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European Parliament - Hemicycle

Point Of Interest

2 Hours

Estimated Time

The European Parliament (EP) is the legislative branch of the European Union and one of its seven institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legislation, normally on a proposal from the European Commission. The Parliament is composed of 705 members (MEPs). The Parliament represents the second-largest democratic electorate in the world (after the Parliament of India) and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world (375 million eligible voters in 2009).Since 1979, it has been directly elected every five years by European Union citizens, using universal suffrage. Voter turnout for parliamentary elections has decreased at each election after 1979 until 2019, when the voter turnout increased by 8 percentage points and went above 50% for the first time since 1994. Voting age is 18 in all member states except Malta and Austria, where it is 16, and Greece, where it is 17.Although the European Parliament has legislative power, as does the Council, it does not formally possess legislative initiative (which is the prerogative of the European Commission), as most national parliaments of European Union member states do. The Parliament is the "first institution" of the EU (mentioned first in the treaties, having ceremonial precedence over all authority at the European level), and shares equal legislative and budgetary powers with the Council (except in a few areas where the special legislative procedures apply). It likewise has equal control over the EU budget. Finally, the European Commission, the executive body of the EU (it exercises executive powers, but no legislative ones other than legislative initiative), is accountable to Parliament. In particular, Parliament can decide whether or not to approve the European Council's nominee for the President of the Commission, and it is further tasked with approving (or rejecting) the appointment of the Commission as a whole. It can subsequently force the Commission as a body to resign by adopting a motion of censure.The President of the European Parliament (Parliament's speaker) is David Sassoli (PD), elected in July 2019. He presides over a multi-party chamber, the five largest groups being the European People's Party group (EPP), the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), Renew Europe (previously ALDE), the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens–EFA) and Identity and Democracy (ID). The last union-wide elections were the 2019 elections. The European Parliament's headquarters are in Strasbourg (France). Luxembourg City (Luxembourg) is home to the administrative offices (the "General Secretariat"). Meetings of the whole Parliament ("plenary sessions") take place in Strasbourg and in Brussels (Belgium). Committee meetings are held in Brussels.



Opening hours

  • Monday 09:00 - 16:00
  • Tuesday 09:00 - 16:00
  • Wednesday 09:00 - 16:00
  • Thursday 09:00 - 16:00
  • Friday 09:00 - 11:00
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