The aim of the Fact Sheets is to provide an overview of European integration and of the European Parliament’s contribution to that process.


Created in 1979 for Parliament’s first direct elections, the Fact Sheets are intended to provide non specialists with a straightforward and concise — but also accurate — overview of the European Union’s institutions and policies, and of the role that Parliament plays in their development.

The Fact Sheets are grouped into six chapters:

  • How the European Union works, which addresses the EU’s historical development, legal system, institutions and bodies, decision-making procedures and financing;
  • Citizens’ Europe, which describes individual and collective rights;
  • The internal market, which explains the principles and implementation of the internal market;
  • Economic and Monetary Union, which outlines the context of EMU and explains the coordination and surveillance of economic policies;
  • Sectoral policies, which describes how the EU addresses its various internal policies;
  • The EU’s external relations, which covers foreign policy, security and defence, trade, development, human rights and democracy, enlargement and relations beyond the EU’s neighbourhood.

Explore the Fact Sheets via the menu above by clicking on a chapter title. Once you have opened one Fact Sheet you can access the others in the same section via the menu in the right-hand column. They can also be downloaded in PDF format.

This online version is reviewed and updated at regular intervals throughout the year, as soon as Parliament adopts any important positions or policies.

Drafted by the policy departments and the Economic Governance Support Unit, the Fact Sheets are available in 23 languages.

For any inquiries, please contact the Unit for Coordination of Editorial and Communication Activities: (e mail: