The European Parliament in 2012: a look back in pictures
From rejecting the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to approving plans for a single EU patent after 30 years of negotiation, it has proved to be a momentous year for Parliament. Find out more about the issues tackled by MEPs this year and enjoy our slideshow of some of 2012's highlights.
MEPs dealt with some weighty issues in 2012, ranging from searching solutions to the crisis by insisting on both greater financial discipline and solidarity to going head to head with member states to protect investment to boost growth and create jobs in the 2013 budget.
In and out of Parliament
Denmark and Cypus headed the Council in 2012 and ministers and heads of state came to explain their plans to MEPs. As usual, the EP also played host to a range of political and business leaders from Bill Gates to King Abdullah II of Jordan and Peruvian president Ollanta Humala.
MEPs also made their presence felt on the world stage. Martin Schulz, who became the 28th EP president in January, was in Paris for the Bastille Day celebrations, while an EP delegation paid an historic visit to Myanmar where they met Aang San Suu Kyi.
Parliament symbolically passed on the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the EU to all Europeans during a ceremony in Strasbourg on 12 December. President Schulz handed over replicas of the award to representatives of all EU citizens.
That same day Mr Schulz also presented the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to representatives of human rights defender and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and film director Jafar Panahi, who were unable to leave their native Iran to accept the award in person.
MEPs awarded this year's Lux film prize to Italian film Io Sono Li, Andrea Segre's exploration of immigration and the conflict between belonging to a traditional community and individual aspiration.