European Parliament election, 2014

European Parliament election, 2014
European Parliament election, 2014
European Union
2009 ←
June 2014
→ 2019

All seats to the European Parliament
Leader No presidential nominee yet No presidential nominee yet No presidential nominee yet
Alliance EPP S&D ALDE
Last election 265 seats and 8 observers 183 seats and 5 observers 84 seats

Leader No presidential nominee yet No presidential nominee yet No presidential nominee yet
Party Green AECR Left
Alliance Greens–EFA ECR EUL–NGL
Last election 55 seats 54 seats 35 seats

Leader No presidential nominee yet
Alliance EFD

Last election 30 seats
European Union
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Elections to the European Parliament will be held in all member states of the European Union (EU) during June 2014. It will be the eighth Europe-wide election to the European Parliament since the first direct elections in 1979.


Presidential nominees

The Lisbon treaty, which entered into force on 1 December 2009, provides that the European Parliament shall elect the European Commission president, head of the "EU Executive", on the basis of a proposal made by the European Council taking into account the European elections. This provision will apply for the first time for the 2014 elections.

Article 17, paragraph 7

Taking into account the elections to the European Parliament and after having held the appropriate consultations, the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, shall propose to the European Parliament a candidate for President of the Commission. This candidate shall be elected by the European Parliament by a majority of its component members. If he does not obtain the required majority, the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, shall within one month propose a new candidate who shall be elected by the European Parliament following the same procedure.

The Council, by common accord with the President-elect, shall adopt the list of the other persons whom it proposes for appointment as members of the Commission. They shall be selected, on the basis of the suggestions made by Member States, in accordance with the criteria set out in paragraph 3, second subparagraph, and paragraph 5, second subparagraph.

The President, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the other members of the Commission shall be subject as a body to a vote of consent by the European Parliament. On the basis of this consent the Commission shall be appointed by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority.

—Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union (2010)

Basing on these new provisions, European political parties are considering designating their frontrunners ahead of the 2014 election, who will at the same time be their nominees for Commission President. The main parties have already committed to proceed to such a designation[1].

Debate about European presidential primaries

Each European political party will first have to define the type of primary they will organise, i.e. the process and timetable for qualifying, selecting, and making the formal decision on their candidate for Commission president.

Different models of primaries are possible in the European context[2]:

  • a closed-door centralised party decision. Presidential nominees would be designated by the European parties' decision-making bodies, such as the conference of national leaders, the party congress, or the party presidency. Such a designation process is often denied the qualification of "primary".
  • A public centralised party decision. Under this model, the selection of the candidate is still made at the level of the party's bodies, but candidates are formally known in advance to allow for a collective debate.
  • Closed primary. A closed primary would allow all individual party members (in this case, the members of national parties constitutive of the European political party) to designate the party nominee themselves.
  • Open primary. A European party embarking on an open primary would enable any European citizen to elect its presidential nominee.
  • A decentralised primary election (American-style primary). Such a model would allow to organise votes on a state-by-state basis, over several weeks, each national party remaining relatively free to define how it will decide between the different contenders (through a presidency decision, a congress vote, a closed primary, or an open primary at national level). A variant would be to elect delegates at national level for a party congress in charge of designating the presidential nominee.

Some parties have already considered open forms of primaries:

  • Following the defeat of the Party of European Socialists during the European elections of June 2009, the PES Congress that took place in Prague in December 2009 made the decision that PES would designate its own candidate before the 2014 European elections. A Campaign for a PES primary[4] was then launched by PES supporters in June 2010, and it managed to cinvince the PES Council meeting in Warsaw in December 2010 to set up Working Group "Candidate 2014" in charge of proposing a procedure and timetable for a "democratic" and "transparent" designation process "bringing on board all our parties and all levels within the parties".[5]

The European think-tank Notre Europe also evokes the idea that European political parties should designate their candidates for Vice-president / High representative of the Union for foreign affairs.[6] This would lead European parties to have "presidential tickets" on the American model.

Finally, the European Parliament envisaged to introduce a requirement for internal democracy in the regulation on the statute of European political parties. European parties would therefore have to involve individual members in the major decisions such as designating the presidential candidate.[7]

Possible presidential candidates for 2014

So far, few politicians have been mentioned or have express the desire of being candidate for Commission president with a view to the 2014 election. According to Financial Times Deutschland, the following names are considered[8]:

Other alliances, such as the national parties forming the parliamentary group "Europe of Freedom and Democracy", are envisaging Nigel Farage to lead their campaign.

