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THE RIGHT TO VOTE AS AN EU FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT AND THE EXPANDING SCOPE OF APPLICATION OF THE EU CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 March 2016

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IS the right to vote in European Parliament elections a matter for EU law? Until recently, the answer to this query seemed to be a clear “no”. Indeed, while Article 223(1) of the TFEU does confer on the European Union the competence to lay down a uniform procedure for the election of Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”), this competence has not been exercised so far. Consequently, Article 8 of the Act concerning the election of the MEPs by direct universal suffrage, annexed to Council Decision 76/787/ECSC, EEC, Euratom (OJ 1976 L 278 p. 1, henceforth “the 1976 Act”), provides that the “electoral procedure shall be governed in each Member State by its national provisions”. Apart from the general principles of “direct universal suffrage in a free and secret ballot” and of non-discrimination on the ground of nationality, enshrined respectively in Article 14(3) of the TEU, Article 1(3) of the 1976 Act, and Article 20(2)(b) of the TFEU, there is nothing in EU law that governs specifically the eligibility to vote in EP elections.

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Copyright © Cambridge Law Journal and Contributors 2016 

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