The European Parliament represents the peoples of European nations, brought together in the European Union by the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Since May 2004 (when 10 new members states joined) 500 million people from 25 Member States take part, via their MEPs, in the development of the European Union.
Elections to the European Parliament first took place in 1979, and it remians the only body directly elected by the citizens of Europe. A mere 34 years after World War II, the peoples of nations previously wracked by conflict went to the polls to elect a common Parliament, creating thereby a potent symbol of reconciliation.
In tandem with the renewal of its democratic mandate every 5 years, the powers of the European Parliament have continued to grow under successive treaties. So has its political role. Through the Treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice it has developed into a true legislature on a par with national parliaments.
Today the European Parliament, as an equal partner with the Council of Ministers, passes the majority of European laws- laws that affect the lives of Europe’s citizens.
You can find out more about the European Parliament at www.europarl.eu.int