The European Parliament
The Parliament represents 450 million people who live in the European Union.
The European Union is known as the EU.
People in the EU vote for 705 members to represent them in the Parliament.
Members of the European Parliament are called MEPs.
MEPs look at plans for new EU laws.
MEPs change laws to make them better.
MEPs check how the EU is working.
What the European Parliament does
The Parliament adopts new EU laws with the Council.
The Council represents governments of countries that are part of the EU.
The Parliament and the Council also decide on the EU budget.
The Parliament checks the work of all the organisations that help run the EU.
MEPs vote on trade agreements with countries outside the EU.
How the European Parliament works
Most MEPs work in political groups.
Groups are made up of MEPs from different countries and different political parties.
The groups have common aims.
The Parliament has 20 permanent committees.
All MEPs work in the committees.
Committees come up with reports on proposed new EU laws.
They propose improvements to laws.
The committees vote on these proposals.
Then the whole Parliament votes on new laws during plenary sessions.
Plenaries bring all MEPs together.
They debate and vote on new laws.
MEPs elect a president to represent the Parliament.
The president also chairs plenary sessions.
The president is elected for two and a half years.
Cast your vote
You can vote for people to represent you in the Parliament.
European elections take place every five years in all EU countries.
The Parliament has at least one office in every EU country.
You can visit these offices.
Visit the European Parliament
You can visit the Parliament in Strasbourg and Brussels.