OPSI COVID-19 Innovative Response Tracker

Remote Voting in the European Parliament

Innovative response

A set of measures is now in place to facilitate the remote participation of MEPs in committees, enabling them to view and listen to proceedings, ask for the floor and speak in meetings. Arrangements to allow MEPs to express themselves in the language of their choice ensures respect of the linguistic regime.

On 20 March, the Parliament’s Bureau decided to supplement its earlier decision on voting methods, to allow, upon a decision by the President, a derogation in the context of the current public health emergency. The decision will enable a vote to take place by means of an alternative electronic voting procedure. Members will receive a voting paper by e-mail, to be returned completed (with a simple yes or no vote, and their signature) and scanned or photographed, from their official (European Parliament) e-mail address to a specific European Parliament functional mailbox. The President, assisted by Parliament's Secretariat will then establish the result of the vote, which will be recorded in the minutes and published.

Specific issues addressed and anticipated impact

In the words of Parliament’s President, David Sassoli, the 'European Parliament must remain open, because a virus cannot bring down democracy'. Ways have therefore had to be found to enable Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to exercise their public duties should it become impossible for them to attend committees or plenary sessions in person

The European Parliament’s Bureau has taken the unprecedented decision to provide for remote voting during the extraordinary plenary session on 26 March so as to allow for the rapid adoption of EU legislation to tackle the socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Organisations/institutions involved

European Parliament

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Level(s) of government:
  • National/Federal government
  • International Organisation

Issues being addressed:

  • Governance responses
  • Public service delivery under new circumstances