Parliament Building in Strasbourg.
Photos: European Parliament.
The European Parliaments passes EU laws together with the Council of Ministers. The Parliament represents all the citizens of the European Union. The citizens of each member state elect their own representatives to the European Parliament by direct popular vote. The parliamentary seats are divided between the individual member states according to the size of population. This means that large countries have more Members of Parliament (MEPs) than small ones.
The Members of Parliament are elected for a 5-year term at a time. During the electoral period 2009–2014 the Parliament has 754 members. Every country has at least 6 members. Germany has 99 members, more than any other nation. Finland has 13 representatives in the European Parliament.
In a sense, the European Parliament is the representative body of all Europe. In everyday speech in Finland, the members are called ’meppi’, a name that comes from the English word MEP (short for Member of the European Parliament).
The MEPs form political groups based on political ideas, not nationality.
The European Parliament meets in two locations: Brussels in Belgium and Strasbourg in France. Plenary sessions are held in Strasbourg every month. Extraordinary sessions are held in Brussels.
The President of the European Parliament during 2009–2014 is Martin Schulz (Germany).
European Parliament Assembly Room in Brussels. The European Parliament meets in two locations:
Brussels in Belgium and Strasbourg in France.
Photo: European Parliament