“A pan-European constituency is detrimental to Flanders and European democracy”

2 May 2022
Geert Bourgeois

The N-VA delegation in the European Parliament opposes a proposal on a new electoral law. This proposal aims to achieve a degree of harmonisation, but above all, an EU-wide constituency for 28 additional MEPs, to be elected on transnational electoral lists. “There is no such thing as a large federal constituency anywhere in the world. This is also at odds with the ‘unity in diversity’ that we should cherish and will only widen the gap between citizens and the EU,” says N-VA delegation chair Geert Bourgeois.

Citizens alienated from the EU

Transnational lists distort the most fundamental democratic legitimacy, namely the link between elected representatives and their constituencies, the citizens who know them. “The European Union does not consist of a single ‘demos’, but of different ‘demoi’,” argues Geert Bourgeois. “Citizens will not know most of the candidates from the other Member States, will not speak their language, will not be able to follow and assess them or enter into debate with them. That is how citizens become alienated from the EU. It will weaken the bond between MEPs and voters and damage confidence in the EU.”

Institutional balance threatened

There is a desire for the transnational lists to be headed by a candidate for President of the Commission. The intention is clear: to take the first step towards a European “presidential” system. This threatens the institutional balance.


A federal state with federal electoral districts is unprecedented worldwide: people everywhere (Switzerland, USA, Germany, Canada, etc.) vote per state. “The diverse, national dynamics in which people vote for their trusted national parties, according to the electoral traditions of the individual Member States, must be preserved. This ensures more involvement in the elections,” Geert Bourgeois says.

A European constituency on top of national constituencies creates first-class and second-class MEPs. There is also a risk that candidates and party leaders of large Member States will take the largest number of votes and seats. The fear is that candidates from smaller Member States will not get elected.

Finally, Article 4 of the Treaty states that the EU must respect the basic political and constitutional structures of the Member States, including those for regional self-government. How can one candidate for Belgium per list be reconciled with the existence of three constituencies?

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