MEP Andrew Duff has set about to change things up a little bit in the way EU elections are run. Amongst other things, he proposes that a number of MEPs from lists put together by the European parties to be voted on at the EU-level and not the member-state level. Whether this is done automatically (ie if someone votes for a national party part of the EPP, his vote goes to the EPP automtically, or whether voters have to check an additional box indicating which party at the EU level they vote for) is not clear at this point.
This proposition gives parties, and Europe itself a chance to go transnational and achieve a cross-border connection between member states. Interesting, and positive for Europe. Thumbs up!
A new electoral procedure for re-enforced European democracy
With the European elections approaching in June 2009 we cannot but face up the fact that that though the European Parliament is among the most appreciated of the European institutions according to recent Eurostat survey, it is also one of the least visible. This has been proven by the constantly dwindling voter turnout since the first election by direct universal suffrage in 1979.
This situation is not irreversible. Beyond the characteristics of the campaigning political parties there are objective reasons for this voter disaffection. Reasons were identified and specific proposals to remedy this outlined by the ALDE spokesman for Constitutional Affairs, Andrew DUFF (Lib Dem, United Kingdom).
Mr Duff will present his report proposing to modify the 1976 act concerning the election of members of the European Parliament. This report will be debated on the same afternoon in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) in the European Parliament.
Duff’s key proposal is the establishment, in time for the 2014 elections, of a small number of MEPs elected from EU-wide lists drawn up by the European political parties. This reform, he believes, will transform the character of the European elections campaigns and allow the transnational political parties to come of age. Duff also proposes, to bring forward the date of the elections from June to May to allow the newly elected Parliament to start working over the summer. The proposals also include concentrating of Europe’s polling days over one weekend, rather than a week, in order to focus a greater degree of attention on the event, emphasize what is at stake for the electorate. Duff also calls to facilitate voting for EU citizens residing in another EU country and for a regular revision of the number of MEPs per country in order to reflect demographic trends and to maintain a fair balance in the representation of Member States.