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All citizens from all over the 28 member states of the European Union are invited (or in some cases forced) to vote for the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
The European elections will take place on 22-25 May. Spanish citizens will vote on May 25th to elect 54 euro deputies.
What is the European Parliament?
The European Parliament is the unique directly-elected European Union institution. The MEPs (751 to be elected in 2014) represent the EU's 500 million citizens. They are elected once every five years by voters from across the 28 Member States.
Is the European Parliament the same as the European Commission?
No. The European Commission is the EU's executive body and represents the interests of Europe as a whole. The team is composed of one President and 27 Commissioners (so that each member state is represented). The Commission has the right of initiative to propose laws for adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU (national ministers).
The Parliament has legislative powers in the EU. It adopts or amends proposals from the Commission. Parliament also supervises the work of the Commission and adopts the European Union's budget.
Who are the MEPs and how the Parliament is organised?
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. Since 1979 MEPs have been elected by direct universal suffrage for a five-year period. Once elected, Members organise along political lines - and not along nationalities. They form political groups to better defend their positions.
A political party at European level is an organisation following a political programme, which is composed of national parties and individuals as members and which is represented in several Member States.
Members of the European Parliament, whose powers have become more and more extensive, influence every area of the day to day life of the European public: the environment, consumer protection and transport, as well as education, culture, health, etc.
Parliamentary committees and plenary sittings.
In order to do the preparatory work for Parliament’s plenary sittings, the Members are divided up among a number of specialised standing committees. There are 20 parliamentary committees.
The high point of the European Parliament's political activity, plenary sittings represent the culmination of the legislative work done in committee and in the political groups. The plenary sitting is also the forum in which the representatives of the citizens of the European Union - the Members of the European Parliament or MEPs - take part in Community decision-making and express their standpoint vis-à- vis the Commission and Council.
In conclusion, the European Parliament plays a determining role in the public policies, at European as well as national level, with an influence over the rights and the everyday life of all European citizens. That’s why you should make your voice heard and vote for your representatives who will best defend your ideas.
Go and vote in Spain on May 25th!
Written by Eurodesk Qualified Multiplier, Vallecas.