The work of the European Parliament has a direct impact on citizens around Europe but who actually does what, where and how?
There are 751 of them. They are Members of the European Parliament and they're elected for a five-year term to represent 508 million European citizens from across the 28 Member States.
The Parliament has two seats. Its formal seat is in Strasbourg where MEPs decamp for monthly plenary sessions. Its other seat is in Brussels where day-to-day groundwork and political and thematic group meetings take place. And finally, the Parliament's secretariat is based in Luxembourg. The European Parliament has three main powers: Legislative power. It passes European laws drawn up by the European Commission. It shares this power with the Council of the European Union which represents the Member States.
Budgetary power. Along with the Council, they approve and control the EU budget. Supervisory powers. To oversee other EU institutions and agencies. For example, MEPs hold hearings with nominees to the EU Commission and elect its President.
The European Parliament works closely with the European Commission, which draws up draft laws, and the 28 Member States via the Council of the European Union. From migration to food safety and data protection, the work of the European Parliament has a direct impact on the daily lives of citizens everywhere in the EU.
The Gozo College Secondary School in Gozo this Friday hosted the project ‘Dear Europe I’m Writing to You’. This initiative consists of students from across the European Union writing to European politicians about their requests and aspirations about the European Union. The letters from Gozitan students were then grouped in a publication including letters from 19 other Member states.
Alessandra Baldacchino, Maltese, was a trainee with the European Parliament Information Office from February to June 2016 after completing her Bachelors in European Studies at the University of Malta. She is now reading an MSc in Public Policy at UCL, London. We asked her a few questions about her experience at the European Parliament Information Office.
Earlier this year the European Parliament has adopted a resolution on the special situation of islands in the EU. MEPs noted that islands that are part of a Member State of the European Union are particularly vulnerable in the face of global challenges such as globalisation, climate change, demographic trends, energy supply and migration flows.
The diversity of views on how best to manage migration at European level could not be more evident. Two MEPs, Italian Cécile Kyenge and Belgian Helga Stevens, argued their respective positions during a public discussion organised by the European Parliament Office in Malta. The two MEPs were in Malta as part of a delegation of MEPs from the Parliament's Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs who were visiting the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).