What is the European Parliament?
The European Parliament (EP) is the legislative branch of the European Union and one of its seven institutions. It is directly-elected and made up of 705 members (MEPs) representing all EU countries.
The European Parliament decides upon EU legislation, including the multiannual budget, together with the Council of the European Union (EU Member State governments). The EP holds other EU institutions, like the European Commission, to account.
It elects the President of the European Commission and plays a key role in vetting Commissioner-designates through individual hearings. The College of Commissioners - how the twenty-seven commissioners are referred to collectively - must then be approved through a consent vote by the EP.
Members of the European Parliament are elected in EU member states every five years and represent around 446 million citizens. Over the years, and with subsequent changes to EU treaties, the Parliament has acquired substantial legislative and budgetary powers.