The European Parliament
The the European Parliament is the parliamentary body of the European Union (EU) directly elected by the Citoyen S every five years since 1979. With the the Council of Ministers, it composes the legislative branch of the European institutions. The Parliament has its seat with Strasbourg in France; its commissions, as certain additional plenary sessions are held with Brussels; its general secretary is installed with Luxembourg. There are currently 785 deputies.
RoleThe Parliament takes part in the development of the directives and the regulations. It controls the activity of the European institutions. The the Council of Ministers Europeans, or the Council, gives to him an account of its activity at the conclusion of each presidency, every six months. It supervises the European commission, it elects the president of the Commission on proposal of the European Council. It approves the composition of the Commission. It can force it to resign by a Motion of censure. He votes the Budget of the EU.
Other European organizations, such as SOEC, the the Council of Europe and the Western European Union (UEO) have parliamentary assemblies but the European Parliament is the only one with being directly elected by the people and to have legislative authorities. The members of the assemblies of the SOEC, the Council of Europe and the UEO are named by the national parliaments.
The Treated of Nice, come into effect the 2003, modifies the organization and the composition of the Parliament within the framework of a union cash to 27 members (25 plus the Bulgaria and the Romania who adhered to the Union at January 1st, 2007).
The European Parliament includes/understands, since January 1st 2007, 785 members representing the 27 States of the European Union. The Traité establishing a Constitution for Europe provided that this number could not exceed 750 - what was confirmed in the text of the modifying Traité. If this last between in force in time for the next European elections (June 2009), there will be then 750 deputies, without counting the president (751 on the whole). The text of the Traité on the European Union, thus modified (Article 9 A), will lay out that: “ the European Parliament is composed representatives of the citizens of the Union. Their number does not exceed seven hundred and fifty, plus the president. The representation of the citizens is ensured in a way dégressivement proportional, with a minimum threshold of six deputies per Member State. No Member State is seen allotting more ninety-six seats. ”
The European Parliament represents more than 492 million citizens of the Union. Its members are called appointed European. The elections, with the Vote for all, proceed every five years. The distribution of the seats is not completely proportional to the population: small States (Luxembourg, Malta, Cyprus, etc) profit from a on-representation which enables them to have a number of deputies at least equal to 1/5 of the number of the Member States is a guarantee of five deputies at least. The way of voting is with the free appreciation of each Member State. However, it is subject to three rules:
- the system must, on the level of each Member State, being in the form of the representation proportional.
- the electoral zone of each Member State can be subdivided if it does not affect the nature proportional of system.
- the threshold, at the national level, in lower part of which the votes do not give deputies should not exceed 5%.
The number of seats allocated with each Member State is founded on the principle of proportional decreasing. Thus, while the size of the population of each country is taken into account, the smallest States have more deputies than should not allot their only population to them. As the number of deputies granted to each country results from the negotiations in the treaties, there is no precise formula on the distribution of the seats among the Member States. No change of this configuration can occur without unanimous assent of all the Gouvernement S.
The European elections of 2004 were the greatest simultaneous transnational elections ever held with the world, since almost 400 million citizens was invited to the vote.
Generally, the countries applying for accession at the EU send before to the Parliament observers of which the number and the methods of designation are laid down in the Treaties of Accession signed by these countries.
The observers can attend the debates and take share there on invitation, but they cannot vote nor to exert official functions. When the countries become members of the EU, their observers become appointed with whole share for one period of Intérim until the next European elections.
Thus, the maximum number of members of Parliament (750), can temporarily be exceeded. In 2004, the number of seats had been increased to 732/736 (Hungary and Czech Republic) to take account of the representatives of the ten new entering countries May.
In the same way, since the Fall 2005, the Bulgaria and the Romania respectively had 18 and 35 observers. They were selected by the national parliaments among the parties of the majority like opposition. January 1st 2007, they became member of the European Parliament, their number having to decrease when the distribution of the seats assigned with each country is revalued. By doing this, the European Parliament counts 785 the legislative nearest deputies European temporarily while waiting for European ones of 2009.
Capacities and functionsBy certain aspects, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers resemble the rooms high and low of a bicameral system . Neither the Parliament nor the Council can however be on the initiative of laws, this capacity being reserved at the Commission. The fact that the European Parliament cannot itself propose laws distinguishes it from the majority of the national legislative assemblies.
However, article 192 of the Traité of Amsterdam (article 332 in the TCE) also specifies that: The European Parliament can, in the majority of the members who compose it, to ask the Commission to submit any suitable proposal on the questions which appear to him to require the development of an act of the Union for the implementation of the Constitution. If the Commission does not submit a proposal, it communicates the reasons in the European Parliament of them.
The practical range of this faculty is reinforced by the agreement of October 9th, 2003 between the three institutions (Conseil of the European Union, European commission, the European Parliament) by which the Commission begins to give following the requests which were made to him: The Commission takes account of the requests for presentation of legislative proposals made by the European Parliament or the Council, formulated respectively on the basis of of article 192 or article 208 of treaty EC. It provides a prompt response and appropriate at the qualified parliamentary commissions and the preparatory bodies of Conseil.