Constitutional issues

New apportionment of seats foreseen by the Lisbon Treaty

Apportionment in the European Parliament
Constituency 2007 2009 Early 2014[9] Prop. A. Duff[10][11]
Pan-European constituency - - - 25
 Germany 99 99 99 96
 France 78 72 74 85
 United Kingdom 78 72 73 81
 Italy 78 72 73 79
 Spain 54 50 54 62
 Poland 54 50 51 52
 Romania 35 33 33 32
 Netherlands 27 25 26 26
 Greece 24 22 22 19
 Belgium 24 22 22 19
 Czech Republic 24 22 22 18
 Hungary 24 22 22 18
 Portugal 24 22 22 18
 Sweden 19 18 20 17
 Austria 18 17 19 16
 Bulgaria 18 17 18 15
 Finland 14 13 13 12
 Denmark 14 13 13 12
 Croatia 14 13 13  ?
 Slovakia 14 13 13 12
 Ireland 13 12 12 11
 Lithuania 13 12 12 10
 Latvia 9 8 9 8
 Slovenia 7 7 8 8
 Estonia 6 6 6 7
 Cyprus 6 6 6 6
 Luxembourg 6 6 6 6
 Malta 5 5 6 6
total 785 736 754 776

It had been the stated desire of the member-state governments to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon before the 2009 election so that its articles governing the European Parliament could enter force as of this election. However, this was blocked by the Irish rejection of the treaty in a referendum. Therefore, in June 2009, the European Parliament was elected under the rules of the Treaty of Nice, which foresaw 736 seats, instead of the 751 foreseen in the Treaty of Lisbon.

The Lisbon Treaty was subsequently ratified, and it is planned to give the additional seats to the "increasing" countries already before the 2014 elections, without withdrawing the 3 extra-seats of Germany. The 18 additional MEPs would bring the number of MEPs to 754 for a transitional period until 2014.[12] These 18 "phantom MEPs" would first have an observer statute, before becoming full members of parliament if an additional protocol is ratified by 2014.[13][14]

As a consequence, the 2014 election will be the first to apply the apportionment of seats foreseen in application of the Lisbon treaty.

Debates about a reform of EU electoral law

MEP Andrew Duff (ALDE, UK) is rapporteur on a the reform of the EU electoral law, which the European Parliament could propose to the Council before 2014.[15] The MEP presented on 4 May 2010 in the parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) a draft aimed at amending the act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of MEPs by direct universal suffrage. The Parliament has a right of initiative on this matter.

Duff suggests the following measures:

  • the creation of a pan-European constituency for 25 additional seats.
    Parties competing for these seats would have to present transnational lists, composed of candidates from at least one third of Union countries and with gender balance. Each voter would have two votes: one for candidates on transnational lists and one for candidates from the national or regional lists.
  • the creation of regional constituencies in larger member states like those that already exist in France and Italy.
  • allowing voters to favour individual candidates on a list when voting for this list (Semi-open list system).
  • establishing an EU ‘election authority’ to lay down rules and supervise the elections.
  • restricting election days to Saturday and Sunday.
  • pushing the elections forward from June to May.
  • harmonising voting age for the European elections at 16 years and eligibility at 18 years.
  • establishing common rules for MEPs’ privileges and immunities.
  • expanding participation to EU citizens residing in states other than their country of origin.
  • finally, applying a mathematical formula that would allow in the future to re-apportion the 751 national seats automatically, in a clear, objective, and transparent way, respecting the principle of ‘degressive proportionality’, and regardless to how many countries the EU will enlarge in the next decades. A concrete proposal was elaborated by mathematicians in January 2011, abusively called "Cambridge compromise". It would consist in establishing more proportionality between the number of seats allocated and the member states populations (see opposite table).


  1. ^ (English) See e.g. theResolution n°2 "A New Way Forward, A Stronger PES" Adopted by the 8th PES Congress in Prague, 7th-8th December 2009
  2. ^ (English) See for example the contribution by Dr. Ania SKRZYPEK, FEPS Policy Advisor Models of (s)electing a pan-European Leading candidate 24 June 2010
  3. ^ (English) Article by Tom Spencer in European Voice American-style primaries would breathe life into European elections 22.04.2004
  4. ^ (English) Website of the Campaign for a PES primary
  5. ^ (English) Resolution of the PES Council in Warsaw, A democratic and transparent process for designating the PES candidate for the European Commission Presidency, 2nd December 2010
  6. ^ (French) Les Brefs de Notre Europe, Des réformes institutionnelles à la politisation - Ou comment l’Union européenne du Traité de Lisbonne peut intéresser ses citoyens, October 2010
  7. ^ (English) European Parliament press release, Constitutional Affairs Committee discusses pan-European political parties, 31st January 2011
  8. ^ Peter Ehrlich, EU-Parteien suchen Spitzenkandidaten, 23 September 2010
  9. ^ If the amendments to the protocol on transitional provisions annexed to the EU treaties are ratified before the 2014 elections
  10. ^ (English) Draft report by Andrew Duff, Proposal for a modification of the Act concerning the election of the Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage of 20 September 1976, 4 November 2010
  11. ^ (English) Report of the European Parliament staff, The allocation between the EU member states of seats in the European Parliament - Cambridge Compromise March 2011
  12. ^, EP Press Release 16/12/08
  13. ^ Waterfield, Bruno (2009-05-22). "Eighteen 'phantom' MEPs will do no work for two years". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  14. ^ "". 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  15. ^ (English) Europolitics, Célia Sampol, European elections: Andrew Duff proposes creation of transnational list 26 April 2010

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