The European Parliament

The Elections to the European Parliament will be held on Sunday 9 June in Spain. In these elections, the citizens of the member States of the European Union elect their representatives as members of the European Parliament.

This date falls outside the period set by the Council of the European Union for the elections, from 6 to 9 June, during which the 27 member States determine the date they are held on.

When does each country vote?
6 June 7 June 8 June 9 June
Netherlands Ireland, Czech Republic* Latvia, Malta, Slovakia, Czech Republic*, Italy** Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, Italy**

* Elections in the Czech Republic over two days: 7 and 8 June
** Elections in Italy over two days: 8 and 9 June

The European Parliament is one of the seven institutions that make up the European Union, together with the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the European Central Bank, the European Court of Auditors and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

It’s the world’s only directly-elected multinational parliamentary assembly.

It’s the representative institution of the citizens of the European Union, representing their interests in the Union’s legislative process and ensuring the democratic functioning of other institutions.

Together with the Council of the European Union, it performs legislative and budgetary functions, as well as political control and advisory functions. These include:

  • Together with the Council, it formulates and approves legislation in the Union within its powers (Articles 2 to 6 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).
  • It addresses important political, economic and social issues and defends the Union’s values.
  • It approves the Union’s budget, together with the Council.
  • It elects the President of the European Commission and appoints its Commissioners.

The regulation for the Elections to the European Parliament is set out in the 1976 Act and its subsequent amendments.

This provision stipulates that they will be called by each of the competent national authorities. Thus, in the case of Spain, they have been called by virtue of Royal Decree

The electoral procedure governing these elections is set out in Title VI (Articles 210 et seq.) and Organic Law 5/1985, of 19 June, on the General Electoral System.

Since 1979, the MEPs have been elected by direct universal suffrage for a period of five years. The last elections took place in May 2019.

The procedure is regulated by the internal rules of each member State of the Union, in accordance with its electoral laws and customs, and it is governed by the principles of proportionality, equality between men and women and a secret ballot.

Moreover, it provides for the possibility of dividing its territory into electoral constituencies or establishing a single electoral constituency, as is the case in Spain.

Spain implements a closed list system. This means that, when voting, it is not possible to change the order of preference of candidates on the list.

The distribution of seats is stipulated in the European Treaties (Treaty on European Union and Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), upon the basis of the principle of degressive proportional representation, i.e. countries with larger populations have more seats than less populous countries. No country can have fewer than 6 or more than 96 MEPs.

According to the Treaties, the maximum number of MEPs may not exceed 751 (750 MEPs plus the President).

Following the United Kingdom’s exit from the Union and the European Council’s decision made in September 2023 to increase the number of seats as a result of demographic changes, the number of seats in these European elections will increase to 720.

Spain has a total of 61 MEPs, in accordance with the rule of degressive proportional representation.

In Spain the electoral constituency is the national territory, and therefore there is a single constituency. The political parties that present candidacies do so by means of a single list common to the entire national territory.

However, the candidacies may request that the scope of dissemination of their ballot papers be smaller than that of the State, with a different name, initials and symbol, and change the candidates included on these lists (Article 221 of the Organic Law on the General Electoral System).

The first elections to the European Parliament were held in 1979, and they have been held every five years since then. Nine elections have been held, and the ones held on 9 June will be the tenth for the European institution.

Since our accession to the Union in 1986, Spain has taken part in eight elections to the European Parliament, with the ones on 9 June being its ninth participation.

MEPs are divided into political groups, according to their political affinities. They are currently divided into seven political groups.

The number of MEPs required to form a group is 23; at least a quarter of the member States must be represented in each group. It is forbidden to belong to more than one political group.

The minimum age for voting and standing as a candidate in the Elections to the European Parliament is set by the national legislation. The voting age is 18 in most member States, except for Greece, where it’s 17, and Belgium, Germany, Malta and Austria, where it is 16.

The minimum age required to stand as a candidate in European elections varies considerably, ranging from 18 to 25.

Voting is only compulsory in five member States: Belgium, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Greece, where the legal obligation to vote applies to both nationals and registered non-national citizens of the Union.

In accordance with Article 10.2 of the Act of 20 September 1976, provisional information on the results of the election provided by the Government of the Nation may not be announced until the polls have closed in the member State in which the voters have voted last.

The Union currently has 27 member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

The euro (€) is the official currency of 20 of the 27 countries in the Union. These countries, which make up what is known as the Eurozone or Eurozone, are as follows: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain.

Although they are members of the EU, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden do not form part of the Eurozone.

The Eurozone made up of the EU member States that have adopted the single currency is not static; under the Treaty, all the EU member States must join the Eurozone once they meet the necessary conditions, with the exception of Denmark, which has negotiated an “opt-out” clause that allows it to remain outside the Eurozone.

Schengenland or Schengen territory is the name given to the territory comprising the States of the European Union that have agreed to create a common area, whose fundamental objectives are the elimination of borders between these countries, security, immigration and the free movement of people.

The following countries currently form part of the Schengen territory:

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. In addition, outside the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland also belong to it.

The ideas upon which the European Union is based were first set out on 9 May 1950 in a speech by the then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman. This is the reason why 9 May is celebrated as a key date for the EU.

The melody that symbolises the EU comes from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, composed in 1823, who decided to set the poem Ode to Joy, written by Schiller in 1785, to music.

The anthem symbolises not only the European Union, but also Europe in a broader sense. Schiller’s poem, Ode to Joy, expresses the idealistic vision of brotherhood among human beings, a vision shared by Beethoven.

In 1972, the Council of Europe made Beethoven’s Ode to Joy its anthem. In 1985 it was adopted by the EU’s leaders as the official anthem of the European Union.

24 official languages are currently used in the European Parliament. Parliamentary documents are published in all the official EU languages and MEPs have the right to speak in the official language of their choice.

The 24 official languages are Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.

The European Parliament has three places for its work: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.

Strasbourg is where the monthly plenary part-sessions are held and it is regarded as the seat of the Parliament.

The plenary part-sessions and additional part-session are held in Brussels and the parliamentary committees meet there.

The General Secretariat and its services are based in Luxembourg, although many of its officials and staff perform their work in Brussels.

The Elections to the European Parliament must be held between Thursday and Sunday, the period within which the countries can set an exact date, in accordance with their electoral customs and rules. In these elections the period will last from 6 to 9 June 2024, in accordance with the Council’s statement on the election dates on 22 May 2023.