EDF position paper on Mobile EU Citizens Directives

EDF position paper on Mobile EU Citizens Directives

According to the European Union (EU) Treaties, EU citizenship provides for the right to vote and stand as candidate in municipal and European Parliament elections regardless of whether the EU citizen is a national of the EU country in which they reside. These political rights of non-national EU citizens (known as mobile EU citizens) must be ensured under the same conditions as nationals. These mobile citizens may choose whether to vote for the EU Parliament elections in their country of residence or in their home country, as long as they vote only once.

In November 2021, the European Commission launched two proposals to revise Council Directive 93/109/EC and Council Directive 94/80/EC which set out the arrangements for the above-mentioned political rights of mobile EU citizens for the European and the municipal elections respectively. The aim is to update certain provisions of the two Directives and facilitate the exercise of these political rights by mobile EU citizens.

The proposals for a Council Directive on the European Parliament elections, and for the municipal elections must be agreed solely by the Council of the EU, whereas the European Parliament will have a consultative role. It is also worth mentioning that the Parliament has recently proposed a new EU electoral law which the Council must also consider.

Acknowledging that the proposed Council Directives will not affect the voting rights specified by Member States for their national citizens, EDF proposed amendments aim at:

  • Ensuring that the voting rights of persons with disabilities will prevail, whether these are recognised by the home Member State or the Member State of residence. This will prevent mobile EU citizens with disabilities from losing political rights when moving to another EU country, and Member States complying with article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CPRD) from discriminating non-nationals with disabilities who should be under the same conditions as nationals with disabilities.
  • Providing to mobile EU citizens with disabilities the same specific arrangements to facilitate their right to vote as those put in place for nationals with disabilities in European and municipal elections, including information about them.
  • Strengthening the proposed requirement for accessible information by referring to the European Accessibility Act, which contains accessibility requirements concerning the provision of (digital and non-digital) information. This will ensure practical implementation and legal coherence.
  • Clarifying the “clear and plain language” requirement of the information provided to all mobile EU citizens by specifying the level of complexity using as a basis the Council of Europe Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This approach has already been used in the European Accessibility Act and will benefit all non-native voters.

Additional information and justification on EDF’s position can be found after the suggested amendments in the chapter of Further explanations. A key resource on the situation of the political rights of persons with disabilities in the EU can be found in the EDF 6th Human Rights Report on political participation.

Download the position paper