Election observation is a vital component of European Union activities to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law worldwide. Election observation missions (EOMs) have, over the years, contributed to strengthening democratic institutions, building public confidence in electoral processes and have helped deter fraud, intimidation and violence.
Selected highlights during this period include the very first EU election observation mission in 1993. Taking place against the backdrop of the fall of the Iron Curtain and the break-up of the former Soviet Union, the EU observed the first free general elections to be held in post-Soviet Russia.
1994 was a momentous year for the African continent. An EU EOM was there and observed the first free general elections in post-apartheid South Africa, and the first to include universal adult suffrage. 1998 saw election observers at work in Bosnia-Herzegovina to observe what was only the second post-war general election in that newly independent state.
In 2000, on the occasion of parliamentary elections, EU election observers formed the largest election observation mission present in Zimbabwe – more than a hundred observers were deployed during the first week of June alone.
Finally, in 2002 the EU monitored the local elections in Cambodia. The 2002 commune elections were also a first for EU election observation, as it was the first time that an EOM had been sent to exclusively observe local-level democracy in action.
To find out more about EOMs post-2002, explore the EOM Map.
This web-documentary was produced by the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments of the European Commission (FPI).
The views and opinions expressed in this documentary do not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Union.
This web documentary appears just over 20 years after the European Union carried out its first electoral observation mission to the Russian Federation in December of 1993. Since then, over 150 missions have deployed in 65 countries around the globe involving over 10 000 observers.
As this documentary shows, the EU has a strong track record in working towards its goal of promoting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law around the world through its electoral observation missions and developing a fine-tuned working methodology for doing so.
It seeks to demonstrate through a multimedia interface how, as a cornerstone of European Union foreign policy, electoral observation actions contribute to strengthening democratic institutions and building public confidence in electoral processes in the countries where they take place, as well as helping to deter fraud, intimidation, and violence.