Every five years EU citizens choose who represents them in the European Parliament, the directly-elected institution that defends their interests in the EU decision-making process.
The next European elections take place on 23-26 May 2019 giving all adult EU citizens the opportunity to select who will represent them in the European Parliament.
The European elections in May 2019 will have a direct impact on your life. They will decide how Europe will act in the coming years to address your concerns about jobs, business, security, migration and climate change. Much has been done to help improve different parts of your life over the last few years. Work will need to continue in the next term. Check out this overview.
The EU is involved with many things, from boosting trade to protecting consumers and stimulating research. Find out how the EU has benefited you.
By voting, you help decide what kind of Europe we have in the years to come. You can play an active role in spreading the word by registering on the website: This time I'm voting
The European elections is about selecting who you want to represent you as an MEP and defend your interests in the EU. Not only can MEPs shape and decide on new legislation, they also vote on new trade agreements, scrutinise the EU institutions and how your tax money is spent, as well as launch investigations into specific issues.
The allocation of seats is laid down in the European treaties. It takes into account the size of the population of each country, with smaller countries getting more seats than strict proportionality would imply. Currently, the number of MEPs ranges from six for Malta, Luxembourg and Cyprus to 96 for Germany.
The rules say that some form of proportional representation should be used when electing MEPs. This system ensures that if a party gets 20% of the votes, it will also win roughly 20% of the contested seats, so both larger and smaller political parties have the chance to send representatives to the European Parliament.
Countries are free to decide on many other important aspects of the voting procedure. For example, some split their territory into regional electoral districts, while others have a single electoral district.
Countries in the EU have different voting traditions and each one may decide on the exact election day within a four-day span, from Thursday (the day on which the Netherlands usually vote) to Sunday (when most countries hold their elections).
Elections are contested by national political parties but once MEPs are elected, most opt to become part of transnational political groups. Most national parties are affiliated to a European-wide political party (see below for more information) so one of the big questions on election night is which of these European groupings will exert greater influence in the next legislative term.
In the 2014 elections main European political parties nominated for the first time their candidates for a president of the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU. The candidate of the European People’s Party went on to get the Commission president post after obtaining the approval of a majority in the new Parliament.
Thus, by voting in the European elections, citizens also had a say on who would be in charge of proposing and running EU policies.
For the 2019 elections, European political parties are expected to propose their top candidates as well.
A political party at European level is composed of national parties and individuals and is represented in several Member States. It is national parties that contest the European elections but they would often be associated to a European political party, and after the elections they would join a political group in the European Parliament with like-minded parties from their political family. Find out more about the European political groups.