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Video: What you need to know about the EU elections

© AFP file picture

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-24

In the runup to Sunday’s closing vote of the European Parliament elections, FRANCE 24 provides a quick guide to how it all works.

The European Parliament seats a total of 751 lawmakers, each representing one of the European Union’s 28 member states. The number of MEPs a nation can have, however, is proportional to the size of its population.

The Germans currently have the biggest say, with the right to 96 seats, while the French have 74, the Italians and the British 73 each, and the bloc’s tiniest nations – Luxembourg, Cyprus and Malta – hold only six each.

The lawmakers are directly elected in nationally held polls held between May 22 and 25, although the bulk of European countries will hold their vote on Sunday, the last day.

Once elected, most MEPs will choose to join a European political group. These groups are organised by political affiliations rather than by nationalities.

To form such a group, at least 25 MEPs from seven different countries need to take part. There are currently seven political groups in the EU parliament.

When Europe’s 390 million eligible voters this week go to the polls, therefore, it will most likely mean that they will throw their support behind one of these political groups.

For example, a Spanish citizen who votes for the Spanish Socialist party, will automatically cast their vote for the European Parliament’s Socialist and Democrats group. And a German who endorses Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic party (CDU) will automatically back the centre-right European People's Party.

The groups have nominated pan-European candidates for the European Commission’s presidency seat for the first time this year. But despite this, the European Council – which is made up of Europe’s 28 heads of state – still have the final say in whether these nominations should be taken seriously or not.

Date created : 2014-05-23

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