70 years of the European Parliament

The European Parliament is marking 70 years of democracy in action - from its first assembly in 1952 to being stronger than ever during challenging times today.

Seventy years ago, the first session of the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community took place in Strasbourg, marking the starting point of the European Parliament we know today.

Over the decades, six European countries grew into a union of 27 member states fostering democracy, fundamental rights, economic stability and growth. The Parliament was a key player in the development of the EU, growing from 78 national representatives in 1952 to 705 directly-elected MEPs today.

“In 70 years the assembly has grown from strength to strength, from being a consultative body with limited powers to being a true institution embracing European democracy and the expression of European public opinion,” said Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Parliament during September’s plenary session.

As the only directly elected, multilingual, multiparty, transnational parliament in the world, it is a powerful forum for political debate and decision-making with legislative and budgetary powers that affect millions of EU citizens.

“With an ongoing illegal war in the Ukraine that destroys, kills and undermines the political will of the people, we know, today, more than ever, the importance of upholding the democratic voice of citizens and the democratic European values that this house stands for,” the President said.

On Tuesday 22 November, Parliament will celebrate the historical and legislative achievements of the last 70 years with a special ceremony.

European Parliament timeline