation within the EU’s legislative body.

The process for these elections is generally uniform across the EU, though each member country can have specific variations in accordance with its own electoral laws. All EU citizens who are of voting age (18 in most countries, but 16 in some like Austria) have the right to vote. Voters can either elect MEPs from their own country or from the country where they reside if it’s different from their nationality.

The number of MEPs each country can elect is roughly proportional to its population, but with a system designed to ensure that smaller countries are adequately represented. This system, known as “degressive proportionality,” gives less populous member states a slightly higher number of MEPs relative to their population compared to larger states.

These elections are significant for member states as they provide citizens with a direct voice in EU policymaking and legislation. The MEPs they elect represent their interests at the European level, influencing laws and regulations that affect multiple aspects of life across the Union—from economic policies and consumer rights to environmental regulations and international trade agreements. Thus, participating in these elections empowers citizens and shapes the future direction of the EU policy landscape.