Everything you need to know about the EU elections

Everything you need to know about the EU elections

By: arron williams&
June 5 2024

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Everything you need to know about the EU elections

(Sources: reutersconnect.com and freepik.com)

Want to know all there is to know about the European Parliament elections? Then look no further as we explain the European Union, its upcoming elections, and all that you should know to better understand what will happen between June 6 and June 9. 

On those dates, up to 400 million EU citizens are eligible to vote in these elections for members to represent them in the European Parliament. These elections will take place in 27 EU countries, including Poland, Germany, France, and Spain. The EU elections take place every five years. 

What is the EU?

The EU is a group of 27 European countries which has its roots in the idea of nations working together to improve conditions for people after the two world wars. 

The countries of the EU aim to pursue a variety of shared goals, including peace, quality of life, linguistic and cultural respect, and economic strength. To promote business within the EU, 20 countries adopted the same currency, the Euro.

The EU has three main bodies that work closely together to try to improve Europe: the European Parliament, which is elected by the people to defend their rights and represent their interests; the European Commission, which suggests laws for the European Parliament; and the Council of the European Union, which is made up of people who make decisions in every country of the EU. 

What are the upcoming EU Elections?

The upcoming European elections are elections for European Union citizens to elect their representatives as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).  

Members of the EU Parliament decide and shape laws that influence all aspects of lives across the European Union, from supporting the economy to climate change and security. They also approve and scrutinize the spending of the EU budget. 

A total of 720 MEPs will be elected, with 15 more seats compared to previous elections. This change followed the European Council's decision to increase the number of seats in 2023 due to demographic changes. 

The number of new seats displayed under each country's flag. The number of total seats is in brackets. (Source: Logically Facts)

The number of MEPs elected for each country varies. Germany has the most seats and will elect 96 MEPs, while Malta, Cyprus, and Luxembourg have the fewest seats and will each elect six MEPs.

This image shows how many seats each country has, represented by how many MEPs they elect. (Source: Twitter/Europal_EN)

Elections are contested by national parties and politicians who, once elected as MEPs, often join transnational political groups. Most national political parties in EU countries are already affiliated with an EU-wide party. 

The EU stresses the importance of voting in the election because voting enables citizens to participate in shaping the future of European democracy and to elect politicians that represent them and their priorities. You will be able to see the election results here.

Why are there different voting days?

The elections in different countries take place on different days. Most countries hold elections on June 9, some vote before this date. The dates of each country's elections are viewable in the searchable table below.

Each individual country manages its own elections and may have differences or variations in how they run the election. However, as outlined by the EU, there are some common general principles they must apply:

  • Elections take place during a four-day period, from Thursday to Sunday.
  • The number of MEPs elected from a political party is proportional to the number of votes it receives.
  • EU citizens resident in another EU country can vote and stand for election there.
  • Each citizen can vote only once.

How can you vote?

You can vote in the EU Parliamentary elections if you're an EU citizen. You can vote in your country of origin, from abroad, or in the EU country you live in. Furthermore, to vote in the elections, you will likely need to register. Details for registration are outlined on the EU How to Vote webpages.

If you vote within your country of origin or in another EU country you live in, most votes take place at polling stations or other designated locations. Each country has its own rules on where you can vote and how to vote. For more information about how to vote in your specific country, check out the EU's page on How to Vote.

You can also vote from abroad. However, national provisions across the EU regarding the right to vote for citizens living abroad differ. When it comes to voting from abroad, countries need to assess and address various issues carefully. 

The arrangements for voting in the European elections for citizens abroad from their home state vary between the EU member states. As explained by the EU, "Most allow voting at embassies or consulates abroad, several allow citizens living abroad to vote by post, a few allow voting by proxy, and one (Estonia) allows electronic voting. On the other hand, Czechia, Ireland, Malta, and Slovakia do not permit their citizens to vote in the European elections from abroad."

For more information on how to vote abroad, you can read the EU document here.

Misinformation and disinformation

Logically Facts will continue to cover disinformation and misinformation surrounding the EU elections and will be closely covering the elections as they proceed.

We have also created several other explainers to help discuss and inform about the EU elections. 

We have covered the EU Migration Pact, unpacking its details and various functions and tackling the various misleading claims surrounding it. Through close inspection, the EU Migration Pact will not, as has been claimed by some, take away national sovereignty or "flood countries with migrants." The Pact will allow flexibility, and member states can choose what type of support they give. This could mean accepting relocated asylum seekers, offering financial support to states under pressure, or providing other types of support, such as staff. 

Other articles further explain how the EU Elections work. We have explained who can vote in the elections, tackled false claims about refugees being able to vote in the upcoming elections, and discussed human rights issues surrounding the lack of rights for migrants to vote. We've tackled claims that the EU is a legislative dictatorship - it is not and does not influence or determine every national law-making decision. 

Further articles have covered claims of voter fraud in the EU elections and how claims over high rates of voter fraud occur rely on statistical misunderstandings or misleading accusations. Voter fraud is an issue where it is easy to misinterpret data, and social media users often report false fraud rates. Another looked into the EU's Common Security and Defense Policy and false claims that it will establish an EU army. Lastly, we have discussed Russia's influence on European democracy and its attempts to influence the populations of EU countries that its Russian invasion of Ukraine was justified. 

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