Pro-independence parties reject new threshold for EU parliament election

Regulation obliges member states to set a minimum of 2% to 5% of votes for a candidacy to get a seat in the chamber

Catalan MEPs Jordi Solé, Josep-Maria Terricabras and Ramon Tremosa (by ACN)
Catalan MEPs Jordi Solé, Josep-Maria Terricabras and Ramon Tremosa (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona/Brussels

July 5, 2018 11:40 AM

A new threshold set for parties in the European Parliament election has not been welcomed by Catalan pro-independence forces. The regulation sets a minimum of 2% to 5% of votes for parties to get a seat in certain cases and in practice it affects Germany and Spain. These two member states are free to decide any threshold within this scale within their borders. This means that regional parties might struggle to make the threshold in the EU parliament election set for 2024, the first in which the regulation will apply.

The measure sets this threshold for constituencies with more than 35 seats, and it also affects single-constituency member states with at least 35 representatives at stake. With some affected member states having already thresholds, Spain and Germany are the only ones which have to change their rules before the 2024 election. 

Shortly after the European chamber approved the regulation on Wednesday, the ERC and PDeCAT pro-independence parties, along with some Basque and Galician forces, complained about the measure. In their view, the reform is "serious" and it "removes political pluralism from the chamber."

Large coalition

Catalan MEPs Ramon Tremosa and Josep Maria Terricabras told a press conference that a "large coalition" of affected parties might be the way to get around the issue. For Tremosa, such a coalition might "get a good electoral result." Terricabras believes that "it is good to give an image of unity in Europe for those who do not share Spain’s Jacobin [centralizing] view." Yet, his ERC colleague, Jordi Solé, said that the party is "skeptical" of such tickets. 

Possible effects of reform

In the 2014 election, ERC ran on its own and got 4.07% of the votes in the whole of Spain – and 23.6% in Catalonia. That meant 2 seats for the candidacy, but if the threshold is 5% in the future, the party would not be able to get representation with these results.