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Préface

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Dear User,

 

The fifth direct elections to the European Parliament are approaching fast. On 10, 11 and 13 June 1999, around 298 million voters in the 15 EU Member States will be asked to choose 626 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to represent them.

In the run-up to the elections, we are producing a series of six publications, containing facts and figures on the outgoing Parliament as well as highlights of the work done by MEPs over the last five years.

Of course, we see this information, and therefore present it, from a European angle. Parliament has always regarded itself as the institution that stands up for the interests of all EU citizens and over the last five years has done its best to put a genuinely European stamp on the EU’s decisions.

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True, not all Parliament's goals have been achieved but without its efforts many of the European Union’s plans would have fallen foul of national interests - or indeed would not have been taken up at European level at all. Since the last elections Parliament has expanded its role as a law-making body alongside its traditional function of democratic scrutiny over the Council and Commission.

As we move into the 21st century, the newly-elected MEPs will face major challenges. They must use the extra powers Parliament gained under the Amsterdam Treaty responsibly and for the good of all. They must involve the public in discussions on the next stages of the introduction of the euro. Last but not least, they must make sure that enlargement of the EU strengthens democracy, peace and stability in Europe.

Before you cast your vote, our publications will give you all the information you need on:

- the laws governing the European Parliament elections;

- the composition and structure of the outgoing Parliament;

- the highlights of its legislative, budgetary and political work over the last five years;

- the names of candidates standing at the 1999 elections.

After the elections, two further publications will tell you the essential facts about the new Parliament.

This information can also be found on the European Parliament's two websites: http://www.europarl.eu.int/election and http://election.europarl.eu.int (the latter will be available at a later date).

If you have any questions about these publications, please contact the person named in this brochure who speaks your own language.

 

The Press Service

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