Can foreign residents in France vote in the European elections?

The Local France
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Can foreign residents in France vote in the European elections?
The hemicycle at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. Photo by FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP

The year 2024 is a bumper one for elections, among them the European elections which are scheduled for June. France is of course a member of the EU - so can foreign residents vote in the elections that will almost certainly affect their daily lives?


Across Europe, people will go to the polls in early June to select their representatives in the European Parliament, with 81 seats up for grabs in France. 

Although European elections usually see a much lower turnout than national elections, they are still seen as important by French domestic politicians - this time Marine Le Pen's far-right will be hoping to make big gains, while Emmanuel Macron's centrist alliance will be doing their best to avoid that happening.

When to vote

In mainland France, plus the overseas territories of Réunion, Mayotte, Nouvelle-Calédonie and Wallis and Futuna, polling takes place on Sunday, June 9th.

Polling stations will be set up in the same places as for national and local elections - usually town halls, leisure centres and other public buildings.


Due to the time difference, the French overseas territories of French Polynesia, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon will vote on Saturday, June 8th. 

Polling stations open at 8am and mostly close at 6pm, although those in cities often stay open until 8pm.

Unlike in French presidential or local elections, there is only a single round of voting in European elections.

Who can vote? 

French citizens - including dual nationals - can vote in European elections, even if they don't live in France. As is common for French domestic elections, polling booths will be set up in French consulates around the world to allow French people living overseas to vote.

Non-French citizens who are living in France can only vote if they have citizenship of an EU country. So for example Irish citizens living in France can vote in European elections but Americans, Canadians, Australians etc cannot.

Brits in France used to be able to vote before Brexit, but now cannot - even if they have the special Brexit carte de séjour.

If you have previously voted in an election in France - either local or European - you should still be on the electoral roll. If not, you will need to register and this must be done by May 1st if you are registering online or May 3rd if you are registering by post.

You can check whether you are on the electoral roll HERE

How does the election work?

The system for European elections differs from most countries' domestic polls.

MEPs are elected once every five years. Each country is given an allocation of MEPs roughly based on population size.

At present there are 705 MEPs, Germany - the country in the bloc with the largest population - has the most while the smallest number belong to Malta with just six.


At the last elections in 2019 France had 74 MEPs but it has since gained an extra 5, bringing it to 79, due to the UK's exit from the EU and some of its 73 European Parliament seats being shared out among other countries.

France, like most of its EU neighbours, elects its MEPs through direct proportional representation via the 'list' system, so that parties gain the number of MEPs equivalent that their share of the overall vote.

So for example if Le Pen's party wins 50 percent of the overall vote they will get 39 or 40 out of the total of 79 MEPs. Exactly who gets to be an MEP is decided in advance by the parties who publish their candidate lists in priority order. So let's say that Le Pen's party does get that 50 percent of the vote - then the people named from 1 to 40 on their list get to be MEPs, and the people lower down on the list do not.

In the run up to the election, the parties decide on who will be their candidats têtes de liste (candidates heading the list) and these people will almost certainly be elected. The further down the list a name appears, the less likely that person is to be heading to parliament.

The candidats têtes de liste are usually, but not always, responsible for running that party's election campaign and become their spokesman on European issues. 

Once in parliament, parties usually seek to maximise their influence by joining one of the 'blocks' made up of parties from neighbouring countries that broadly share their interests and values eg centre-left, far-right, green.

The parliament alternates between Strasbourg and Brussels. 


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