The European Parliament comprises 751 elected Members with serious legislative, budgetary and decision-making powers.

Parliament enjoys co-decision powers in major areas of EU law-making, including health, education, transport, agriculture, fisheries and the completion of the internal market. The Parliament plays an active role in monitoring activities within the European Commission and the European Council, and is closely involved in appointing the Commission as well as discharging the EU's annual budget.

The Lisbon Treaty has brought about further changes including a strengthened role for the European Parliament and national Parliaments, more opportunities for citizens to have their voices heard through the European Citizens' Initiative, and a clearer delineation of competencies at European and national level.

Election of the Parliament

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were first elected by direct universal suffrage in 1979; European elections have been held ever since at five year intervals - the last one being in May 2014. A common set of election rules apply throughout Europe. All MEPs are elected under a system of proportional representation; every citizen has a right to vote at 18; equality of men and women is guaranteed and the principle of the secret ballot is written into European election law. Additionally, every EU citizen who lives in another country of the EU may vote or stand for election in their country of residence. Parliament thus expresses the democratic will of the Union's 503 million citizens and represents their interests in the creation of European laws.

Learn more at the Parliament's website.

Newsletter

News & Events

  • Whiskey and spirits to get enhanced geographical protection labelling +

    Alcoholic spirit drinks are to benefit from enhanced protection under labelling and geographical indications to protect such drinks that originate Read More
  • Cork & Limerick students pitch EU plan to reduce "carbon cup print" +

    A group of secondary school students from Counties Cork and Limerick, who attend Charleville CBS, Co. Cork presented their plan Read More
  • Brazilian meat: EU Commissioner is "sincere but naive" +

    MEP for Ireland South and leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly, has labelled comments by EU Read More
  • MEP Kelly criticises ex-diplomat’s “unhelpful and misleading” suggestion that Ireland should leave the EU +

    Fine Gael leader in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly MEP, has criticised suggestions made by former Irish diplomat, Ray Bassett, Read More
  • MEP Kelly slams Commission proposal to phase out biofuels +

    The lead negotiator for the largest parliamentary group in the European Parliament on the Renewable Energy Directive, Seán Kelly MEP, Read More
  • FG MEPs congratulate Taoiseach Leo Varadkar +

    The four Fine Gael MEPs have congratulated Leo Varadkar on his election as An Taoiseach today (Wednesday). Seán Kelly, Mairead Read More
  • The end of extortionate roaming charges - Seán Kelly MEP +

    From today (Thursday), extortionate mobile roaming charges will be a thing of the past thanks to the European Union, according Read More
  • MEP Kelly criticises Parliament position on 2030 target – would lead to a poor use of Irish taxpayer's money +

    MEP for Ireland South and Energy Committee rapporteur for the European People’s Party (EPP) on the 2030 climate targets, Seán Read More
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Jargon Buster

  • Special EU Programmes Body +

    Special EU Programmes Body ... In 1994, following the announcement of the IRA Ceasefire, the then President of the Commission Jacques Delors, Read More
  • European Financial Stability Fund +

    European Financial Stability Fund ... On the night of the 9th of May 2010, the European Council - the summit of EU leaders, Read More
  • Erasmus Programme +

    Erasmus Programme ... Travel broadens the mind and education fills it, so what better way to expand your horizons than to travel Read More
  • Leonardo da Vinci +

    Leonardo da Vinci is arguably history's most famous artist and inventor, known equally for the Mona Lisa as for providing blueprints Read More
  • Rapporteur +

    Rapporteur is a word often heard around the European Parliament. Derived from the French, it simply means "author of a report". Read More
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