European Parliament

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The main debating chamber in Strasbourg where all the members meet

The European Parliament (Europarl or EP) is the directly elected parliamentary body of the European Union. Together with the Council of the European Union (the Council), it forms the bicameral legislative branch of the Union's institutions. Its current President is Roberta Metsola.


  • For much of its life, the European Parliament could have been justly labelled a 'multi-lingual talking shop'. But this is no longer the case: the EP is now one of the most powerful legislatures in the world both in terms of its legislative and executive oversight powers.
    • Professor David Farrell, University of Manchester [1]
  • The European parliament has suddenly come into its own. It marks another shift in power between the three central EU institutions. Last week's vote suggests that the directly elected MEPs, in spite of their multitude of ideological, national and historical allegiances, have started to coalesce as a serious and effective EU institution, just as enlargement has greatly complicated negotiations inside both the Council and Commission.
    • Financial Times [2]
  • America’s constitution had flaws, but it proved astonishingly robust. Europe’s at the end of the twentieth century was fragile. It sought to govern not a mostly homogeneous set of commonwealth states, but countries with distinct personalities, cultures and vulnerabilities. Few were ready to submerge them in a continental whole, as fashioned by the champions of ever closer union in Brussels. The European Commission and Parliament had both become unwieldy. The former’s bureaucratic expansion into everything from building regulations to food sizing and bat control was ridiculed. The impending eurozone was a gamble. Lacking the safety valve of internal devaluation or other adjustments, it would involve a severe loss of sovereignty for its member governments. The European Parliament was a paper tiger, given over to lobbying for domestic projects. Election turnouts fell steadily from sixty-two per cent in 1979 to forty-three per cent in 2009.
    • Simon Jenkins, A Short History of Europe: From Pericles to Putin (2018)
  • Graham Watson (ALDE): Mr President, my Group considers what the House has just done to be illegal, as I explained earlier. Nonetheless, we accept the verdict of the House. As they sometimes say in my language, we look forward to seeing you in court!

(MEPs laugh) Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering (EPP): This concerns the whole Parliament; as you are also among its Members, you, too, would be appearing there. (MEPs Applaud)

  • But symbolic gestures alone cannot cement peace. This is where the European Union’s “secret weapon” comes into play: an unrivalled way of binding our interests so tightly that war becomes materially impossible. Through constant negotiations, on ever more topics, between ever more countries. It’s the golden rule of Jean Monnet: “Mieux vaut se disputer autour d’une table que sur un champ de bataille.” (“Better fight around a table than on a battle-field.”) If I had to explain it to Alfred Nobel, I would say: not just a peace congress, a perpetual peace congress! Admittedly, some aspects can be puzzling, and not only to outsiders. Ministers from landlocked countries passionately discussing fish-quota. Europarlementarians from Scandinavia debating the price of olive oil. The Union has perfected the art of compromise. No drama of victory or defeat, but ensuring all countries emerge victorious from talks. For this, boring politics is only a small price to pay. Ladies and Gentlemen, It worked. Peace is now self-evident. War has become inconceivable. Yet ‘inconceivable’ does not mean ‘impossible’. And that is why we are gathered here today. Europe must keep its promise of peace.