The European Parliamentary Research Service is the European Parliament's in-house research department and think tank.
Its mission is to assist Members in their parliamentary work by providing them with independent, objective and authoritative analysis of, and research on, policy issues relating to the European Union.
It is also designed to increase Members and EP committees' capacity to scrutinise and oversee the European Commission and other EU executive bodies.
The Members' Research Service provides, inter alia: tailored, on-demand, analysis and research to individual Members, in response to specific requests which they make, in respect of EU policies, issues and legislation; a range of pro-active analytical and research publications ('at a glance' notes, fact-sheets, briefings, in-depth analyses and/or longer studies) on EU policies and issues, and in-person briefing to individual Members on any issue related to the EU.
In addition to research and analysis, EPRS is also responsible for:The library
Established in 1953 (as the Library of the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community), the library's main premises are in Brussels with branches in Luxembourg and Strasbourg. The Strasbourg branch operates only during plenary sessions. The Library provides a wide range of services to Members individually and to the European Parliament as a whole. Apart from operating the Parliament's Reading Rooms, with an extensive physical and digital collection, the Library provides access to news sources and databases.Historical Archives of the European Parliament
The Parliament's official public documents and other archival material, dating back to 1952, are preserved in the EP's historical archives. They are accessible to the public and to researchers on the history of the Parliament and European integration.Citizens' enquiries
All EU citizens have the right to request information on the Parliament's activities and on EU issues.Access to documents
All EP documents since 2001 are accessible to the public in the EP's register of documents.Transparency Register
Managed together with the European Commission, the Transparency Register provides citizens with direct access to information about who is trying to influence the EU decision making process.
Whenever there is a proposal for new European legislation, it is important to assess the likely economic, social, environmental and other effects of it will be, and be aware of the possible alternatives. This can help MEPs to decide whether the plans should be approved, rejected or amended. The Parliament's ex-ante impact assessment service helps MEPs and EP committees, by analysing the impact assessments produced by the European Commission, as well as offering committees a comprehensive range of detailed follow-up services.
Members also need to know if existing European laws are working as intended and if they have been transposed and implemented correctly. The Parliament's ex-post impact assessment service helps MEPs and EP committees, by compiling detailed databases of EU legislation requiring follow-up and of all review work on European laws being undertaken by the EU institutions. It also produces assessments of the state-of-play whenever EP committees do implementation reports.
The Parliament's policy performance appraisal service provides initial appraisals of how existing legislation operates in practice, whenever the updating of such legislation is foreseen in the Commission's annual work programme. Such appraisals draw on available input from among other EU institutions, national governments and parliaments, and any external consultation and outreach exercises.
MEPs can also propose to the European Commission that new European legislation be introduced. The Parliament's European added value service supports parliamentary committees in identifying where the most benefit can be achieved by acting together at the European level. They produce assessments to explain the potential benefits of legislative initiative reports and the added value of existing EU policies.
Science affects every aspect of our daily lives, but also plays a role in deciding the shape of new legislation. The Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) service analyses emerging policy issues in these fields , undertaking a broad range of studies, workshops and other activities, to ensure that MEPs and EP committees have access to the best scientific foresight and analysis. STOA activities are overseen by a panel of MEPs, nominated by six parliamentary committees.
The European Council became a formal institution with a permanent President under the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009. In its role of scrutinising the executive, the Parliament monitors closely all commitments by summit meetings, through its European Council Oversight service. Each set of European Council conclusions is examined in order to identify what commitments have been entered into by Member States, so as to track progress on delivery. The service also provides material to the President of the European Parliament to help him prepare for his participation in European Council meetings, where he or she sets out to defend the Parliament's position on the key issues on the summit agenda.