European Elections 2024

The next elections for the European Parliament take place on 6-9 June 2024, and Belgium will be voting on Sunday 9 June 2024. There are some big changes this time: 16 year olds will get the vote, and non-Belgians can now register online! Read on to get some context, or check out the FAQ with all the information and instructions you need to make sure your voice is heard.

The European elections are one of the world’s greatest exercises in democracy, with more than 400 million citizens eligible to vote. These elections choose the members of the European Parliament, one of the key EU institutions based in Brussels. The European Parliament is the collective voice of EU citizens, and a place where laws and rules for the whole EU are debated and approved. The EU implements all kinds of projects across Europe, including right here in Brussels. And EU law has a huge impact on vital areas of our life: the environment, the economy, security, migration, our rights as citizens, worker and consumers… so it is really important to have your say as Europe goes to the polls!

If you are an EU citizen, you have the right to vote (and stand) in the European elections in your home country, or in another EU country where you live. EU citizens who have moved to Belgium can vote here just like the Belgians, so long as you register in advance. But you cannot vote in both places, so you need to choose where you want to vote.

There are common principles and a shared calendar for the elections, but each country decides how exactly they will run the vote according to their own laws and traditions. In Belgium, for example, we will vote on Sunday 9 June and voting is compulsory for adults who have registered. In 2024, Belgium is also opening the right to vote for 16 and 17 year olds for the very first time!

Sadly, turnout for the European elections is often low, especially among people who have moved from one EU country to another. In 2019, only 20% voted back in their home country and only 10% voted in the country where they live. That means that these “mobile EU citizens” were much less likely to vote than the EU population as a whole, even though they really experience the reality of EU freedoms every day. Even the EU citizens who live in Brussels, the capital of Europe, do not register and vote in high numbers – despite the fact they make up almost a quarter of the population.

Of course, there are good reasons for this. It can be difficult to understand how to vote in your new country, or back in your home country as a citizen living abroad. That’s why and the Expat Welcome Desk are publishing this information in English for EU citizens living in Brussels and Belgium. If you decide not to vote in your home country, we really encourage you to vote here in Belgium so your voice is not lost.

In the end, Europe saw a big increase in turnout for the last elections in 2019. We want to continue the trend in 2024, and helping mobile EU citizens use their right to vote is great way to do it!

Interested in registering to vote for the European Elections 2024? Check out our FAQ to get all the practical information, and have a look at elections.europa too. If you still have questions, contact the Expat Welcome Desk for personalised advice and support.