European Parliament | EUNewsletter

EU institutions and bodies

While forming the European Union, its member-states partially gave away their national powers in order to establish a political community with a unified structure. There are currently seven official European institutions, which play different roles for the functioning and activities of the EU.

European Parliament

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The European Parliament is the only directly-elected body of the European Union. There are currently 736 Members of the European Parliament, elected once every five years by voters from the 27 Member States. Throughout the years, the European Parliament has been gaining more powers. With the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Parliament is firmly established as a co-legislator, has budgetary powers and exercises democratic control over all European institutions. The Parliament shares legislative and budgetary authorities with the Council of the European Union, which represents the Member States. This means that in most policy areas the Parliament and the Council decide together on legislative proposals by the Commission. The European Parliament also appoints the President of the European Commission, approves the composition of the Commission, and has the right to dissolve it. Its monthly sessions are held in Strasbourg, while the special sessions are in Brussels where the committees of the European Parliament operate. The Secretariat of the European Parliament is in Luxembourg. Official website: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/public/default_en.htm