While the UK won't publish the results of the European elections until Sunday, in the Netherlands, where the elections have also been held today, the 'unofficial' results have been made public right after the election.
As this article explains, European rules say the results can only be published in 3 days time. However the Dutch municipalities seem to disagree and the State Secretary supports them.
Whether the European Commission will sue the Netherlands, which it considered doing 5 years ago, was not disclosed by a spokesman who said: “we won't consider the situation yet. We want the Netherlands to respect the rules”.
The article further explains that in the Netherlands an electoral law obliges the municipalities to directly count the votes in public after the closure of the ballot boxes. The idea is that every voter who wishes so, can be present at that moment.
The results are then sent to Dutch press agency ANP, and are unofficial results, as the official result will only be announced on 11 June.
In 2004 the Commission threatened to sue the Netherlands at the European Court of Justice, but didn't follow through.
Reportedly this was because of the Netherlands' defence that the results were "unofficial", but also because the country was due take up the EU presidency some weeks later and it would have been 'strange' for the European Commission to sue the EU presidency.
While the Dutch law protecting transparency in the process of vote counting appears to supercede the European law, which aims to protect voters from one country to be influenced by another country, the UK public will only be able to know the results of its European elections on Sunday evening. At 23.30 Sunday CET results are expected at http://www.elections2009-results.eu/