The European Parliament: Towards a uniform procedure for direct elections
SASSE, Christoph; BREW, David A.; GEORGEL, Jacques; HAND, Geoffrey; HUBER, Christian H.; VAN DEN BERGHE, Guido
Title: The European Parliament: Towards a uniform procedure for direct elections
Author: SASSE, Christoph; BREW, David A.; GEORGEL, Jacques; HAND, Geoffrey; HUBER, Christian H.; VAN DEN BERGHE, Guido
Publisher: Florence/Luxembourg, European University Institute/Office for Official Publications of the European Communities
Citation: Florence/Luxembourg, European University Institute/Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1981, Publications of the European University Institute, 11
As they worked at the European University Institute on the project which has resulted in the present volume, the members of the team (whose identity and individual concerns have already been very briefly indicated in the 'Foreword') were of course well aware that all over the European Communities other research teams and individuals had been attracted to the same problem. (Indeed, contact and cooperation were to occur in several instances as, for example, the list of visitors to Florence in connection with the project demonstrates) 1. The prospective institutional and historical uniqueness of the European Parliament in its directly elected stage of development has been a stimulus, intellectual and even emotional, to many and it is hardly necessary to point out that the insights of a variety of national, political and academic traditions must be needed. Yet the European University Institute appeared to offer peculiar advantages to the study. A foundation of the Nine, it is nevertheless not specially tied to the greater European institutions any more than it is to particular individual Member States or, needless to say, to party groupings. It was easily possible to assemble a group which included academic staff or research students from each of the Nine (although not all that slightly wider group contributed directly to the writing of the present volume).
When in September 1976 the Member States of the European Communities agreed on the arrangements for the first direct elections to the European Parliament, duly held in 1979, they also reaffirmed that the Parliament itself should draw up a proposal for a uniform procedure for future direct elections. At the European University Institute, Florence, a team of professors and research students from the departments of Law and Politics set to work on the problems and possibilities of a uniform procedure. Before presenting concise principles for a uniform system many related topics are analyzed: What is meant by 'uniformity' in this context? Within their national Ufe, what electoral systems do the Nine use and how do they relate to the general classification and characteristics of such systems? How did the Member States approach the problems of direct elections in 1979 and how do the procedures they then adopted compare with each other in detail? What sort of systems have been used by Greece, Portugal and Spain? A long appendix explores the comparison with the United States experience. The final proposals are based on three guiding principles: — that the Council Act of September 1976 is the essential foundation, — that uniformity need not be absolute in matters of detail, — that, within the area represented by each Member State, the system should be proportional in character.
Type of Access: openAccess