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Czech Republic and Poland sued by EU Commission for not letting foreigners run in elections

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Warsaw, Poland – The European Commission is taking Poland and the Czech Republic to court for not letting EU citizens run in elections.

The Czech Republic and Poland are the only EU member states where foreigners – including other EU nationals – are not allowed to enter domestic political parties and run in elections.

According to the EU Commission, both countries are limiting other people’s rights to run in local and European elections – while Polish and Czech citizens are, on the other hand, allowed to run in elections in other EU countries.

The European Commission first launched an infringement procedure against the Czech Republic in 2012 and Poland the following year.

In the Czech Republic for instance, the internal statutes of several political parties – including ANO, CSSD, TOP 09 or KSCM – explicitly cite the Czech citizenship as one of the conditions for being able to become a member.

In response to the EU’s infringement procedure, both Prague and Warsaw claimed that their national legislation on the matter was in line with EU law.

“The Commission maintains that the restrictions hindering non-Czech and non-Polish EU citizens in Czechia and Poland respectively to join a political party are contrary to EU law,” the EU’s executive wrote in a statement released yesterday.

“European citizens who wish to exercise their political rights in other EU Member States should be able to do so without limitations. In particular, they should be able to stand as candidates in local and European elections in the Member State of residence under the same conditions as the Member State’s nationals.”

The case will now be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union.