Brussels, 9 May 2019: The election observation project Election-Watch.EU set up office in Brussels today to conduct a European Union (EU) wide Election Assessment Mission (EAM). The EAM is comprised of an EAM Coordination Team and National Chapters in 28 EU Member States, with about 50 committed international election experts and observers as well as citizen election observer organisations across the EU.
New challenges stemming from anti-democratic developments in some EU member states, disinformation on social media and questions about the future of the European Union raise concerns ahead of the 2019 European elections. The new challenges cannot provide a pretext in some EU Member States to limit human rights, increasing surveillance and the curtailing of free speech. Perpetual monitoring and continuous development to protect electoral integrity are important to guarantee the exercise of civil and political rights to citizens. European responses need to increase consistency, transparency, inclusion and technical security of electoral processes. In this context, non-partisan international and citizen election observation can contribute to protect democratic and human rights principles.
The EAM mandate derives from the EU Member States’ international obligations and regional commitments. Election-Watch.EU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the European Parliament aimed at increasing awareness of and participation in the European elections through public outreach activities. Upon invitation by the European Commission, Election-Watch.EU briefed EU Member States’ Election Management Bodies about the methodology and approach of the Election Assessment Mission (EAM) in Brussels on 4 April.
Objectives of the EAM
The overall objective of the EAM is to strengthen European electoral integrity and to contribute to enhancing European democratic practices. The EAM aims to raise awareness about the importance of the European elections, highlight best electoral practices among member states, and provide recommendations for further improving European elections. In particular, the EAM will focus on the electoral calendar including voter registration, campaign finance, social media regulation and persons with disabilities’ access to elections.
The EAM follows international best practice in observation methodology, is strictly impartial, and committed to the European Convention on Human Rights. Election-Watch.EU conducted an advance Needs Assessment Mission (NAM) and is an endorsing organisation of the Declaration of Global Principles for Non-Partisan Election Observation and its Code of Conduct, which was commemorated at the United Nations in 2012, and is a member of the Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM).
EAM press conference on 28 May: Election-Watch.EU will hold a press conference on Tuesday, 28 May to present the EAM’s preliminary findings. A comprehensive EAM report including recommendations will be published and presented to the newly elected European Parliament in September/October.