“I am one of 250,000 EU citizens living in Vienna – 10% of the population – but despite the fundamental choices to be made, I will not be allowed to vote for the Vienna City Council on 11 October 2020”. This is one of the many stories from the 14 million European citizens living in an EU country other than their own. Polish, as well as Romanian and Italian citizens abroad, had issues casting their vote or waiting for ballot papers during recent elections in their home countries. Alas, they did not have the alternative of voting in their country of residence. Even more dramatically, 3.7 million EU citizens in the UK and 1.3 million UK citizens in the EU were not given a voice during the Brexit referendum in 2016. 5 EU countries still disenfranchise their citizens after certain periods abroad. For how much longer should incomplete universal suffrage be tolerated?
Under current EU rules, EU citizens can vote and stand in municipal and European elections where they reside, but these partial political rights are not working. In the 2019 European Elections, only an estimated 10% of the 14 million mobile EU citizens voted on behalf of their country of residence while 20% of these had managed to vote on behalf of their country of origin. Although mobile EU citizens pay their taxes, they are not full and equal members of society. They are made to feel like foreigners because they cannot vote in the more important regional, national elections or referendums. This ECI is a campaign for change to secure these full political rights for EU citizens.
The EU cannot credibly promote democratic reform across the globe without first fixing the lack of political rights of its mobile citizens. Opinion polls suggest that on average 63% of people, from all walks of life, support such reforms, but with differences from one country to the next.
Our Voters Without Borders task force, as well as many organisations member to our partner coalition, are made of students and volunteers belonging to the so-called “Erasmus generation”, who know well the concerns and challenges faced by young people. Their request: to have a say on their future through full political rights!
The Voters Without Borders task force proposes a revision of the European directives on the rights of European citizens to vote and stand in European and municipal elections and their inclusion in a single European law covering all elections and referendums. Their aims: to make European citizenship real, remove a stain on European democracy and enable full integration in host countries.
To know more see our new 35-page advocacy paper which collected the stories, expectations and demographics of the 14 million (all facts and figures contained in this press release are also footnoted here), and our 7 reform agenda. Citizens coming together across borders signing this formal agenda-setting instrument and asking others to do so is the best way to secure reform and for democracy to catch up with the freedom of movement.
|Over 1000 EU mobile citizens, more than 50 organizations, as well MEPS Guy Verhofstadt, Karen Melchior, Damian Boeselager, Dacian Ciolos, Victor Negrescu, Bogdan Deleanu, Jan Christoph Oetjen and Alain Lamassoure have now joined this call and will be campaigning on why our vote should count, no matter whether it is expressed in our country of origin or in our country of residence. Citizens can sign at Voterswithoutborders.eu, through the official Commission site, or by scanning this QR CODE!|
For further enquiries, please contact:
ECI Representative Anna Comacchio: +49-15773772955
ECI Vice-Representative Claire Dautcourt: +33- 6 87 01 14 88
Citizens’ committee member Alberto Alemanno: +34-616774456