France's PM Edouard Philippe
30 November 2017

European Elections 2019: a new voting system

Following consultations undertaken by the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister received officials from the political parties represented in Parliament on the matter of the voting system for European elections. The purpose is to prepare the way for a return to a single national constituency, which has found broad political consensus. Making the election clearer for voters to understand will facilitate democratic debate on the future of Europe.
 
From the beginning of 2018, the Government will introduce a bill to establish the principle that, for this election, France forms a single constituency.  This model is followed in most of the European Union (EU). Only five out of 28 Member States (Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy and the UK) have divided their national territory into several regional constituencies.
 
The single constituency model was in force in France from 1979, when the first European elections took place, until 1999. It was abandoned in 2004 in favour of a division into eight large constituencies (including the East, West, Ile-de-France and Overseas constituencies). This model will improve the comprehensibility of the voting system and provide greater clarity of the issues at stake in the European Parliament elections. The model has found broad consensus among the political parties consulted – only the Republicans have stated their opposition to it.
 
The bill will also include a provision that, additionally, paves the way for transnational lists to be established, in the event that European texts should be amended along these lines.