Poland, Czech Republic referred to CJEU over EU citizens’ electoral rights

The European Commission decided to refer the Czech Republic and Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the reason being the citizens of other EU Member States are not allowed to join national political parties in these countries.

According to the EC, this restriction means that citizens of other EU Member States living in the Czech Republic and Poland cannot fully exercise their right to stand as a candidate in local elections and in elections to the European Parliament under the same conditions as nationals of these two countries.

The Czech Republic and Poland are the only Member States where such a ban still applies. The Commission opened an infringement procedure against the Czech Republic in 2012 and against Poland in 2013. In response, both the Czech Republic and Poland argued that their national rules were compatible with EU law.

On December 2, 2020, the Commission sent letters to the Czech Republic and Poland asking for updated information on any legislative changes within two months. Poland sent a reply in which it maintained its previous position, while the Czech Republic ignored the letter.

The actions of EC are motivated by its head’s Ursula von der Leyen’s approach to the issue of EU citizens’ electoral rights. One of its points is to enable the European citizens who would like to exercise their political rights in other countries belonging to the EU to be able to do so freely.