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European Parliament

Overview

  • Role: Directly-elected EU body with legislative, supervisory, and budgetary responsibilities
  • Members: 751 MEPs (Members of the European Parliament)
  • President: Martin Schulz
  • Established in: 1952 as Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, 1962 as European Parliament, first direct elections in 1979
  • Location: Strasbourg (France), Brussels (Belgium), Luxembourg
  • Website: European Parliament

The European Parliament is the EU's law-making body. It is directly elected by EU voters every 5 years. The last elections were in May 2014.

What does the Parliament do?

The Parliament has 3 main roles:

Legislative

Supervisory

  • Democratic scrutiny of all EU institutions
  • Electing the Commission President and approving the Commission as a body. Possibility of voting a motion of censure, obliging the Commission to resign
  • Granting discharge, i.e. approving the way EU budgets have been spent
  • Examining citizens' petitions and setting up inquiries
  • Discussing monetary policy with the European Central Bank
  • Questioning Commission and Council
  • Election observations

Budgetary

  • Establishing the EU budget, together with the Council
  • Approving the EU's long-term budget, the "Multiannual Financial Framework"

Infographic: ABC of the EU institutions

Infographic: ABC of the EU institutions

Click image to view infographic

More infographics

Composition

The number of MEPs for each country is roughly proportionate to its population, but this is by degressive proportionality: no country can have fewer than 6 or more than 96 MEPs and the total number cannot exceed 751 (750 plus the President). MEPs are grouped by political affiliation, not by nationality.

The President represents Parliament to other EU institutions and the outside world and gives the final go-ahead to the EU budget.

How does the Parliament work?

Parliament's work comprises two main stages:

  • Committees - to prepare legislation.
    The Parliament numbers 20 committees and two subcommittees, each handling a particular policy area. The committees examine proposals for legislation, and MEPs and political groups can put forward amendments or propose to reject a bill. These issues are also debated within the political groups.
  • Plenary sessions – to pass legislation.
    This is when all the MEPs gather in the chamber to give a final vote on the proposed legislation and the proposed amendments. Normally held in Strasbourg for four days a month, but sometimes there are additional sessions in Brussels.

The Parliament and you

If you want to ask the Parliament to act on a certain issue, you can petition it (either by post or online).

Petitions can cover any subject which comes under the EU's remit.

To submit a petition, you must be a citizen of an EU member state or be resident in the EU. Companies or other organisations must be based here.

Other ways of getting in touch with Parliament include contacting your local MEP or the European Parliament Information Office in your country.

European Parliament (Brussels)

Contact details

Address

Rue Wiertz/Wiertzstraat 60

B-1047 Bruxelles/Brussel

Belgique/België

Tel
+32 2 284 21 11
Fax
+32 2 284 69 74
Visit

Type of visit: Guided tour, information session, individual tour, plenary sitting

Minimum size of group: 20-45 people (except for individual tour & plenary sitting)

Individual visitors: Monday to Thursday, tour starts at 10:00 and 15:00 Friday, tour starts at 10:00

Advance booking requirement: Groups: 2 months for group visits. Individual visitors: 15 minutes prior to visit

Minimum age of visitors: 14 years old

Visit the European Parliament in Brussels

European Parliament (Luxembourg)

European Parliament (Luxembourg)

Address

Plateau du Kirchberg

B.P. 1601

L-2929 Luxembourg

Tel
+ 352 4300 1
Fax
+ 352 4300 22457
Visit

Type of visit: Information session

Minimum size of group: Not specified

Advance booking requirement: Not specified

Minimum age of visitors: Not specified

Visit the European Parliament in Luxembourg

European Parliament (Strasbourg)

European Parliament (Strasbourg)

Address

1, avenue du Président Robert Schuman

CS 91024

F-67070 Strasbourg Cedex

Tel
+33 3 88 17 40 01
Fax
+33 3 88 17 51 84
Visit

Type of visit: Guided tour, information session, plenary sitting, Euroscola (for schools, teachers and students)

Minimum size of group: 20-45 people (except for plenary sitting)

Individual visitors: During plenary sittings only

Advance booking requirement: 3 months (except for plenary sitting)

Minimum age of visitors: 14 years old

Visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Parlamentarium - The European Parliament's Visitors' Centre

Parlamentarium - The European Parliament's Visitors' Centre

Tel
+32 (0)2 283 22 22
Visit

Type of visit: Individual tour

Minimum size of group: None

Advance booking requirement: Groups of more than 20 people

Opening days: Every day

Minimum age of visitors: Open to all ages. Minimum age recommended 8 years old.

Visit the European Parliament Visitors' Centre in Brussels