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The EU and its institutions

EP building in Brussels  

MEPs meet in committee this week to prepare legislation on data protection, regional policy and discuss the annual report on immigration and asylum. They will also prepare the hearings for the new European Commission taking place from 29 September to 7 October. The nominees for the Sakharov Prize will be presented to three committees on Tuesday. On the same day EP president Martin Schulz will meet Portugal's prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho in Lisbon. (Read more: EP this week: CO2 emissions, Sakharov Prize, preparation Commission hearings )


Things we learned in plenary: Ukraine, Ebola, jobs, medication

Plenary Session Institutions19-09-2014 - 09:00

In a historic vote on Tuesday, Parliamentarians in Strasbourg and Kiev voted simultaneously to approve the EU–Ukraine association agreement. Closer to home, the EP proposed to increase financial aid for farmers affected by the Russian agricultural import ban and urged the EU to use all possible means to combat the Islamic State. MEPs warned that funds available for creating jobs for young people should be better used. Read on for the highlights of the September plenary session. (Read more: Things we learned in plenary: Ukraine, Ebola, jobs, medication )

Infographic: how the European Commission will get elected Infographic - Institutions18-09-2014 - 12:21

Member states have put forward their candidate commissioners, but in order for the new European Commission to be elected, they will still need to successfully pass the hearings at the European Parliament. Starting 29 September, the parliamentary committees responsible for the proposed portfolios of the candidates will question them one by one. How does this work? Find out in our infographic. (Read more: Infographic: how the European Commission will get elected )


Candidate commissioners face a thorough scrutiny by MEPs before the new European Commission can start its five-year term. From 29 September they will have to appear in front of parliamentary committees dealing with their proposed responsibilities. These hearings will affect the Parliament’s vote on whether to approve the new Commission. Unless MEPs vote in favour, the Commission will not be able to take office. (Read more: New Commission: how MEPs will scrutinise the candidate commissioners )


Globalisation Adjustment Fund: helping redundant workers find work again

Others Institutions / Social policy12-09-2014 - 15:08

Tens of thousands of workers were helped to retrain, look for a new job or launch a new company in 207-2013 if they had been laid off as a result of globalisation or the economic crisis thanks to €400 million in EU funding. This aid came from the EU's Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). On 17 September MEPs approved another aid package for workers in Greece, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain. Find out more about the fund in our article and our chart. (Read more: Globalisation Adjustment Fund: helping redundant workers find work again )

Martin Schulz  

“What happens in Ukraine concerns all Europeans, because we cannot stand by and watch idly while the founding principles of the international community are being violated,” said EP president Martin Schulz during a visit to Kiev on Friday. “We have agreed on rules for states to follow when dealing with each other. These rules apply to all.” During his two-day visit, Schulz met Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk as well as president Petro Poroshenko. (Read more: Schulz in Kiev: ”What happens in Ukraine concerns all Europeans” )


"This time it's different" - Parliamentary hearings

Institutions12-09-2014 - 11:41
Anointed as Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker lays out the EU's priorities and commitments for the coming years with a focus on energy, welfare and prosperity.  

Before the commissioners-designate as presented by incoming Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker can take office and start work, members of the European Parliament will exercise their power of democratic scrutiny enshrined in the Treaty by holding hearings to quiz the 27 candidates on their skills and their qualifications for the posts proposed to them. (Read more: "This time it's different" - Parliamentary hearings )


Meet the European Parliament's political groups

Others Institutions12-09-2014 - 09:40
European Parliament political group leaders  

The European Parliament is a political institution where different ideas on issues from the EU's spending priorities to privacy rights and trade relations are hotly contested. Political groups play an essential role in this clash of ideas, as they bring together like-minded representatives from across Europe and give them a voice in the decision-making process. Find out from our dedicated page what groups there are at the start of the new term, what they stand for and who their leaders are. (Read more: Meet the European Parliament's political groups )

UN Special Envoy for Climate Change Mary Robinson  

Tackling climate change will be a key issue for the newly-elected European Parliament and for the new Commission, which will take office later this year. One person who has no doubts about the urgent need to galvanise climate action is former Irish president and current UN special envoy Mary Robinson. While in Brussels to meet with Parliament President Martin Schulz, she urged European politicians to show leadership on the issue. (Read more: Climate change: "Business as usual with a bit of green won't get us there" )


Petitions: Parliament gives you a chance to be heard

Others Institutions / Citizens' rights / Petitions10-09-2014 - 11:27
What is a petition? Petitioner at the EP  

Do you have a problem linked to the EU? The European Parliament can help. The EP’s petitions committee ensures that people's complaints are heard at the highest level. Here is an overview of the 1,986 petitions submitted in 2012 as well as a brief guide on how to submit a petition. (Read more: Petitions: Parliament gives you a chance to be heard )