The Parliament budget funds the running of an institution with 766 Members and 24 official working languages. Parliament’s budget is part of the general budget of the European Union, of which it makes up about 1%. EP budget accounts for one fifth of the total administrative expenditure of all EU institutions.
The 2012 EP budget amounts to € 1,718 billion of which 37% is for staff expenses, mainly salaries for the 6000 officials working in the General Secretariat and in the Political Groups. Moreover, this expenditure covers interpretation costs, the costs of external translation and staff mission expenses.
Because the Parliament is a democratically-elected institution, involved in making laws that are binding in all Member States, an important proportion of its permanent, temporary and freelance staff are working to translate or interpret its proceedings, so that Members and citizens alike can follow them. As an example: in 2008 over 1.5 million pages of documents were translated.
About 24% of the 2012 budget is dedicated to MEPs' expenses, including salaries, costs for travel, offices and the pay of personal assistants.
Expenditure on Parliament’s buildings accounts for 11% of the 2012 budget. It covers property purchase, improvement and rental, plus running costs in Parliament's three main places of work - Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg - as well as for its information offices in the 28 Member States
Information policy and administrative expenditure such as IT and telecommunications account for 23%. Political Group activities account for a further 5% of the budget.
The procedure for drawing up Parliament's budget generally starts in February with a proposal from the Secretary-General, who defines the priorities and the resources for the following year. On this basis, Parliament's Bureau adopts the so-called preliminary draft estimates and submits them to the Committee on Budgets.
A member of that committee, a so-called budget rapporteur, draws up a report which is then voted in committee. This report outlines Parliament's work priorities and proposed budget (draft estimates). On the basis of this report, Parliament's plenary adopts the estimates, usually in May. These are then incorporated into the draft budget of the EU, which is amended and adopted by the plenary at the latest in December.