The Euro-Mediterranean parliamentary Assembly was officially established in Athens on 22-23 March 2004 as the parliamentary dimension of the Partnership set up by the Barcelona Declaration of November 1995.
The EMPA consists of 280 members: 130 EU members (81 members from the twenty-seven EU national Parliaments - three from each Parliament - and 49 members from the European Parliament), 10 members from new European Mediterranean partner countries (two for each delegation from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Monaco and Montenegro), 130 members from the ten countries on the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey), and 10 members from Mauritania.
There are five EMPA standing Committees:
- Committee on Political Affairs, Security, and Human Rights;
- Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs, Social Affairs, and Education;
- Committee on Improving Quality of Life, Exchanges between Civil Societies, and Culture;
- Committee on Women's Rights in Euromed countries;
- Committee on Energy, Environment, and Water.
The EMPA Bureau may establish, upon request of the Assembly, one or more working groups. The Bureau shall establish the nature, duration, number of members, composition, remit and reporting obligations of such working groups.
At present, there are three such working groups: Working Group on the Financing of the Assembly and the Revision of the EMPA's Rules of Procedure, Working Group for Transferring the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) into a Euro-Mediterranean Development Bank, Working Group on the Euro-Mediterranean University.
The EMPA is a consultative institution. Its resolutions and recommendations focus on the partnership's objectives and areas of cooperation and are not legally binding. At present, the EMPA is the main parliamentary dimension of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), which absorbed the Barcelona Process and was officially launched at the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of 43 countries held in Paris on 13 July 2008.