European Parliament

The European Parliament (abbreviated as Europarl or the EP) is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU). Together with the Council of the European Union (the Council) and the European Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world. The Parliament is currently composed of 754 Members of the European Parliament, who represent 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).

It has been directly elected every five years by universal suffrage since 1979. However, turnout at European Parliament elections has fallen consecutively at each election since that date, and has been under 50% since 1999. Turnout in 2009 stood at 43% of all European voters, ranging from 90% in Luxembourg and Belgium (where compulsory voting is used) to 20% in Slovakia. Turnout was under 50% in 18 out of 27 member states.

Although the European Parliament has legislative power that the Council and Commission do not possess, it does not formally possess legislative initiative, as most national parliaments of European Union member states do. Parliament is the "first institution" of the EU (mentioned first in the treaties, having ceremonial precedence over all authority at European level), and shares equal legislative and budgetary powers with the Council (except in a few areas where the special legislative procedures apply). It likewise has equal control over the EU budget. Finally, the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, is accountable to Parliament. In particular, Parliament elects the President of the Commission, and approves (or rejects) the appointment of the Commission as a whole. It can subsequently force the Commission as a body to resign by adopting a motion of censure.

The President of the European Parliament (Parliament's speaker) is currently Martin Schulz (S&D), elected in January 2012. He presides over a multi-party chamber, the two largest groups being the Group of the European People's Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). The last union-wide elections were the 2009 Parliamentary Elections. Parliament has two meeting places, namely the Louise Weiss building in Strasbourg, France, which serves for twelve four-day plenary sessions per year and is the official seat, and the Espace Léopold (Dutch: Leopoldruimte) complex in Brussels, Belgium, the larger of the two, which serves for committee meetings, political groups and complementary plenary sessions. The Secretariat of the European Parliament, the Parliament's administrative body, is based in Luxembourg.

Read more about European Parliament:  History, Powers and Functions, Members, Proceedings, Seat

Other articles related to "european, european parliament, parliament":

List Of Presidents Of European Union Institutions - Current Office Holders
... President of the European Council Institution European Council The duty of the European Council President is primarily that of preparing and chairing the meetings of the European Council ... The position became 30-month appointed position, elected by the members of the European Council, in 2009 by virtue of the Treaty of Lisbon ... or government of the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (see below) ...
Lux Prize - Selection Panel
... panel composed mainly of people working in the cinematic professions who were appointed by the European Parliament's Culture and Education Committee ... Each film is shown nine times within the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, in a 90-seat cinema room specially conceived and built for this purpose ... Director, Estoril Film Festival Mrs Marion DORING Deputy Director, European Film Academy Mrs Kirsten Lykke DALGAARD Exhibitor and distributor ...
London Central (European Parliament Constituency)
... used first-past-the-post for the European elections in England, Scotland and Wales ... The European Parliament constituencies used under that system were smaller than the later regional constituencies and only had one Member of the European Parliament each ... it was created in England in 1979, it consisted of the Westminster Parliament constituencies of Chelsea, City of London and Westminster South, Fulham, Hammersmith North, Hampstead, Holborn and St ...
Lancashire South (European Parliament Constituency)
... representation in 1999, the United Kingdom used first-past-the-post for the European elections in England, Scotland and Wales ... The European Parliament constituencies used under that system were smaller than the later regional constituencies and only had one Member of the European ... When it was created in England in 1994, it consisted of the Westminster Parliament constituencies of Blackburn, Bury North, Chorley, Hyndburn, Rossendale and Darwen, South Ribble, West ...
European Parliament - Seat
... Further information Location of European Union institutions, Espace Léopold, and Seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg The Parliament is based in three different cities with numerous buildings ... sessions be held in Strasbourg (none in August but two in September), which is the Parliament's official seat, while extra part sessions as well as committee meetings are held in Brussels ... Luxembourg hosts the Secretariat of the European Parliament ...

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