Founded in 1952 as the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and renamed the European Parliamentary Assembly in 1958, it became the European Parliament in 1962. The first direct elections took place in 1979. The current MEPs were elected during the 2009 elections and will serve until 2014.
The evolution of the Parliament is closely linked to a succession of treaties culminating in the current Lisbon Treaty. These treaties define the rules and scope of the Union and have turned the ECSC of old into what is now known as the European Union.
Over the years, milestones like the introduction of the euro and European enlargement have left their mark on the European Parliament, its powers and its composition.
A key player and witness to EU history, the Parliament now houses central historical archives that provide unique perspectives on our common history, including early debates from the assembly and archives of former EP Presidents.