- European Parliament in Brussels (Photo: European Parliament)
The European Parliament is the assembly of the representatives of the close to 500 million Union citizens and 387 million potential voters in 2009.
Under the Nice Treaty MEPs were "representatives of the peoples of the States brought together in the Community" (Art.189 TEC). Under the Lisbon Treaty MEPs are now "representatives of the Union's citizens" (Art.14.2 TEU).
The European Parliament has a total of 736 members distributed between member states according to the size of their populations based on the principle of "degressive proportionality".
The number was increased to 754 from 2012 when a Protocol was approved and ratified by all 27 member states. From 2014 it will be 751 - unless new enlargements may have altered the numbers.
- The European Parliament considers the EU Commission's proposals and is associated with the Council in the law-making process, in most cases in co-decision.
- Under this procedure it can propose to amend laws by simple majority in first reading and an absolute majority of its members in the second reading and veto decisions also with absolute majority of its members.
- Absolute majority of members was 393/785, 369/736 from June 2009 to 2012 and is now 378/754 until 2014 where it may fall to 376/751
- The European Parliament shares budgetary authority with the Council, and can therefore influence EU spending. The parliament must approve every budget; at the end of the procedure it does so by “adopting” the budget. Until the Lisbon Treaty it only had the last say on non-compulsory expenditures.
- It exercises democratic supervision over the EU Commission. It approves the nomination of Commissioners, has the right to censure the EU Commission with 2/3 majority and grants discharge.
- It also exercises political supervision over all the institutions.
- A Reform Working Group was established after the election campaign for the presidency of the European Palriament in 2007. It met 37 times, including 3 seminars. The final report was published in April 2009.
- In January 2012 Martin Schulz succeeded Jerry Buzek as Presiden in an electoral agreement between the two biggest political groups.
The European Parliament now also have greater influence in a greater number of areas as the co-decision procedure is applied in more areas - now called the "ordinary legislative procedure".
With the Lisbon Treaty the seats in the European Parliament are distributed according to the formalised principle of "degressive proportionality" securing each member state at least 6 seats and a maximum of 96 in a Parliament of 751 members - from 2014, where the numbers may have changed again because of new enlargements.
Here is the table for the different member states.
Members of the European Parliament
|Country||Current Allocation||Election Period 2009-2014*||Lisbon Treaty|
|* In December 2008, Government leaders of the EU countries decided in a declaration on how to shift to new numbers of MEP’s. There will be a pause after the Lisbon Treaty enters into force. The number of MEP’s in the 2009-2014 election period will increase to 754, equal to that of the Lisbon Treaty + 3 Members from Germany (99 total).|
European Parliament website http://www.europarl.europa.eu/