Created in 1979 for Parliament’s first direct elections, the Fact Sheets are designed to provide non-specialists with a straightforward, concise and accurate overview of the European Union’s institutions and policies, and the role that the European Parliament plays in their development.

The Fact Sheets are grouped into five chapters.

  • How the European Union works addresses the EU’s historical development and the successive treaties, its legal system, decision-making procedures, institutions and bodies, and financing.
  • Economy, science and quality of life explains the principles of the internal market and consumer protection and public health, describes a number of EU policies such as social, employment, industrial, research, energy and environment policies, outlines the context of the economic and monetary union (EMU) and explains how competition, taxation and economic policies are coordinated and scrutinised.
  • Cohesion, growth and jobs explains how the EU addresses its various internal policies: regional and cohesion policy, agriculture and fisheries, transport and tourism, and culture, education and sport.
  • Citizens: fundamental rights, security and justice describes individual and collective rights, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and freedom, security and justice, including immigration and asylum, and judicial cooperation.
  • The EU’s external relations covers foreign policy, security and defence policies, external trade relations, and development policy; the promotion of human rights and democracy; the enlargement and relations beyond the EU’s neighbourhood.

Drafted by the policy departments and the Economic Governance Support Unit, the Fact Sheets are available in 23 languages. The online version is reviewed and updated at regular intervals throughout the year, as soon as Parliament adopts any important positions or policies.

For any enquiries, please contact the Unit for Coordination of Editorial and Communication Activities (e-mail: