Press

Press release no. 15/19 of April 18, 2019

2019 European Election: Brexit consequences

WIESBADEN – On 11 April 2019 the European Council complied with the United Kingdom’s request to further postpone the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. According to the Federal Returning Officer, there are various exit scenarios now that the extension has been granted. They will have an impact on the options of both Germans living in the United Kingdom and of British citizens living in Germany to participate in the European elections.

Consequences for Germans entitled to vote who live in the United Kingdom

If the United Kingdom should not have ratified the withdrawal agreement by 22 May 2019, under EU legislation it will have to take part in the European elections. Provided that the United Kingdom complies with this legal obligation, Germans entitled to vote who live in the United Kingdom will have the following options: they can either elect the British members of the European Parliament after having their names entered in a voters’ register in Great Britain or vote for German candidates. However, for the latter they must have their names entered in time, that is by 5 May 2019, in the voters’ register kept by the German municipality of their last registered place of residence. The original of the registration application has to be received by the respective German municipal authority by 5 May 2019 and must bear the applicant’s personal signature. German voters in the UK will generally vote by post.

If, however, the United Kingdom does not participate in the European elections, Germans living in the United Kingdom will be entitled to vote for German candidates only. In that case they have to apply for entry in the voters’ register kept by the German municipality of their last registered place of residence by 5 May 2019 as explained above.

Consequences for British citizens living in Germany

The eligibility of British citizens (who hold British citizenship only) to participate in the European election in Germany depends on whether the United Kingdom will still be a member of the European Union on 26 May 2019. This will be the case if the United Kingdom does not ratify the withdrawal agreement until 30 April 2019. If the agreement has been ratified by 30 April, the UK will leave the EU on 1 May 2019. In that case, British citizens living in Germany will not be eligible to vote. Polling cards already issued will then be declared invalid.

If, however, the United Kingdom ratifies the withdrawal agreement in May, the UK will leave the European Union on 1 June 2019. In that case British citizens living in Germany can take part in the election of German members of the European Parliament on 26 May 2019. To this end they must apply for entry in the voters’ register to the municipal authority of their last registered place of residence in Germany by 5 May 2019. British citizens who were on the voters’ register of the last European election, have permanently lived in Germany since and have not filed an application for deletion from the voters’ register do not need to apply for entry in the voters’ register.

Consequences for the distribution of seats in the European Parliament

If the United Kingdom participates in the European elections, the distribution of seats will remain the same. The total number of seats in the European Parliament would change in the event of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. Presently, the United Kingdom is entitled to 73 seats. 27 of these 73 seats are to be redistributed among 14 of the EU Member States as these have been slightly underrepresented. After Brexit the total number of European Parliament members would go down to 705. Germany would keep its 96 seats. If Brexit happens only after European elections have been held, also in the United Kingdom, the elected European Parliament members from the United Kingdom will lose their seats once the withdrawal takes effect, which is in keeping with the European Council decision of 28 June 2018.

 

For further information:

Office of the Federal Returning Officer
tel: +49 611 75-4863
www.bundeswahlleiter.de/contact