On 3 May 2022, the European Parliament adopted a position on transnational lists with large majority within a major reform of EU electoral law!
As Greens, we have long fought for a democratic future for Europe and campaigned for to allow citizens to vote for transnational lists by creating of a joint European constituency for the European elections. We have done so because we believe this is an important step towards building a real European public sphere that can foster political debate on the key issues we face as a continent.
Most MEPs also endorsed the call from the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament to lower the voting age to 16 and have gender-balanced lists. All these changes combined would drastically change the upcoming 2024 European elections – which are held every 5 years to elect Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Election day would take place on 9 May, Europe Day.
‼️BREAKING‼️— Daniel Freund (@daniel_freund) May 3, 2022
European Parliament votes in favor of transnational lists for European elections. Big success for European democracy. Soon, Europeans could get a second vote and choose a European candidate on their ballot paper.
What are transnational lists?
Transnational lists would contribute to the creation of a truly European political system with European constituents that would sit alongside the existing constituencies of Member States.
In other words, citizens would be called on to cast two votes: one for candidates on a national list and one for a European list. It will mean 28 additional candidates elected in total on the basis of transnational lists.
Why do we need transnational lists?
While in the current system MEPs represent all EU citizens, they campaign at national level and often on national issues. Since they are ultimately politically accountable to national voters, there is no proper space for a truly European political debate.
A common constituency would push European political families to build truly European projects. It also ensures that MEPs do not succumb to national bias during their term and take a European perspective towards political issues.
Transnational lists would lead to the Europeanisation of the elections and are an important step towards a true European citizenship and European togetherness.
Why do we have this historic opportunity for change?
The European Electoral Act, which sets common standards for the organisation of European elections, is being reformed to change the distribution of seats in the European Parliament. The current distribution of seats between Member States fails to respect the principle of degressive proportionality laid out in the EU Treaties. This means that several states have a higher MEP/citizen ratio than more populous states. These states, such as France, Spain, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, Denmark and Ireland, should be allocated additional seats.
Brexit has given the idea of creating transnational lists for the European elections even more momentum, as the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union has freed up 73 seats. This makes it possible to rebalance the number of seats per State while leaving the possibility of creating transnational lists, without any state losing seats.
What does this mean for EU Political Parties like the European Green Party?
The European Greens were the first to evolve from a federation to a full-fledged European political party, a testament of our commitment to building a united Europe that delivers to its citizens. We strive to commit to common Green values and programmes that benefit European citizens. Having a European constituency would give European political parties like ourselves more legitimacy as a true political party and allow us to campaign on Green ideas across Europe! Mar Garcia, the Secretary General of the European Greens, states:
"As a European political party, it is our mission to enhance European political awareness and express the will of citizens. As Greens, we have long fought for transnational lists because we know that the creation of a European constituency will be a historic decision to improve European democracy and enhance European political debate. On 9 May 2024, we want every European citizen to be able to vote for European parties, candidates, and programmes, especially considering the common challenges and crises we face today."
What are the next steps to make these transnational lists a reality?
Whether transnational lists become a reality is now up to the 27 member states in the European Council.
Philippe Lamberts, President of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, called on all EU governments and parliaments to join the European Parliament's call for a stronger European spirit towards the European elections, stating that:
"The European Parliament is pushing the long overdue reform of European electoral law towards more democracy, more participation, more Europe and more gender equality. The vast majority of MEPs want the European elections to be the starting point for European debates and decisions."
As the European Greens, we urge the 27 EU member states to approve transnational lists for a truly European house of European democracy.