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Abstract

The EU grants rights to third-country nationals (TCNs) and strives to approximate their rights to those of Union citizens. Up to now, the approximation has extended to social and economic matters. This article investigates whether political rights, notably voting rights for the European Parliament (EP), should also be approximated. To this end, the analysis applies Dahl's democratic principles of ‘coercion’ and ‘all affected interests’ as well as Bauböck's principle of ‘stakeholding’ to the position of TCNs in the EU. Against that background, it explores the relevance of arguments for and against granting TCNs the right to vote in European elections and submits that voting rights should be granted to long-term resident TCNs. The author then proposes including TCN voting rights in the legal framework for EP elections and concludes by suggesting the use of the concept of civic citizenship to express political approximation of TCNs to EU citizens.