University 18 Yrs + | Britain & Europe
The European Parliament
Originally not elected, and, even when directly elected from 1979, it was pretty much a talking shop. It has gradually increased its powers so that it has to agree the Budget and elects the President of the Commission.
Although legislation initiates in the Commission there is now a joint procedure for the Council and the Parliament to approve legislation and Parliament can also amend most legislation. It is also able to set up committees to scrutinise the Commission.
It has been increasingly ready to use its powers, for example, forcing the Commissioners to resign in 1999 because of allegations of corruption and drastically amending the Balkstein Directive in 2006, which had sought to integrate the single market in services by allowing firms to use employment regulations in one country for their operations in another country.
The Parliament consists of groupings of MPs from parties of similar ideological character. It is finely balanced between left and right. As elections are determined mainly by national issues there is unlikely to be a big swing to one side or the other.
Party Groups in the European Parliament (748 members)
- European Peoples’ Party 216 – centre right
- European Conservatives and Reformists 74 – conservative and Eurosceptic, includes British Conservatives
- Europe of Freedom & Direct Democracy Group 42- strongly Eurosceptic, includes UKIP
- Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe 66- centrist, includes Liberal Democrats
- Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats 190 – centre left, includes Labour
- Europe of Nations and Freedom Group - 39
- Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left 52 - left and ex-Communist parties, includes Sinn Fein
- The Greens/European Free Alliance 51 - green and regional parties, includes SNP Plaid Cymru and British Greens
- Non Attached 18
25 Member's of the European Parliament (MEPs) from at least 7 states are needed to form a group.