A guide to the elections: Elections to the European Parliament

The European Parliament elections in Belgium fall on the same day as the country's federal and regional ones, on 9 June. In this article, we take a look at the voting process at the European level.

From 6 to 9 June, around 373 million Europeans will elect the 720 members of the next European Parliament. European parliamentary elections take place every five years. The parliament decides on new legislation proposed by the European Commission – on most issues on an equal footing with the Council of the EU. It also votes on new trade agreements and scrutinises the EU institutions and how the EU budget is spent.

In Belgium, the European elections take place on 9 June alongside the federal and regional elections. Expats in Belgium can also vote in their home country, provided they register with the electoral authorities to vote from abroad by post or at an embassy or consulate.

When European citizen residents decide to take part in the elections in Belgium, and thus vote for candidates on Belgian lists of candidates, they cannot participate in the elections in their home country. To be eligible in Belgium, they need to be a national of an EU member state, have their main residence in a Belgian municipality, be at least 16 years of age, be entitled to vote and be registered on the electoral roll. Those who registered and were approved in the past do not have to do it again.

This year, voters in Belgium will elect 22 MEPs of the 720 sitting in the European Parliament. Those seats are divided among three constituencies, based on the regional structures of the linguistic communities. Thirteen MEPs will be elected by the Dutch-speaking constituency, eight by the French-speaking one and one by the German-speaking constituency. Brussels voters can opt to vote for candidates on the Dutch-speaking or French-speaking lists.

To be valid, your vote must be cast on a single list of candidates. You can vote in two ways: block list voting by selecting the box at the top of a list, or preference voting by selecting the box next to the name of one or more candidates. Casting votes on different lists is not allowed and will mean your vote is invalid.

158 municipalities in the Flemish region, all municipalities in the Brussels-Capital Region and the municipalities of the German-speaking Community will be voting electronically with paper proof. All municipalities in the Walloon region and 150 municipalities in Flanders will be voting using the paper vote.

This will be the first election in Belgium where people from the age of 16 have the right to vote for the European elections. In 2022, the Belgian federal parliament extended voting rights for the European elections to 16 and 17-year-olds. Voting is compulsory: Belgians and registered EU citizens who fail to show up technically face a fine, but there are no known instances of this happening. It’s also possible to vote by proxy.


The European Parliament in Brussels © PHOTO KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

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