What are European Elections?
A note on Brexit; Despite the UK voting to leave the European Union in 2016, a delay in Brexit negotiations mean that the UK is currently still a member of the EU and therefore may have to elect representatives to the European Parliament along with the 27 other member states.
What are European Parliament elections?
In European Parliament Elections you are electing representatives for your region (Member of European Parliament aka MEPs) to sit in the European Parliament, where they debate and make decisions on legislation that affects the UK and the other 27 member states of the EU.
Unfortunately, turnout is often low, in 2014 just 36% of those eligible to vote did so (compared to 43% in the EU as a whole).
What does the European Parliament do?
- Scrutinise legislation proposed by the European Commission.
- New international agreements must be ratified (agreed to) by the European Parliament.
- The EU’s annual budget is adopted jointly by Parliament and the Council of the European Union.
- MEPs nominate the president of the European Commission.
What is an MEP and what do they do?
The UK has 73 MEPs in total (you can find yours here). The country is divided into 12 electoral regions, each region has between 3 and 10 MEPs that represent the people living there.
MEPs can take part in a number of activities to help represent their constituents, including;
- Speak and vote in debates and discussions within the Parliamentary chambers in Brussels and Strasbourg.
- Join Committees to scrutinise legislation on specific issues.
- Conduct meetings with officials and businesses to discuss policy.
- Meeting with constituents to hear about their concerns.
This video, produced by the European Parliament, explains more: