EU nationals living in the Netherlands are being urged to sign a petition which will put full voting rights on the European agenda.
The campaign has been launched by the ECIT Foundation, which argues that true EU citizenship depends on political rights, such as voting at national elections in other EU countries.
‘We demand the EU to remove a stain on European democracy and empower European citizenship, by implementing full political rights for all EU citizens,’ the petition states.
The initiative calls on member states to extend voting rights to other EU citizens in national, regional and local elections and calls for the establishment of a European help desk to advise citizens about their political rights.
The campaigners need to collect one million signatures within a year from at least seven member states for the European Commission to respond. British nationals are no longer eligible to sign.
In the Netherlands, EU nationals and everyone who has lived in the country for more than five years can vote in the local elections, and EU nationals can vote in the European elections. However, only Dutch nationals can take part in the parliamentary and provincial votes.
A recent Eurobarometer survey showed 63% of Europeans support full voting rights for other EU citizens, but in the Netherlands only 46% think this should be the case.
Just 12% of the 490,000 EU nationals in the Netherlands were registered to vote in last year’s European elections, and research by DutchNews.nl showed that many local authorities had not informed people about the need to sign up.
DutchNews.nl received dozens of emails and complaints from EU nationals who were not aware they were able to register or who were given wrong information by their town hall.
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