• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How important is the European Parliament?

Extracts from this document...


How important is the European Parliament? The European Parliament is the only directly elected part of the European Union's central infrastructure. The EP is supranational and with the Council of the European Union makes up the EU's legislature. There are 732 Members of the European Parliament, making it the second largest in the world after India. The three pillars of the EU give different powers to three bodies. The first pillar concerns the European Parliament. This pillar gives EP power over some policy areas not reserved for member states. This means the EP has power over the Single Market, the CAP, the Common Fisheries Policy, EU citizenship, the environment and asylum and immigration, among other powers. However, power over foreign and security policy is under the second pillar, and criminal policy is under the third pillar; as such, the EP lacks the power of a traditional Parliament who has power over all policies. The EP has become more important in recent years due to its increased legislative powers. Since 1997, they can reject legislation, and they have co-decision with the Council of Ministers. The new passage of laws requires that the EP can make suggestions through its two readings and the Council can accept or reject these, making their own recommendations as well. Should the Parliament and the Council of Ministers disagree over law past the EP's or the Council's second reading, a conciliation committee must be called, and here the EP's amendments usually find an easier way into the legislation than through earlier stages. ...read more.


When the MEP gets to Parliament, they sit with an EU wide group, such as the European People's Party (where the UK Conservatives MEPs sit) or the "non-descrits" (MEPs who do not join an EU wide party, but sit together in a group). These are loosely connected parties based on vague ideological allegiance. The importance of an individual MEP could therefore be greatly important. As there is no government dominating individuals through a whip system as in Westminster, the individual MEP has far more power than he might do in individual state parliament. However, this also allows extremist voices to be heard as clearly in the debate chamber, even if they will not find as much support from fellow MEPs or the public. A sometimes forgotten role of the MEP is his committee work. When an MEP becomes an MEP, he must join at least one committee, which works all year round on specific topics. The MEP can join more than one committee on any topics he likes. Here, an MEP's voice can be heard in a chamber where everyone is absolutely interested in the topic, whereas in the central Parliament building those listening may not have a vested interest. This is an arena where everybody is interested and has, most probably, some form of personal or professional experience in the field and therefore a good knowledge of the topic. As in Westminster, committees are vital. In the Westminster Parliament, adversarial politics and active debate is practised. ...read more.


However, later in 1990, the Commission proposed a piece of legislation over public health under the Eurotom Treaty, but the European Parliament maintained the legislation fell under EEC Treaty. The EP attempted to bring the case to the ECJ and this time the ECJ ruled that it was nonsensical to have a body of the European Union treated unequally in the eyes of the law. According to the ECJ, Article 175 (now 232) allows the EP to bring cases. The European Parliament has become more and less significant in the past and to gauge this would be easier than to answer how important is the European Parliament. Based on the considerations I have put forward, I would venture that in some areas, such as public opinion and relation to other EU institutions, the EP is somewhat less significant than it ought to be. On the other hand, even though the way the EP interacts with other institutions is flawed, whether other institutions want to safeguard their own powers against the EP or simply that the EU has improvements left to make that will be addressed in future treaties, it still gets legislation through that affects our lives, for the most part, for the better. The EP is the one democratically elected body representing all EU citizens - the EP counters the Council's democratic deficit through co-decision, although this could improve. This shows that the European Parliament is important where it counts most: in representing the citizens of the EU, the lives of whom the EP seeks to protect and better. ?? ?? ?? ?? Naomi Bloomer, U6H Page 1 of 4 20th October, 2008 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level European Union section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level European Union essays

  1. A clear explanation of key underpinning economic theories relevant to the EU.

    Spoken in UK, Ireland the Eu members. Gaelic also comes under this category and the languages that are in this category are Irish, Scottish and Manx. Spoken in Ireland Romance, there are several languages in this category and these include, Ibero-Romance this group includes, *Portuguese, spoken in Portugal and Spain

  2. To What Extent Does the EU Display a 'Democratic Deficit'?

    The Commission is appointed every 5 years, just after the election of the new European Parliament. The new EP has to approve the new Commission President and the entire Commission (although it cannot accept or dismiss individual Commissioners). Furthermore, the EP can dismiss the entire EP at any time if it has reason to.

  1. Chraibi, Driss. Heirs to the Past

    As each of his siblings exited the room, Driss wondered what his father would have to say to him. As his father began speaking, Driss watched the reactions of his family members, but when he heard the tape, he recognized the Seigneur's voice.

  2. An Analysis of the Powers of the European Parliament.

    if they come from two Member States, 18 if they come from three Member States, and 14 if they come from four or more Member States. There are a number of reason why groups have been formed and developed although the principle basis is ideological, funds are distributed for administrative

  1. Is it possible to talk of civil society beyond the nation-state? Although a clich, ...

    This inevitable force has given people the opportunity to become more aware of firstly, the globe, secondly, global issues and thirdly their place in the world. Essentially, civil society is concerned with 'awareness' of the self and of those around the self.

  2. What does citizenship mean in the European context?

    a State which constitutionally cannot even pretend to have control over the two of its classical functions: Provision of material and existential security. Constructing, then a new concept of Citizenship around the Fragmented sovereignty of the State and the Fractured Self of the individuals who comprise those "States" - Citizenship

  1. The Institution of the European Union and Theories.

    Firm must make sure it does not cause a dispute with its strategy or major loses could be suffered. International organisation, this is very important because of its commercial infrastructure, which can change from the way business is conducted to the state of the road and general transport systems.

  2. Free essay

    Finnish Party System

    However, starting in the 1970's the Coalition has reformed its program somewhat to become more liberal. "Traditional values" are not emphasized as much, and the party has become more open towards welfare policies which involve transfer payments. However, the Coalition regards private ownership and a free market economy as the foundations of economic development.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work