Local elections: Only ten percent of EU citizens have exercised their right to vote in another member state, a European Commission study has found.
In 2010, 12.3 million Europeans--including eight million of voting age--lived in another EU nation, up from 11.9 million in 2009, the commission said on Friday.
Nationals of all 27 EU countries have the right to vote and stand in local and European elections in the EU member state where they reside. However, only about one in ten EU citizens exercises their right to vote, Brussels said.
In comparison, figures from Luxembourg’s reception and integration office OLAI show about 18 percent of the foreign population were registered to vote in last October’s local council elections. That rate may have been pushed higher both by the government’s extensive “I Can Vote” voter awareness campaign last year, and because non-EU residents who have lived in the Grand Duchy for more than five years are also eligible to vote in local elections, although that policy is unique to Luxembourg and not required under EU rules.
Brussel’s report was released in advance of the European Year of Citizens in 2013, which is meant to mark the 20th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty--signed November 1, 1993--that formalised the right of EU citizens to live and work in other European states.
“Free movement is the most cherished right in the European Union,” Viviane Reding (photo), European Commission vice president and citizenship commissioner, said in a press statement. In addition to the public information campaign next year, the commission said it would continue to monitor and support member states’ implementation of EU election rules.
Luxembourg authorities discuss a number of new initiatives to encourage international residents get more involved in their local community in the March print edition of Delano, on newsstands now.