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Access to Electoral Rights in the EU

EUDO CITIZENSHIP has been selected by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament to conduct research and write a report on the franchise and electoral participation of third country citizens residing in the European Union, and of European citizens in third countries. The FRACIT project has been jointly carried out by the European University Institute, University of Edinburgh, University College Dublin, University of Sussex and a network of Country Experts.

At the time of the 2009 European Parliament elections it was estimated that 11.6% of the electorate were EU citizens living in another EU member state, while 4% of the total EU population in 2010 were non-EU citizens. Moreover, significant numbers of EU citizens live outside the EU altogether. FRACIT examined and compared the electoral rights and participation of these latter two categories in the current 28 Member States, and in 10 selected non-EU states (Brazil, Canada, India, NewZealand, Morocco, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and USA).

While local voting rights for third country nationals in Europe have been studied extensively since the 1980s, external voting has only recently been discovered as a global trend and topic for academic research. By broadening the thematic coverage of the observatory from citizenship status to voting rights, the FRACIT project provides a systematic comparison in both areas that is still missing.

In its one-year project, FRACIT collected and compared electoral laws and legislations, levels of registration and turnout in each of the 38 selected countries for third country nationals resident in EU member states and EU citizens resident outside the EU. It covered electoral rights and participation in three types of election(legislative, presidential, referendum) and at four levels (European, national,regional, and local). Original legal documents are presented in an online legal database on national electoral laws, similar to our database on national citizenship laws. Based on a comparative analysis of legal regulations, the project will also build an interactive typology with summary information on electoral rights for each country, category of voters and type of election, which will complement existing databases on Loss and Acquisition of Citizenship. 

Separate chapters of the report deal with the eligibility of non-resident nationals and non-national residents to high public office and diplomatic protection of EU citizens in countries where their states of origin do not have representations.

Lastly, EUDO-CITIZENSHIP also publishes a new series of Country Reports on 'Access to Electoral rights' written by our Country Experts covering all EU Member States, available for download in the Country Profiles section. 


 Franchise and Electoral Participation of Third Country Citizens Residing in the European Union and of European Citizens Residing in Third Countries. Study of the European Parliament, Policy Department of Citizens' rights and Constitutional Affairs, 2013. 

 Country Reports on 'Access to Electoral Rights': Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, CyprusCzech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, LuxembourgMalta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal,Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.