The the European Parliament used this possibility of presenting bills by presenting a text on the Taxe Tobin. However, the commission rejected this first attempt.
Once a proposal of Payment or directive was presented, it must receive the approval of the Parliament and the Council in order to come into effect. The Parliament can modify or block the legislation in the political sectors which arose from the procedure of the Codécision, which currently relates to the three-quarters of the legislative acts of the EU. The remaining sectors arose from the Procédure of co-operation, of the of consultation (the Parliament delivers a simple opinion) or of the assent (the text is accepted or rejected but cannot be amended). The European Parliament controls the budget of the EU, whom it must approve before her coming into effect.
The President of the European commission is chosen by the European Council, but this choice must be approved by the Parliament before it takes his functions. The other Members of the Commission are then designated by the President. The Parliament accepts or rejects in block the composition of the Commission.
The European Parliament exerts a democratic function of monitoring of all the activities of the EU, particularly those of the Commission. If the Parliament would adopt a motion of censure, the whole Commission must resign (formally, the police chiefs cannot be censured individually). However, a motion of censure must be approved with a majority of two-third to be effective.
The Parliament also names the European Médiateur.
Rise to powerIn 1957, like had then required it France, the Parliament was only one assembly made up of deputies of the national parliaments without any capacity. There was thus no question of enabling him to deposit private bills, with the result that today still he does not have the capacity of legislative initiative, not reserved at the only Commission. The Germans, in particular Helmut Kohl, who live under a parliamentary Démocratie on the contrary unceasingly asked for an extension of the powers of the Parliament, and although being run up against the oppositions of the French, of the Général de Gaulle with François Mitterrand while passing by famous the Appel of Cochin (Wikisource) of Jacques Chirac, it ended gradually up acquiring more and more weight on the European political scene:
By controlling the Commission:
- the Commission Santer is pushed with the resignation in March 1999 continuation in particular with the calling into question for offense of favoritism of Edith Cresson by Belgian justice;
- the Commission Barroso is put at evil during its nomination in 2004, in particular the Parliament puts its veto at the nomination of the Italian Rocco Buttiglione at the post of police chief to justice and the interior matters. And the Parliament which can approve the commission only as a whole or not, this veto called into question all the police chiefs proposed by Barroso.
- By putting its veto at various texts supported by the Commission and the Member States:
- Patentability of the biotechnological inventions, the first draft Directive rejected (1995);
- Public offerings of purchase, directive suggested first once in January 1989 and only adopted in 2004 after a long legislative arm wrestling;
- Directive on the port services and by twice (in 2003 by 30 votes of variation, and in 2005 following the insistence of the Commission by 120 votes for, 25 abstentions and 532 to reject it)
- By récrivant in-depth a whole series of directives, in a direction very different from that preached by the Commission:
- the Software patents in Europe, under the crook of Michel Rocard (major rewriting of the text in first reading and massive veto with the project hardly amended given on the table by the the Council in second reading by 648 votes against 14).
- the ex-project of Bolkestein Directive, under the crook of eurodéputée the Evelyne Gebhardt (see Directive Services#Avis in first reading of the European Parliament)
- By creating boards of inquiry:
- In 1996-1997, an Ad hoc committee points the delays of European intervention at the time of the business of the Mad cow
- In 2006, the Parliament creates a board of inquiry on the activities of the CIA in Europe
- Actions symbolic systems
It is up to now the Traité of Amsterdam which increased the capacities of the European Parliament the most.
The Traité establishing a Constitution for Europe also fitted in this rise to power of the European Parliament by giving him more budgetary capacities (vote on the entire budget), by granting the right to take initiatives to him constitutional, and by generalizing the recourse to the Procédure of joint decision rather than the Procédure of the assent even of the Procédure of the simple opinion, this of par with the extension of the recourse in the majority qualified to the Conseil of the European Union (list of the fields concerned). However, the ratification of this treaty being suspended since the failure of the referendums of May and June 2005 in France and in the Netherlands, the powers of the Parliament remain subjected to the mode of the treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice.
See also: Growth of adhesion in the European Parliament
The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) established, in September 1952, a " Parliament commune" of 78 members resulting from the national parliaments of the six countries constituting ECSC. It was widened in March 1958 to also cover the Economic community European (the EEC) and Euratom, and called " Parliamentary Parliament européenne". It was famous " The European Parliament " in 1962. In 1979, the number of members of Parliament was increased once again and the members were elected directly by the people for the first time for one five years duration. Then the manpower of the European Parliament simply increased with each widening; the number of deputies was also re-examined with the rise in 1994 after the German Réunification and the Traité of Nice changed it to 750.
