Breaking News | Britons May Vote in the EU Elections

Regardless of Brexit, British citizens living in Austria may participate in the European elections in May, the Interior Ministry confirmed.

Estimating the number between 500 and 1,000, voting rights expert Robert Stein of the Interior Ministry confirmed Monday (April 8) the right of British citizens to participate in the up-coming elections for the European Parliament, scheduled for May 23.  This applies to all Britons living in Austria as of March 12, and who are otherwise registered to vote at the EU level.

Voting rights also extend to the right to stand for office, said Stein. “As passive voting rights are fundamentally tied to the active rights,” a British citizen could also join an Austrian party election list, although should Britain eventually leave, the British MEP would probably have to give up his seat to the next person on the list.

So it’s all a bit murky as to what would come next, and Andreas Schieder (SPÖ) commented that the election might be open to challenge by the Constitutional Court (VfGH).

It should have all been decided by now, of course. Originally, Brexit D-Day was set for March 29. Unable to reach consensus in Parliament, the date was pushed back to April 12, in four days from this writing.  Asked by British Prime Minister Theresa May for an extension until June 30, European Council Chairman Donald Tusk is seeking a flexible deadline of up to 12 months. A decision – which must be unanimous – is expected at a special Brexit Summit in Brussels on Wednesday, April 10.

Dardis McNamee
Dardis McNamee is the Editor in Chief of Metropole. She has written for The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler (NYC), the Wall Street Journal Europe and Die Zeit in Vienna, as well as having been a speechwriter to two U.S. ambassadors to Austria. She was awarded the 2007 Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching (Media & Communications).

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