Ten things you need to know about the European Parliament and the upcoming elections
- The European Parliament is the only directly-elected European Union institution. The first direct elections took place in 1979.
- The European Parliament currently acts as a co-legislator for nearly all EU law. Together with the Council of the European Union, the Parliament adopts or amends proposals from the European Commission. The European Parliament also supervises the work of the Commission and adopts the European Union’s budget.
- The European Parliament has its seat in Strasbourg, but works in three places: Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg.
- The European Parliament works in all the official languages of the European Union –24 languages in all, with three alphabets.
- MEPs are not organised by nationality, but by political affiliation. There are currently 7 political groups in the European Parliament.
- MEPs are elected for a five-year term. It is currently the seventh term.
- The EP currently has 766 MEPs (754 + 12 for Croatia which joined in 2013). After the 2014 elections, this will be reduced to 751 MEPs (Article 14(2) TEU).
- The upcoming elections will take place from 22 to 25 May 2014. The official election results can be published only after the poll closes in the Member States whose electors are the last to vote on Sunday 25 May 2014.
- The minimum age to be eligible to vote and to stand as a candidate in the European elections is established by national law. Find out more here
- Even though voting is compulsory in only in four Member States (Belgium, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Greece), the 2014 EP elections provide an opportunity for Europe’s citizens to express their opinions over the handling of the Eurozone crisis as well as take an active role in the selection of the next President of the European Commission.
European Parliament’s 2014 awareness and information campaign is split into four phases:
Phase one starts now, with the presentation of the baseline ACT.REACT.IMPACT. This aims at explaining the European Parliament’s new powers and their implications for people living in the EU.
See the related video
Phase two, from October to February 2014, will focus on five key topics – the economy, jobs, quality of life, money and the EU in the world – at a series of interactive events in European cities.
A video entitled Employment. Let’s work it out is now available online.
Phase three, the proper election campaign, starts in February and it will focus on the 22-25 May election dates.
After the elections, phase four will focus on the newly-elected European Parliament, its election of the next European Commission President and the inauguration of the new Commission.
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