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Present the activity of an MEP (Member of the European Parliament), his/her work added

value to the well functioning of the EU, or criticism for not honouring its tasks in a proper

A Member of the European Parliament (MEP) is a person who has been elected to the
European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as
europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.
When the European Parliament was first established, MEPs were appointed by member
states from members of their own national parliament. Since 1979, however, MEPs have been
elected by direct universal suffrage (Sufragiu universal =drept de vot acordat tuturor
cetenilor majori ai unei ri.). Each member state establishes their own way of electing their
MEPs and in some states the electoral system has changed over time and across regions. All now
use one or another form of proportional representation.
Election of MEPs
From 1 January 2007, when Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU, there were 785 MEPs,
but their number fell back to 736 at the latest elections in 2009, though this will eventually rise to
751, with each member state having at least six and and most 96. Elections occur once every five
years, on the basis of universal adult suffrage. There is no uniform voting system for the election
of MEPs; rather, each member state is free to choose its own system, subject to three restrictions:
-The system must be a form of proportional representation (Proportional representation
(PR) is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the
number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of
votes received.), under either the party list or Single Transferable Vote system (The single
transferable vote (STV) is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation
through ranked voting in multi-seat constituencies).
-The electoral area may be subdivided if this will not generally affect the proportional
nature of the voting system
-Any election threshold (election threshold is a clause that stipulates that a party
must receive a minimum percentage of votes, either nationally or within a particular
district, to obtain any seats in the parliament) on the national level must exceed five percent.
The allocation of seats to each member state is based on the principle of degressive
proportionality (Degressive proportionality is a type of formula for electing the members of a
legislature or other decision-making body. If a body is elected by a number of regions, states or
other subdivisions, degressive proportionality means that while the subdivisions do not each
elect an equal number of members, smaller subdivision are 'overrepresented' in terms of their
population), so that, while the size of the population of each nation is taken into account, smaller
states elect more MEPs than would be strictly justified by their populations alone. As the number
of MEPs granted to each member state has arisen from treaty negotiations, there is no precise
formula for the apportionment of seats. No change in this configuration can occur without the
unanimous consent of all national governments.
MEPs within the Parliament
All but 27 MEPs are members of cross-nationality political groups, organized according
to political allegiance (apartenenta). For instance, the Irish Labor and French Socialist MEPs are
members of the Socialists & Democrats while the Swedish Moderate and German CDU MEPs
are members of the European People's Party.
MEPs in Parliament are organized into seven different parliamentary groups, including
about thirty non-attached members known as non-inscrits (Members of the European Parliament
(MEP) who do not sit in one of the recognized political groups). The two largest groups are the
European People's Party (EPP) and the Socialists & Democrats (S&D). These two groups have
dominated the Parliament for much of its life, continuously holding between 50 and 70 percent
of the seats together. No single group has ever held a majority in Parliament. As a result of being
broad alliances of national parties, European groups parties are very decentralised and hence
have more in common with parties in federal states like Germany or the United States than
unitary states like the majority of the EU states.
Aside from working through their Groups, individual members are also guaranteed a
number of individual powers and rights within the Parliament:
-the right to table a motion for resolution
-the right to put questions to the Council of the European Union, the Commission, and the
leaders of the Parliament
-the right to table an amendment to any text in comitee
-the right to make explanations of vote
-the right to raise points of order
-the right to move inadmissibility of a matter
The job of an MEP
Every month except August the Parliament meets in Strasbourg for a four-day plenary
session, six times a year it meets for two days each in Brussels, where the Parliament's
committees, political groups and other organs also mainly meet. The obligation to spend one
week a month in Strasbourg was imposed on Parliament by the Member State governments at the
Edinburgh summit in 1992.
A - Attendance: MEPs are not forced to attend debates or meetings. However, certain
allowances are withheld if they do not attend at least half of all plenary sessions.

B - Brussels: This is where two-day sittings of the House take place as well as many
committee and political group meetings.

C - Compatibility: If you are an MEP you can't also be an MP, a European Commissioner
or a European Court of Justice judge among others, so check out which posts are incompatible
with being an MEP.

C - Convicted: If convicted of a criminal offence MEPs may be barred, but this depends
on national rules.

