The European Parliament: Key facts

The following interactive slide show gives the key facts about the European Parliament you need to know and remember.

  • Within the EU bureaucracy the European Parliament represents European citizens.
  • Citizens of member states directly elect the EP and while MEPs are voted along party lines in their native country, they sit in cross national ‘party groups’ in the EP. Read here about the British Conservative Party’s decision to change party groups in 2009.
  • The Parliament has three places of work. Meetings of the whole Parliament take place in Strasbourg and in Brussels. The General Secretariat (the administrative part of the EP) sits in Luxembourg.
  • The Parliament has a say in the decision making process in all EU legislation, but its influence depends on the policy area being discussed. (This will be discussed further in module two)
  • Parliament exercises democratic control over the EU as a whole, and the Commission in particular. The Parliament appoints the Commission, can pass a ‘motion of censure’ against it (meaning it can demand the Commission’s resignation) and the Commission is legally required to answer questions posed to it by the Parliament.
  • The Parliament has joint control (with the Council) over the EU budget and the Parliament scrutinises how the budget is spent.