The 2009 European elections take place between 4-7 June, 2009, in each of the 27 Member States of the European Union. More than 375 million EU citizens are called to vote for their chosen representative for a five-year period: 736 MEPs from 27 Member States.
From Barcelona to Bucharest, Stockholm to Sofia, people across Europe are invited to cast their vote. Ahead of the election, an information campaign organised by Parliament has endeavoured to raise people’s awareness of its role and urged them to vote using the slogan “It’s your choice!”
The European Parliament represents the citizens of the Member States at EU level. It is the only European institution to be directly elected – a procedure established in June 1979 – and the only multinational parliament in the world to be voted in through universal suffrage. From 1958 to 1979, MEPs were appointed by their national governments, and all had dual mandates.
Currently there are 78 MEPs from the UK and 13 from Ireland. The UK will elect 72 MEPs on 4 June 2009 and Ireland will elect 12 on 5 June 2009.
The elections are held every five years. This seventh round of European elections coincides with the 30th anniversary of the first European elections held by universal suffrage.
Since 1958, the European Parliament has changed considerably, in part due to the progressive expansion of the EU. The number of Member States has climbed from six to 27; the number of MEPs has jumped from 142 to 736, and the official languages of the EU have risen from four to 23. Furthermore, successive revisions of the Treaties have given the EP increased power, and it has moved from a mere consultative role in 1958, to co-decision with representatives of national governments on the majority of EU legislation. The actual polling days vary from country to country according to local custom, and the results from each of the 27 Member States will not be made known until the evening of 7 June.
The majority of Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden) will hold the elections on Sunday, 7 June. The Latvians, Cypriots, Maltese and Slovakians will go to the polling stations on 6 June.
The UK and Netherlands already voted on Thursday. Ireland will vote tomorrow.
In certain Member States, the voting period will be spread over two days: 5 and 6 June for the Czech Republic, 6 and 7 June for Italy.