European Parliament

The European Parliament (EP) is one of three legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legislation, commonly on the proposal of the European Commission. The Parliament is composed of 705 members (MEPs). It represents the second-largest democratic electorate in the world (after the Parliament of India) and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world (375 million eligible voters in 2009).[1][2][3]

European Parliament

Name in official languages
Bulgarian: Европейски парламент
Croatian: Europski parlament
Czech: Evropský parlament
Danish: Europa-Parlamentet
Dutch: Europees Parlement
English: European parliament
Estonian: Euroopa Parlament
Finnish: Euroopan parlamentti
French: Parlement européen
German: Europäisches Parlament
Greek: Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο
Hungarian: Európai Parlament
Irish: Parlaimint na hEorpa
Italian: Parlamento europeo
Latvian: Eiropas Parlaments
Lithuanian: Europos Parlamentas
Maltese: Parlament Ewropew
Polish: Parlament Europejski
Portuguese: Parlamento Europeu
Romanian: Parlamentul European
Slovak: Európsky parlament
Slovene: Evropski parlament
Spanish: Parlamento Europeo
Swedish: Europaparlamentet
Ninth European Parliament
European Parliament logo
Type
Type
Term limits
none
History
Founded10 September 1952 (1952-09-10)
Preceded byCommon Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community
Leadership
David Sassoli, S&D
since 3 July 2019
Roberta Metsola, EPP
since 12 November 2020
Klaus Welle
since 15 March 2009
Structure
Seats 
Political groups
8
  •   EPP (178)
  •   S&D (146)
  •   Renew (98)
  •   Greens–EFA (73)
  •   ID (71)
  •   ECR (63)
  •   GUE/NGL (39)
  •   NI (37)
Committees
Length of term
5 years
Salary8,932.86 (gross per month)
Elections
Chosen by member state, systems include:
First election
7–10 June 1979
Last election
23–26 May 2019
Next election
2024
Motto
United in diversity
Meeting place
Louise Weiss: Strasbourg, France
Espace Léopold: Brussels, Belgium
Website
www.europarl.europa.eu
Constitution
Treaties of the European Union

Since 1979, the Parliament has been directly elected every five years by the citizens of the European Union through universal suffrage. Voter turnout in parliamentary elections decreased each time after 1979 until 2019, when voter turnout increased by eight percentage points, and went above 50% for the first time since 1994.[4] The voting age is 18 in all member states except for Malta and Austria, where it is 16, and Greece, where it is 17.[5]

Although the European Parliament has legislative power, as does the Council, it does not formally possess the right of initiative as most national parliaments of the member states do, right of initiative being a prerogative of the European Commission.[6][7] The Parliament is the "first institution" of the European Union (mentioned first in its treaties and having ceremonial precedence over the other EU institutions),[8] and shares equal legislative and budgetary powers with the Council (except on a few issues where the special legislative procedures apply). It likewise has equal control over the EU budget. Ultimately, the European Commission, which serves as the executive branch of the EU, is accountable to Parliament. In particular, Parliament can decide whether or not to approve the European Council's nominee for President of the Commission, and is further tasked with approving (or rejecting) the appointment of the Commission as a whole. It can subsequently force the current Commission to resign by adopting a motion of censure.[6]

The President of the European Parliament (Parliament's speaker) is David Sassoli (PD), elected in July 2019. He presides over a multi-party chamber, the five largest groups being the European People's Party Group (EPP), the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), Renew Europe (previously ALDE), the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens–EFA) and Identity and Democracy (ID). The last EU-wide election was held in 2019.

The Parliament is headquartered in Strasbourg, France,[9] and has its administrative offices in Luxembourg City. Plenary sessions take place in Strasbourg as well as in Brussels, Belgium, while the Parliament's committee meetings are held primarily in Brussels.[10][11]