The European Parliament is the common parliamentary body of the EU (See Countryaah.com), which was initially referred to as the (European) Assembly in the individual treaties (formerly Article 4 of the EEC Treaty, Article 3 of the EURATOM Treaty, formerly Article 7 of the ECSC Treaty) and gave itself its present name by resolution of March 30, 1962. This was included in the treaties through the Single European Act (EEA). The forerunner of the European Parliament was the Common Assembly of the ECSC, which merged with the assemblies of EEC and EURATOM with effect from January 1, 1958.
|Members of the European Commission under Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (2019–24)|
|Surname||Department||Country of origin||Appointment 1)|
|Borrell Fontelles, Josep||A stronger Europe in the world (High Representative)||Spain||2019|
|Breton, Thierry||domestic market||France||2019|
|Dalli, Helena||equal opportunity||Malta||2019|
|Dombrovskis, Valdis||An Economy Serving People (Executive Vice President)||Latvia||2019|
|Ferreira, Elisa||Cohesion and reforms||Portugal||2019|
|Gabriel, Marija||Innovation, research, culture, education and youth||Bulgaria||2019|
|Hahn, Johannes||Budget and administration||Austria||2019|
|Jourová, Věra||Values and Transparency (Vice President)||Czech Republic||2019|
|Kyriakides, Stella||Health and food safety||Cyprus||2019|
|Lenarčič, Janez||Crisis management||Slovenia||2019|
|Reynders, Didier||Justice, Consumers and Equality||Belgium||2019|
|Schinas, margaritis||Promoting our European way of life (Vice President)||Greece||2019|
|Schmit, Nicolas||Employment and social rights||Luxembourg||2019|
|Šefčovič, Maroš||Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight (Vice President)||Slavak Republic||2019|
|Sinkevičius, Virginijus||Environment, seas and fisheries||Lithuania||2019|
|Šuica, Dubravka||Democracy and Demography (Vice President)||Croatia||2019|
|Timmermans, Frans||A European Green Deal (Executive Vice President)||Netherlands||2019|
|Urpilainen, Jutta||International partnerships||Finland||2019|
|Van der Leyen, Ursula||President||Germany||2019|
|Várhelyi, Olivér||Neighborhood and extension||Hungary||2019|
|Vestager, Margrethe||A Europe for the Digital Age (Executive Vice-President)||Denmark||2019|
|1) Year of taking office as commissioner, regardless of the area of responsibility|
The European Parliament is established on the basis of national electoral regulations (in Germany: European Election Act of June 16, 1978 in the version of March 8, 1994 [amended several times], European Election Regulation of July 27, 1988 in the version of May 2, 1994 [changed several times]) directly elected for five years. According to Article 14, 2 TEU, the number of members is limited to 751 including the President. The number of MPs per member state is based on the principle of “degressive proportionality”: larger states have more MPs than smaller states, but at the same time smaller states have more MPs per resident than larger states. This means that one of the most important principles of democratic suffrage is missing, namely that each vote has the same weight, because in addition to the representation of the peoples of Europe, the international law principle of equality of states is taken into account. This “democratic deficit” is largely compensated for by a double leg of legitimation. On the one hand, the European Parliament is directly elected by the people. On the other hand, the Council of the EU can indirectly rely on legitimation by the people, since the members of the government of the member states represented in it are determined by the national parliaments.
For the first time, the amended TEU does not provide for a specific allocation of seats to the member states – this is reserved for the European Council and requires the approval of Parliament – but merely provides a framework: according to this, a member state receives at least 6 and a maximum of 96 representatives in the Houses of Parliament. The following distribution was established for the 2014–19 electoral period: Germany 96, France 74, Italy and Great Britain 73 each, Spain 54, Poland 51, Romania 32, Netherlands 26, Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Portugal 21 each, Sweden 20, Austria 18, Bulgaria 17, Denmark, Finland and Slovakia 13 each, Ireland, Croatia and Lithuania 11 each, Latvia and Slovenia 8 each and Estonia, Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus 6 each.
In the European Parliament, MEPs combine to form political groups depending on their political tendencies and regardless of their nationality. Since 2004, membership in the European Parliament has been incompatible with the status of a national MEP. At the head of the parliament are the president (term of office two and a half years) and 14 vice-presidents. There are 20 committees whose work is prepared by the General Secretariat; the work processes are determined by the rules of procedure. The committees include a committee on petitions to which any EU citizen and any natural or legal person residing or having their seat in a Member State can appeal. The European Parliament appoints an Ombudsman to whom the named persons can lodge complaints against the activities of the Union’s organs and institutions. Furthermore, Parliament cannot set up standing committees of inquiry to review the application of Community law or violations of it.
The European Parliament’s venues are Strasbourg and Brussels for the plenary, and Brussels for the committees and political groups; the General Secretariat is based in Luxembourg.
Before the Maastricht Treaty came into force, Parliament’s tasks and powers were essentially limited to control functions vis-à-vis the Commission, but not vis-à-vis the Council. Parliament’s legislative powers were expanded by the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties, but were still considered to be minor in some areas, as Parliament’s rights were essentially limited to a right of consultation in the procedure in which the Council had decisive powers. The codecision procedure, after which Parliament could finally reject measures for the first time, was introduced in the Maastricht Treaty and expanded in the Amsterdam Treaty. With the exception of economic and monetary policy, it applied to almost all areas that came under the competence of the EC. With the Treaty of Lisbon, Parliament’s rights have been significantly expanded. On the one hand, this concerns the legislative powers. The “ordinary legislative procedure” (Article 289 TFEU) now applies to most policy areas, in which Parliament and Council must jointly adopt a legal act (regulation, directive or decision) proposed by the Commission, and therefore have equal rights. As part of this procedure, changes to the legislative act can be introduced in two readings. In addition, however, there are special legislative procedures over which Parliament has little or no influence. These include B. international agreements under the CFSP and CSDP.
On the other hand, the EU’s budgetary system is affected by the extension of Parliament’s rights, since the Council and the European Parliament jointly form the budgetary authority (budgetary procedure under Article 314 TFEU).
Furthermore, Parliament has been given extensive rights of participation in the amendment of treaties (competing right of initiative), new control rights in the CFSP and with regard to the Commission (above all the election of the President of the Commission on the proposal of the Commission).