Information on the European Parliament
As a European citizen you should know about the European Parliament and how it is run. Below is a guide and introduction to the European Parliament, and to the right you will find questions raised by Liam Aylward in parliament, motions raised for resolution, and speeches in plenary.
The European Parliament is the only directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union. Direct elections to the Parliament have taken place every five years since 1979. The most recent election period (2004-2009) saw 785 MEPs elected to represent a population of 497 million, by the largest transnational democratic electorate in the world (with 342 million eligible voters in 2004).
The European Parliament does not have the same legislative powers as the national parliaments, as its powers depend on the policy areas that are conferred upon it by the Member States. But by cooperating with the Council of the European Union, it forms the highest legislative body within the EU.
Each time the European Treaties are revised, the Parliament gains more powers, which is highly significant to those citizens who have directly elected the MEPs. This means that it now acts as a co-legislator (with the Council), it has significant budgetary powers and it exercises democratic controls over all the European institutions.
By drafting legislative documents (directives, regulations etc.), the Parliament directly impacts upon the lives of its citizens, in such areas as consumer rights, transport, equal opportunities, environmental protection and the free movement of workers, capital, services and goods.
The European Parliament is divided into seven sectors These are
For further information please go to this webpage on the Parliament website.
Members of the European Parliament are not organised by nationality but by political group. 20 Members are needed to form a political group, and at least one-fifth of the Member States must be represented within the group. Members may not belong to more than one political group. Before every vote in plenary the political groups scrutinise the reports drawn up by the parliamentary committees and table amendments to them.
The position adopted by the polical group is arrived at by discussion withing the group. no member can be forced to vote in a particular way.
There are currently seven political groups in the Parliament
Some MEPs are not attached to any political group.
For further information on each of the political groups, go to this webpage on the Parliament website.
Liam is a member of the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE).
The Parliament receives groups of visitors in its three places of work, Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg, not only during part-sessions but also outside part-sessions. Visits last approximately one to three hours and include a talk, given by a European Parliament official, on what the Parliament is and how it works, followed by a question and answer session. Some visits include a video presentation or an exchange of views with an MEP.
European citizenship gives EU citizens the right of free movement and residence in the territory of the Member States, the right to vote and stand for election in European and local elections, the right to diplomatic protection in third countries, as well as:
Anyone residing in an EU member state has the right to submit a petition to the European Parliament, individually or as part of a group, on matters concerning them directly which fall within the European Union's remit. You should write to:European Parliament Petitions, L-2929 Luxembourg. European Parliament, Allée du Printemps, B.P. 1024/F F-67070 Strasbourg Cedex France. Tel: +33 0 3 88 17 40 01 Fax: +33 0 3 88 25 65 01
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