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European Union Election Observation Missions

Election observation is a vital component of European Union activities to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law worldwide. Election observation can contribute to strengthening democratic institutions, build public confidence in electoral processes and help deter fraud, intimidation and violence. Election observation also serves to reinforce other key European Union foreign policy objectives, notably peace-building. With these objectives in mind, the European Union has become a leading force in international election observation.

Since 2000 over 60 EU Election Observation Missions (EU EOMs) have been deployed to all continents, with the exception of the OSCE region. EU EOMs employ a long-term observation methodology to assess election processes according to international standards and best practices for genuine democratic elections. The international standards established by international and regional legal treaties and political commitments to which the country observed has agreed to be bound include universal principles that apply to the conduct of elections, such as fundamental freedoms and political rights as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

How to Become an Observer

In order to streamline the selection of EU election observers, the European Commission has developed a roster which accelerates the process and makes it more transparent, impartial and uniform.

All candidates (core team and observers) interested in participating in an EOM have to register their candidature in the Election Roster. The minimum requirements to become an observer are defined in the EU Guidelines on Common Criteria for the Selection of Electoral Observers. In summary, the main points are:

  1. previous experience of election monitoring and/or other relevant experience or know-how and specific training, national and/or international Ė good experience of working languages of EU EOMs (either English, French, or Spanish or a combination of those languages);
  2. interpersonal skills (e.g. capacity of balanced judgement, ability to work in teams, ability to cope with difficult situations, respect for local attitudes, good communication skills, readiness to work in a multicultural environment);
  3. ability to maintain professional independence and strict impartiality in the conduct of duties in the host country;
  4. demonstrated commitment to democracy and human rights;
  5. EU Member State citizenship.
  6. familiarity and experience with electoral laws and procedures (including inter alia electoral rolls, national electoral committees), not limited to a single electoral tradition;
  7. special knowledge of human rights and democratisation issues;
  8. basic knowledge of institutional aspects of the EU;
  9. analytical and drafting skills.

Qualified candidates are invited to enter their CVs into the electronic form provided. After screening the CVs of their own nationals, Member States will propose the most qualified candidates for the position of long or short-term observer (LTO/STO) in one of the EUís Election Observation Missions.

Core Team experts are recruited by the Commission directly. Candidates interested in applying as a Core Team member should regularly consult the calls for candidatures page.

Candidates should be aware that Member States may apply additional criteria when proposing their nationals for LTO or STO positions. Commission services may also add criteria in relation to specific countries. The Commission makes the final selection of LTOs and STOs.

For further information, please consult the European Commissionís External Cooperation website.

Join the Roster of EU Election Observers.

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