The European Parliament

Author:Ioana Nely Militaru
Profession:PhD is Associate Professor at the Law Department of the Bucharest University of Economic Studies
Pages:21-50
 
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Chapter 2. The European Parliament
2.1. Regulation of the institution of the European Parliament
The legal basis of the European Parliament is included in the provisions:
- art. 14 and art. 16 TEU;
- art. 223-234 TFEU.
"The European Parliament is the assembly chosen in accordance with
the Treaties [TEU and TFEU], with the Act of 20 September 1976 on the election
of the members of the EP by direct universal vote and with the national laws
adopted in application of the Treaties"
1
.
The European Parliament
2
(EP) is the institution of the European Union
composed of the representatives of the citizens of the Union (art. 14 paragraph 2
TEU). As a result, citizens are represented directly at Union level in the European
Parliament.
The institution of the European Parliament - hereinafter referred to as the
EP - exercises its powers which are conferred on it by treaties, and therefore has
the power to abstain.
From the date of entry into force - July 1, 1978
3
- of the "Act on the
election of the representatives of the Parliament by direct universal vote"
4
, of
September 20, 1976, "the representatives in the European Parliament of the peo-
ple gathered in the Community will be elected by direct universal vote" (art. 1)
1
See art. 1 of the EP Rules of Procedure.
2
The institution of the European P arliament was initially called the Parliamentary Assembly, by
the ECSC Treaty.
3
Until then, the members of the institution of the European Parliament were considered delegates,
to be appointed by the national parliaments, among their members, according to the procedure pro-
vided by each state in the number predetermined by the EC Treaty, according to art. 138 paragraph
(1) and (2) TEC. To be seen O. Manolache, op. cit., p. 98.
4
Document annexed to Decision no. 76/787 - J. Of. L 278/1 of October 8, 1976. The act in question
was amended by Council Decision no. 2002/772 of June 25 and September 23, 2002 - J. Of. L 283/1
of October 21, 2002. The act on the election o f the members of the European Parliament by direct
universal vote annexed to the Council Decision of September 20, 1976 (with the modification of
art. 14) is supplemented, as it denies, b y: 1. the resolutions regarding the electoral procedure of
Parliament, in particular its resolution of 15 July 1998; 2. Its resolution of 11 October 2007 on the
composition o f the European Parliament; 3. the conclusions of the Presidency of the European
Council of December 14, 2007; 4. Its resolution of May 6, 2010 on the draft protocol amending
Protocol no. 36 regarding the transitional provisions regarding the composition of the European
Parliament for the rest of the 2009-2014 legislature: the opinion of the European Parliament [art.
48 paragraph (3) EU Treaty]; 5. art. 39 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;
6 art. 9, art. 10, art. 14 paragraph (2) and art. 48 paragraph (2), (3) and (4) of the Treaty on European
Union (TEU) and art. 22, art. 223 and art. 225 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European
Union (TFEU); 7. Protocol (No. 7) on the privileges and immunities of the European Union; 8. art.
41, art. 48 paragraph (3) and art. 74a of its Rules of P rocedure; 9. report of the Committee on
Constitutional Affairs (A7-0000/2010).
22 Ioana Nely Militaru
The first elections were held on July 7-10, 1979.
The Treaty of Lisbon expressly adopted this provision, specifying that
"the members of the European Parliament shall be elected by direct, free and se-
cret universal vote, for a term of five years" (Article 14, paragraph 3 TEU).
The number of EP members has been modified successively
1
. Following
the elections for the EP, which took place in 2009, this institution had 736 mem-
bers
2
. The Treaty of Lisbon expressly provides that the number of Members of
Parliament may not exceed seven hundred and fifty, plus the President of the
Commission (Article 14, paragraph 2 TEU).
Since Croatia's accession to the European Union, in July 2013, and until
the 2014 elections
3
, the European Parliament has counted 766 deputies. However,
their number was reduced to 751 by the 2014 elections and will remain constant
in the future.
The representation of citizens is provided in a proportionate way, with a
minimum threshold of six members for each Member State. No Member State
shall be assigned less than six seats and no more than ninety-six seats (Article 14,
paragraph 2 TEU). The number of seats allocated to each Member State in the EP
has been fixed so as to ensure a satisfactory representation based on both demo-
graphic and political membership criteria
4
.
The European Parliament has three official offices: Luxembourg, Brus-
sels (Belgium) and Strasbourg (France).
Luxembourg is the headquarters of the administrative offices, respec-
tively the "General Secretariat". Meetings of the entire Parliament, called "ple-
nary sessions", are held in Strasbourg and Brussels. Commission meetings are
1
According to art. 182 paragraph (2) introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam, the number of mem-
bers in the European Parliament may n ot exceed 700, regardless of the future enlargements of the
European Union (following the distribution of seats to be reviewed). This paragraph (2) in art. 182,
by the Treaty of Nice, was replaced with the indication that "the number of members of the Euro-
pean Parliament cannot exceed 732".
2
See for details www.europarl.europa.eu; see J. Echkenazi, op. cit., 2008, p. 24.
3
The elections were held on May 22-25, 2014.
4
See C. Lefter, op. cit., p. 123. Under the Treaty of Nice, the allocation of seats in the EP, according
to the Protocol on the enlargement of th e European Union annexed to the EU Treaty and th e EC
Treaty, is as follows: Germany 99, France, Italy and the United Kingdom 72, Spain 50, Holland 25,
Belgium, Greece and Portugal 22, Sweden 18, Austria 17, Denmark and Finland 13, Ireland 12,
Luxernburg 6. In the said Protocol for the course of the 2004-2009 legislature, it was also provided
that, in the case of the entry into force of the Treaties, the number of members of the EP may
temporarily exceed 732 (after the decision taken by the EU Council according to which a condition
proportional to the number of representatives to be elected in the Member State file so that the total
number is as close as possible to 732). The declaration on the enlargement of the European Union,
included in the final act of the Conference, which adopted the Treaty of Nice, the position of the
Member States on the allocation of seats for the European Parliament was as follows: Germany 99,
United Kingdom, Italy and France 72, Spain and Poland 50, Romania 30, Netherlands 25, Greece,
Belgium, Portugal, Czech Republic and Hungary 20, Sweden 18, Bulgaria and Austria 17, Slovakia,
Denmark and Finland 13, Ireland and Lithuania 12, Latvia 8, Slovenia 7, Estonia, Cyprus and Lux-
embourg 6, Malta 5.

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