C - Conflict of interest: If an MEP has a financial interest in something under debate in
the EP, they can speak, but they have to declare their interest. They also have to declare an
interest if appointed to draft a report for a committee.

E - Expenses: Expenses include the reimbursement of costs for travel to and from
Parliament, living expenses while away from home and office expenditure in members'
constituencies. MEPs also receive allowances to cover the resources needed to do their job
effectively, most notably a "parliamentary assistance allowance" used for the employment of a
small personal staff, acting as parliamentary assistants, researchers, policy advisers and

E - Eligibility: To stand for election you must be a national of one of the 27 EU countries,
but you can stand in a country other than your own, for example former Finnish world rally
champion Ari Vatanen represents a constituency in France.

F - Financial interests: Before new Members can take up their post they have to complete
a detailed personal declaration on financial interests. This is then posted on the Parliament's

I - Independence: Members "shall not be bound by any instructions and shall not receive
a binding mandate for example from their Member State or from any private person."

I - Immunity: MEPs cannot be investigated, detained or have legal action taken against
them in respect of opinions they express or votes cast when an MEP. However, if a Member is
caught in the act of committing an offence, they cannot claim immunity.

M - Misbehaviour: The President of the Parliament is allowed to take financial sanctions
against MEPs who misbehave or disrupt the sitting.

N - National appointments: Many MEPs are members of parties that win general
elections and are then called home to take on ministerial posts. During the current term for
example, Alexander Stubb left to become Finland's foreign Minister and Cecilia Malmstrm
became Sweden's Europe Minister. In 2006 Estonian MEP Toomas Hendrik Ilves departed to
Tallinn to become President of his country.

S - Salaries: Until now MEPs got the same salary as national MPs in their countries and
payment was made by the national government. So for example in 2005 a Hungarian MEP's
gross monthly salary would have been under 1,000 whilst a German MEP would have received
around 7,000. From mid 2009 with the election of a new Parliament and the start of a new
legislature, MEPs will receive a flat rate salary of around 7,000 a month paid for by the EU.

S - Strasbourg: If you want to stand this is where you will spend 12 weeks a year during
the monthly plenary sessions
Since the ratification and entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty the adoption of nearly all
EU legislation requires the approval of both the European Parliament and the Council of the
European Union. Under the co-decision procedure, they each have up to three readings of
legislative proposals put forward by the European Commission in which they can each amend
the proposal, but must ultimately approve a text in identical terms for it to be passed. This
amounts to bicameralism.
MEPs also elect the President of the Commission, on the basis of a proposal by the
European Council and, following public hearings of the candidates, approve the appointment of
the Commission as a whole. The Parliament may also dismiss the Commission in a vote of no-
confidence (for instance, in 1999, the Commission presided by Jacques Santer resigned when
faced with the certain adoption of such a vote of no confidence). MEPs may table parliamentary
questions for Question time or for a written answer.
International agreements entered into by the European Union (e.g. WTO, trade
agreements, etc.) must be approved by the European Parliament, as must the accession of new
Member States to the Union.
The EU's annual budget is adopted jointly by Parliament and the Council of the European
Union, within overall limit on EU spending decided on by unanimous agreement of all Member
States and a multilateral Financial Framework laid down by Council with Parliament's consent.
The Parliament may also block certain Commission decisions where there has been a
delegation of powers to the Commission and may repeal such delegation of powers.
The Parliament also elects the European Ombudsman and holds hearings with candidates
for the President and Board members of European Central Bank, the Court of Auditors and
various EU agencies.
Dual mandates
The so-called "dual mandate"in which an individual is a member of both his or her
national parliament and the European Parliament, was officially discouraged by a growing
number of political parties and Member States, and is prohibited as of 2009. In the 20042009
Parliament, a small number of members still held a dual mandate. Notably, Ian Paisley and John
Hume once held "triple mandates" as MEP, MP in the House of Commons, and MLA in the
Northern Ireland Assembly simultaneously.
Convicted MEPs
As the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the Members of the
European Parliament by direct universal suffrage doesn't regulate the matter, today there are a
number of Members of the European Parliaments who were convicted, some for serious crimes
like corruption charges, illegal financial practices or discrimination. MEPs with criminal records
are for example: Vito Bonsignore and Aldo Patriciello (European people's party, EPP) and Mario
Borghezio (EFD).