European Parliament Brussels
Similar to a national parliament, the European Parliament (EP or Europarl) consists of an elected group of representatives called Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), there are 785 MEPs after the 2004 elections. The role of the European Parliament is to amend, delay or reject new laws.
In terms of hierarchy, they are traditionally less powerful that the Council of Ministers who are able to pass certain laws without the co-decision of the European Parliament. Areas of legislation include justice and citizenship, external relationship, agriculture and fisheries, budget, culture and education, economic and monetary affairs, employment and social affairs, internal market and industry, regions and transport and health and environment.
Elections have been held once every five years since 1979 and the European Union is trying to increase voter turn out at these elections. There are 7 political parties vying for seats. Parliament plenary sessions are held in Strasbourg (France) 12 times per year and all other committee meetings and the official seat of the parliament is in Brussels (Belgium).
Location in Brussels
The President of the European Parliament, all elected representatives and their aids have permanent offices in Brussels at the Espace Leopold complex located on the other side of Place du Luxembourg. It has recently undergone renovation and the Luxembourg station (Gare du Luxembourg) is now in operation again. A beautiful old façade provides the back entrance to this building. Metro stop: Trone or Schuman
Espace Leopold complex
Rue Wiertz/Wiertzstraat 60
Tel: +32/2 284 21 11
The European Parliament is quite welcoming to visitors. The public can attend parliamentary sittings, receive audio-guided visits and organise group tours. All visits are free of charge, group visits are conducted by an EP official in most official languages of the EU. Visitors have to be at least 14 years of age.