Making our election truly European

Instead of transnational lists leaving our European election in the hands of national parties, we must reform European parties, place them at the heart of European elections, and rewrite our electoral law to bring MEPs closer to citizens and make our election truly European.

On 24 September, the European Parliament’s committee for constitutional affairs held a hearing on transnational lists and the Spitzenkandidaten system.

Ahead of this hearing, Alberto Alemanno, Giorgio Clarotti, Olivier Costa and Christophe Leclercq argued, in a column published by EURACTIV, that transnational lists “would make it possible to run truly European campaigns”.

Unfortunately, and while transnational lists would not make elections less European, they would not remedy their core deficiency: that national parties control electoral programmes. They are, therefore, not the reform we need to make this election truly European, engage citizens, and bring MEPs closer to their concerns.

Overall, transnational lists, despite their appeal, only entrench the nation-based nature of European elections: they keep elections squarely in the hands of national parties and, if anything, move MEPs even further away from citizens. This is probably why national parties easily support them: they seem like a good European idea and do not involve any transfer of power away from national parties.

We now stand four years before the next EU election: there is ample time to reform European parties and the EU Electoral Act, but we must act now. Instead of a mere band-aid, let us engage on a bold reform — with local electoral districts and proportional vote on European party member state lists — and make this election truly European.

Read more in my new tribune on Euractiv:

Image Credit: Julien Warnand/EPA-EFE

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