The EU parliamentary elections, explained

Hemicycle

The Hemicycle of the European Parliament (Copyright: European Parliament)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Johnny Wood, Senior Writer, Formative Content


In the wake of the UK’s referendum decision to leave the union and the rise of anti-EU populism, the upcoming European Parliamentary elections come at a critical time for the European Union.

The parliament is the world’s only directly elected transnational assembly. In short, it represents the interests of EU citizens at the European level.

Every five years, each member state elects representatives who meet to debate and shape EU policy. As Europe prepares to vote once again, here’s everything you need to know about the elections.

Why are MEPs elected?

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) speak for EU citizens and protect the interests of the city or region that elected them.

They have the power to approve, amend or reject nearly all EU legislation. Most of their work is conducted in Brussels, but each month they meet in Strasbourg to take part in parliamentary sessions, where major topics affecting the EU are debated and votes are held.

Once elected, they can join specialised committees, which deal with areas like transport and tourism, or security and defence – there are 20 in all. These committees draw up proposals and write reports advising on new legislation.

Although they are elected by country, MEPs sit in political groups based on shared values, which gives individual members more influence. There are currently eight groups, but the two largest are the European People’s Party, with conservative and liberal-conservative member parties, and the Socialists & Democrats, a centre-left group.

How do the elections work?

The European elections are an opportunity for citizens to select the candidate they feel will best represent their interests in Europe. Everyone in the EU has the right to vote as long as they are registered to do so.

The ballots are held under national election regulations, supported by common rules set by the EU, which means how the vote is held may differ from country to country.

Citizens of each nation and people from other parts of the union who are resident in that country are eligible to stand for election. They often represent one of their country’s main political parties but independent candidates can also stand.

How many MEPs can each country have?

There are currently 751 MEPs. This number includes the seats allocated to the United Kingdom, which remains a member of the EU until its decision to leave – known as Brexit – is enacted. Some of its seats will then be redistributed to other countries, while the total number will be slightly reduced.

Seats in the European Parliament are allocated based on population size, according to what’s known as the “degressive proportionality” principle.

Member states like Germany, France, UK and Italy have comparatively more seats than less populated nations.

What’s does the European Parliament do?

Once elected, representatives play a crucial role in allocating the EU budget and shaping policy. The parliament shares power over these functions with the Council of the European Union.

The parliamentary assembly determines which laws will affect the daily lives of the EU’s 500 million citizens, addressing areas like freedom of movement, food safety, intellectual property issues, environmental protections and economic policy, among many others. It also deals with global challenges in areas like security, migration and climate change.

The EU’s charter emphasises the importance of protecting liberty, human rights and democracy, and its parliament plays a central role in upholding these principles.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How much time has the ‘European Union of last chance’ left?

EU prepares for the worst case scenario as Turkey seems to be withdrawing from the migration deal

UN human rights ruling could boost climate change asylum claims

Costa Rica has doubled its tropical rainforests in just a few decades. Here’s how

Here’s how we need to change global supply chains after COVID-19

High anxiety calls for innovation in digital mental health

5 ways to integrate Syrian refugees into the workforce

How telehealth can get healthcare to more people

The future of international election observation missions

Why cybersecurity matters more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic

DR Congo elections: ‘Excessive use of force’ in campaign must be avoided, says Bachelet

How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

The EU Commission does nothing about the food retailing oligopoly

Why a coronavirus vaccine takes over a year to produce – and why that is incredibly fast

Humanitarian aid convoy to Syria’s Rukban camp: Mission Accomplished

The Oslo model: how to prepare your city for the electric-vehicle surge

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Have central banks missed the exit train?

This is how the world can get routine vaccinations back on track

China is now heavily endorsing its big investment flow in the Central Eastern European (CEE) countries

Pollution could be harming every part of your body. Here’s how

You’ve heard of 5G, but what about the quantum internet?

How do we build a #sustainableworld?

The Japanese idea of ‘chowa’ – and how Asia can thrive in the future

Good Governance in developing modern quality infrastructure systems

COVID-19 and nature are linked. So should be the recovery.

How people without running water can wash their hands

Sexual exploitation and abuse: latest UN quarterly update

Mexico: UN chief saddened by pipeline blast in which dozens were killed

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

JADE Spring Meeting 2017– day 1: Excellence awards, panel discussion, keynote speeches

Why developing new antibiotics is a matter of life and death

Would you want to live to 150? Top quotes on what it means to grow old

Germany is the world’s most innovative economy

Chinese “BeiDou” GPS goes to market

DR Congo: Ebola outbreak spreads to eastern ‘no-go’ zone surrounded by rebels

Electronic cigarettes, a better alternative or a well-advertised product

MFF: Commission’s plan “impossible to implement” with Finnish proposal

New General Assembly President brings ‘valuable insights’ into key UN challenges

5 technologies that will forever change global trade

3 leadership lessons from the age of coronavirus

The Changing Scope of International Economic Relations – Chinese Leadership in the 21st Century

ILO discusses world of work response to global refugee crisis

Main results of European Council of 18/10/2018

More Germans are swapping planes for trains because of climate worries

Japan must urgently address long-standing concerns over foreign bribery enforcement

What does strategy have to do with a platform approach?

Czech PM should resolve his conflict of interest as a matter of urgency say MEPs

Eurozone: Retail sales betray economic frailty

IMF: Sorry Greece, Ireland, Portugal we were wrong!

The European Parliament x-rays the troika’s doings

A Young entrepreneur cries out: “start in Europe, stay in Europe”

Is Universal Health Coverage really available for all in the European Union?

Reality Shock

The JADE Spring Meeting is about to begin

From his room with a view, UN chief takes to Instagram with an eye on hope and a brighter future

G20 LIVE: Fact Sheet from the G20 Leaders Summit and key outcomes (G20 Antalya 2015 Summary)

An all-out fight for the EU budget

Myanmar: Conflict resolution at ‘total standstill’, military commanders must answer for crimes against humanity

LUX prize will be awarded jointly by the European Parliament and the European Film Academy

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s