The European Parliament On the 7 th and 10 th of June 1979 the first direct elections to the European Parliament were introduced with each member state member state using its own national electoral system. These elections are held every five years, with the most recent one having being held in 1999. The European parliament has 626 members. The proportion of members a country has is dependent on the population size of a member state. Shown below is the number of members each country can have on the European Parliament, starting with the highest Germany (99 members), going down to the lowest Luxembourg (6 members).

Germany-99 Belgium-25 France-87 Portugal-25 Italy-87 Greece-25 United Kingdom-87 Denmark-16 Spain-64 Finland-16 Netherlands-31 Ireland-15 Sweden-22 Luxembourg-6 Austria-21 Seat and Composition The European Parliament works in France, Belgium and Luxembourg. Plenary sessions, which all MEPs attend, are held in Strasbourg, the Parliaments seat. Parliament is presided over by a president, whom 14 Vice-presidents assist him. Current President of the European Parliament is Pat Cox, whom is from Ireland.

Elected members organise themselves into groups based on Social, Political and economic philosophies, regardless of their nationality. The largest of these groups are the Party of European Socialists, the Europeans Peoples Party and the Liberal Democratic and Reformist party. Role The European parliament has three main roles: Democratic supervision Parliament exercises democratic supervision over the Commission, with the appointment of members and of the president subject to its approval. The Commission is thus answerable to the Parliament, which can pass a "motion of censure" calling for its resignation. More generally, Parliament exercises control by regularly examining reports submitted to it by the Commission (general reports, reports on the implementation of the budget, the application of community law, etc.

). Moreover MEP's regularly ask the Commission written and oral questions. The members of the commission attend plenary sessions of Parliament and meetings of the parliamentary committees, thus maintaining a continual dialogue between the two institutions. Parliament also monitors the work of the Council. Close collaboration has developed between Parliament and the Council in certain in certain areas such as common foreign and security policy and judicial cooperation, as well as some issues of common interest, such as asylum and immigration policy, and combating drug abuse, fraud and international crime, subjects which the parliament is kept informed by the Presidency of the Council. Finally, at the opening of each European Council meeting, the president of Parliament is invited to express Parliaments views and concerns with regard to topical issues and items on the European Council's agenda.

The power to legislate Together with the Council, Parliament formulates and adopts legislation proposed by the Commission. The most common legislative procedure is co decision. This places the European Parliament and the Council on an equal footing and leads to the adoption of joint Council and Parliament acts. If the two institutions disagree, a conciliation committee in convened to find a compromise. Furthermore, Parliament's approval is required for certain important questions of a political or institutional nature, such as the accession of new Member States, association agreements with third countries, the conclusion of international agreements, the electoral procedure for the European Parliament, the right of residence of EU citizens and the tasks and powers of the European Central Bank. It plays a decisive role in the adoption of the budget.

Parliament and the Council are key players in the adoption of the annual community budget. Each year, the Commission prepares a preliminary draft budget subject to the Councils approval. Two successive readings give Parliament the opportunity to negotiate with the Council to amend certain items of expenditure and ensure that budget resources are allocated appropriately. The budget is resubmitted to Parliament for final adoption and does not come into force until it has being signed by the President of Parliament. Parliament's committee on Budgetary Control monitors the implementation of the budget, and each year Parliament grants a discharge to the Commission with regard to the implementation of the budget for the previous financial year. The European Parliament On the 7 th and 10 th of June 1979 the first direct elections to the European Parliament were introduced with each member state member state using its own national electoral system.

These elections are held every five years, with the most recent one having being held in 1999. The European parliament has 626 members. The proportion of members a country has is dependent on the population size of a member state. Shown below is the number of members each country can have on the European Parliament, starting with the highest Germany (99 members), going down to the lowest Luxembourg (6 members). Germany-99 Belgium-25 France-87 Portugal-25 Italy-87 Greece-25 United Kingdom-87 Denmark-16 Spain-64 Finland-16 Netherlands-31 Ireland-15 Sweden-22 Luxembourg-6 Austria-21 Seat and Composition The European Parliament works in France, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Plenary sessions, which all MEPs attend, are held in Strasbourg, the Parliaments seat. Parliament is presided over by a president, whom 14 Vice-presidents assist him. Current President of the European Parliament is Pat Cox, whom is from Ireland. Elected members organise themselves into groups based on Social, Political and economic philosophies, regardless of their nationality. The largest of these groups are the Party of European Socialists, the Europeans Peoples Party and the Liberal Democratic and Reformist party. Role The European parliament has three main roles: Democratic supervision Parliament exercises democratic supervision over the Commission, with the appointment of members and of the president subject to its approval.

The Commission is thus answerable to the Parliament, which can pass a "motion of censure" calling for its resignation. More generally, Parliament exercises control by regularly examining reports submitted to it by the Commission (general reports, reports on the implementation of the budget, the application of community law, etc. ). Moreover MEP's regularly ask the Commission written and oral questions. The members of the commission attend plenary sessions of Parliament and meetings of the parliamentary committees, thus maintaining a continual dialogue between the two institutions. Parliament also monitors the work of the Council.

Close collaboration has developed between Parliament and the Council in certain in certain areas such as common foreign and security policy and judicial cooperation, as well as some issues of common interest, such as asylum and immigration policy, and combating drug abuse, fraud and international crime, subjects which the parliament is kept informed by the Presidency of the Council. Finally, at the opening of each European Council meeting, the president of Parliament is invited to express Parliaments views and concerns with regard to topical issues and items on the European Council's agenda. The power to legislate Together with the Council, Parliament formulates and adopts legislation proposed by the Commission. The most common legislative procedure is co decision. This places the European Parliament and the Council on an equal footing and leads to the adoption of joint Council and Parliament acts. If the two institutions disagree, a conciliation committee in convened to find a compromise.

Furthermore, Parliament's approval is required for certain important questions of a political or institutional nature, such as the accession of new Member States, association agreements with third countries, the conclusion of international agreements, the electoral procedure for the European Parliament, the right of residence of EU citizens and the tasks and powers of the European Central Bank. It plays a decisive role in the adoption of the budget. Parliament and the Council are key players in the adoption of the annual community budget. Each year, the Commission prepares a preliminary draft budget subject to the Councils approval. Two successive readings give Parliament the opportunity to negotiate with the Council to amend certain items of expenditure and ensure that budget resources are allocated appropriately. The budget is resubmitted to Parliament for final adoption and does not come into force until it has being signed by the President of Parliament.

Parliament's committee on Budgetary Control monitors the implementation of the budget, and each year Parliament grants a discharge to the Commission with regard to the implementation of the budget for the previous financial year.