European Elections: everything you need to know

On Thursday (23 May), across the UK people went out to cast their votes in the European Elections. As the results sink in, what does this mean for us now?

As you might know, we weren’t originally supposed to be voting in the European Elections, given we were meant to leave the European Union (EU) in March.

However after an extension, we’re now due to leave on 31 October.

This means elections had to be held, to ensure we’re represented in the European Parliament for the remainder of our time in the EU – however long that may be.

VOTING

While we voted on Thursday, along with The Netherlands, the rest of the EU turned out to vote on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, meaning the results started to roll in late on Sunday night.

In England and Wales, the Brexit Party won 29 seats and 31.6 per cent of the vote.

Credit to the BBC

In Scotland, The Scottish National Party (SNP) won in 30 constituencies, with 37.7 per cent of the vote. This means they will send three Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to the EU.

The Lib Dems won in Orkney and Shetland, meaning they will send one MEP to the EU, along with the Conservative Party and Brexit Party, who also get one MEP each.

IMPORTANT

These European Elections were important for a number of reasons.

Firstly, in previous European Elections, disabled people in full-time care and people with certain mental health conditions in Germany were not allowed to vote.

Six weeks before the election, the Federal Constitution Court ruled that this was unconstitutional, making this the first European Election they could vote in.

Secondly, the EU actively fights for improved accessibility across Europe.

Public transport, air travel, and websites are just a few of the aspects of every day life that the EU have improved through various accessibility laws.

And in 2018, the EU reached an agreement on the European Accessibility Act, meaning services, infrastructure and products must become more accessible to the 80 million disabled people living in the EU.

It’s currently not clear whether these EU rules would remain laws in the UK after Brexit.

So, there we have it: the European Elections are over for another five years.

Will we still be in the EU to vote in the next elections? At this point, who truly knows.

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