10. März 2020

Democratic deficit in the European Parliament and the necessary revision of the European Electoral Act


Samira Rafaela c.s.,
Members of European Parliament Parlamentum Europaeum

to: his excellency Charles Michel,
President of the Council of the European Union Brussels,

10 March 2020

Re: Democratic deficit in the European Parliament and the necessary revision of the European Electoral Act

Your Excellency,

The European Union is a beacon for democracy, freedom and the rule of law. These values have made Europe objectively one of the best places for its citizens to live and to thrive. Membership of the EU has served to inspire Member States to foster these values to the fullest. In the process, the European community has evolved into a political entity with democratic institutions to safeguard and promote the values we cherish, namely through our directly elected European Parliament, which in tum elects the European Commission. Furthermore, democratically elected governments back the members of your Council. There still are however, flaws in the democratic fabric of our ever-evolving Union. Today we urge you and your Council to address one of these flaws.

A European Union that values equality between the citizens that make up our society should have institutions that reflects those values. Currently the Act concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage is limiting citizens‘ representation in the European Parliament, where their Members exercise their right to maternity, paternity or parental leave during the latter stages of pregnancy or following the birth of a child. Not only are such limitations creating a democratic deficit for some European citizens but they further undermine the core European tenet of gender equality, with the majority of Members affected being pregnant and post-natal women. Your Council should rectify this wrong. In the year 2020 our European Electoral Act should provide for the possibility of temporary replacement of a Member of the European Parliament that is availing of their right to maternity, paternity or parental leave. Attempts to this end have been made before, but all in vain. We call on you to change this pattern under your presidency. We believe it is time.

In due time we will debate our policy proposal and come to a position as a Parliament. We will do this as we always do: through an open debate, in a transparent manner. Through this letter we offer you the chance to join our tradition of transparency and openly commit to‘ the cause we have laid out in this letter. We respectfully ask that you, as President of the Council of the European Union, are willing to commit to a revision of the abovementioned Act, so that Members of the European Parliament can become mothers and fathers, knowing their seat will not be vacated without a replacement in the process. Furthermore, we ask you to work to make this the new standard for all the national parliaments that support your Council. No citizen should be without representation, just because their representative is giving birth to the next generation of Europeans.

Yours Sincerely,

Samira Rafaela
Irène Tolleret
Karen Melchior
Linea Segaard-Lidell
Katalin Cseh
Abir Al Sahlani
Susana Solis Pérez
Esther de Lange
Michal Simecka
Sophie in ‚t Veld
Billy Kelleher
Izaskun Bilbao Barandica
Barry Andrews
Svenja Hahn
Rasmus Andresen
Margarida Marques
Maria Soraya Rodriguez Ramos
Nils Torvalds
Lara Wolters
Milan Brglez
Karin Karlsbro
Olivier Chastel
Pemille Weiss
Isabel Carvalhais
Paul Tang
Maite Pagazaurtundùa
Atidzhe Alieva-Veli
Nathalie Loiseau
Istvan Ujhelyi
Mohammed Chahim
Marianne Vind
Martin Hojsik
Christel Schaldemose
Katrin Langensiepen
Engin Eroglu
Marie Toussaint
Anja Hazekamp
Frédérique Ries
Vera Tax
Terry Reintke
Jan-Christoph Oetjen
Maria Noichl
Agnes Jongerius
Claudia Monteiro de Aguiar
Claudia Gamon
Manon Aubry
Anne Sophie Pelletier
Manuel Bompard
Maria Marques
Aurore Lalucq
Idoia Villanueva
Dorien Rookmaker
Malik Azmani
Bart Groothuis
Jan Huitema
Caroline Nagtegaal
Liesje Schreinemacher
Cindy Franssen
Kim van Sparrentak
Tom Berendsen
Monica Semedo
Dragos Pislaru
Pina Piciemo
Bas Eickhout
José Gusmäo
Leïla Chaibi
Anna Donath
Miriam Dalli
Philippe Lamberts
Hilde Vautmans
Ilana Cicurel
Peter Lundgren
Damian Boeselager
Johan Danielsson
Leopoldo Lopez
Gil Frances Fitzgerald
Rosa Estaras Ferragut
Chrysoula Zacharopoulou
Derk-Jan Eppink
Alice Kuhnke
Morten Lekkegaard
Seren Gade
Asger Christensen
Viktor Uspaskich
Ulrike Mueller
Tineke Strik
Andrus Ansip
Alexis Georgoulis
Dace Melbärde
Klara Dobrev
Pedro Silva Pereira
Grace O’Sullivan
Miapetra Kumpula-Natri
Evin Incir
Heléne Fritzon
Adrian Vazquez Lâzara
Traian Bäsescu
Marie-Pierre Vedrenne
Stéphane Bijoux