Europeans will head to the polls from June 6 to 9, 2024, to elect the next MEPs, Politico reported.
European Union diplomats approved the dates for the European elections on Wednesday, announced the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
By electing 705 MEPs from 2024 to 2029, EU citizens could shake up not only the European Parliament but also the European Commission.
Europe’s political groups are moving towards a historic reshuffle as the European People’s Party considers alliances with the far right, breaking its tacit pro-EU coalition with the center-left.
The decision to hold the vote from Thursday June 6 to Sunday June 9 next year marks a defeat for Portugal. Lisbon said those dates would lower voter turnout in the country because Monday, June 10, is a national holiday. However, diplomats were unable to muster the necessary unanimous support to choose different dates.
Euronews notes that the dates were pre-selected by the ambassadors of the 27 member states during a meeting on Wednesday and will be officially announced next week when ministers sign the decision.
The election takes place every five years over four days and is considered the largest transnational vote in the world: more than 400 million voters of different nationalities are called to vote simultaneously for their political representatives in the European Parliament.
The renewal of the composition of the European Parliament also leads to changes at the very top of the European Commission and the European Council, which means that the positions currently held by Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel will be vacated.
Von der Leyen has yet to confirm whether she intends to run for a second five-year term as European Commission president, while Michel is barred by law from continuing to lead the European Council as the post is limited to two consecutive 2.5-year terms.
Voter turnout in the previous election held in May 2019 was 50.66%, an increase of eight points compared to the 2014 vote.
In response to the news, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola posted a video on her Twitter account, encouraging voters to register and “be part of Europe’s biggest democracy exercise“.
“The European Union is not perfect. It is constantly evolving. The world is changing and we must change with it,” Metsola said in the one-minute video. “We need reform. We cannot fear change. We must embrace it.”
An early forecast by Europe Elects suggested the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) would lose almost 20 seats but remain the largest with 163 MEPs, followed by the Socialists and Democrats group with 141.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, energy supplies, climate change and migration will feature prominently in the upcoming campaign.
The corruption scandal that rocked the European Parliament and became known as “Qatargate” is also expected to loom over the debates, although its impact on voters will be difficult to determine as media attention to the court case has waned significantly in recent months.