In France, the election of eurodéputés takes place to the list system to proportional, without mixing nor preferential vote. In 2004, a novel mode of poll was implemented: for the first time, the election proceeded within the framework of eight North-western regional districts, South-eastern, Is, Solid mass-Exchange-Center, South-west, Île-de-France, West, Outre-Mer. The participation in the European election in France was lower than 43%, in fall of 4 points compared to that of 1999.
SitSince the July 7th 1981, the European Parliament adopted several resolutions concerning its seat, asking for the governments Member States of respect the obligation that assign to them the treaties to fix a single seat for the institutions. In front of the deficiency of the Member States, the European Parliament took a certain number of decisions as for its organization and to its work places (Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg).
- the European Parliament has its seat in Strasbourg where the 12 annual periods are held of session, including the budgetary session;
- the additional periods of plenary session are held with Brussels;
- the parliamentary commissions sit at Brussels;
- the General secretary and its services remain installed with Luxembourg.
This decision caused criticisms on behalf of certain deputies. However the Court of justice (stop of October 1st 1997 - C 345/95) confirmed that it fixes well the seat of the Parliament in accordance with Article 289 EC. The contents of this decision were included in the Traité of Amsterdam in the form of a protocol annexed with the Community treaties, which the European Parliament regretted.
The calendar of the sessions is fixed each year by the Parliament on proposal of the Conférence of the presidents. In 2004, the European Parliament holds 11 part-sessions four days with Strasbourg and 5 two days with Brussels. The official calendar for 2005 envisages 12 part-sessions to Strasbourg and 6 part-sessions to Brussels.
In 2006, a petition eurocitoyenne is launched by eurodéputée the Cecilia Malmström in the spirit of article 47 of the Traité establishing a Constitution for Europe - but without legal value - so that work of the European Parliament is gathered in the Belgian capital and burst either between Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Brussels. The petition which quantifies to 200 million euros per annum the cost of the semi-monthly removals collects: 1000000 of signatures in 4 months. Rare are those, on the other hand, which defend the regrouping of work of the Parliament on the only site of Strasbourg.
OrganizationThe European Parliament has a certain number of committees and delegations:
The principal ones are:
President - functions
Vice-presidents - functions
Office - functions
Conference of the presidents - functions
Questeurs - functions
Conference of the presidents of the commissions - description
Conference of the presidents of the delegations - description
- Committee on Budgets (BUDG)
- Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT)
- Commission of the economic affairs and monetary (ECON.)
- Commission of employment and the social affairs (EMPL)
- Commission of the environment, the public health and food safety (ENVI)
- Commission of industry, research and energy (ITRE)
- Commission of the interior market and the consumer protection (IMCO)
- Committee on Transport and tourism (TRAN)
- Commission of regional development (GOVERNED)
- Committee on Agriculture and rural development (AGRI)
- Commission fishing (PECH)
- Commission of the culture and education (CULT)
- Commission of legal affairs (JURI)
- Commission of the civil liberties, justice and interior matters (LIBE)
- Commission of the constitutional deals (AFCO)
- Commission of the women's rights and equality of kinds (FEMM)
- Commission of petitions (PETI)
- Commission of foreign affairs (AFET)
- Sub-commission human rights (DROI)
- Sub-commission safety and defense (SEDE)
- Commission of development (DEVE)
- Commission of international business (INTA)
Ad hoc committees
- Ad hoc committee on climate change (CLIM)
Political parties and groups
CurrentThe political parties in the European Parliament are organized in a certain number of political regroupings and European political parties. However the majority of the deputies remain members of national political parties and the discipline in the European parties and groupings is not rigid. The national delegations and the deputies themselves are free to change group as good seems to them.
The political groups of the European Parliament are distinct from the European political parties, although they are closely dependant. Generally, the European parties also count among their members of the parties belonging to European countries external with the EU. At the beginning of the sixth legislature in 2004, there were seven groups, as well as a certain number of independents. The composition of the European Parliament is the following one:
Evolution since 1979
See also: President of the European Parliament
Josep Borrell Fontelles was the president of the European Parliament between July 2004 and January 2007. Hans-Gert Pöttering succeeded the January 16th to him 2007. It will occupy this function until the next European elections of 2009.
BodiesThe Bureau is the organization of standardization responsible for the budget of the Parliament and the administrative subjects. It includes/understands the president , fourteen vice-presidents , and five questeurs (six questeurs between January 2007 and July 2009) which is responsible for the administrative subjects connecting itself directly to the member of the European Parliament. All the members of the Office are elected for one 30 months period, the elections being held with the beginning and half of each five years legislature.
The Conférence of the presidents is composed of the president of the Parliament and the presidents of the political groups, and the body responsible for the political organization of the Parliament.
LobbyingContrary to the the United States or the Lobbying has an quasi-official recognition, it is always badly recognized in Europe (even scorned, especially by the French deputies) even if it is in constant progression these last years. Associations of lobbying for the majority are installed in Brussels and their representatives take an active part in the life of the Parliament (briefing, cocktail, conference…).
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