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Euro-glossary Monday, 30 April, 2001, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
European Parliament
European Parliament in Strasbourg
Parliament's powers have been growing
The parliament is the only directly elected body in the European Union and the only elected international assembly in the world.

Every five years, Europe's 375 million citizens have the chance to vote for 626 representatives.

The parliament is split between Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg.

For one week every month it holds a session with all its deputies in Strasbourg. It has a secretariat in Luxembourg and its committees spend two weeks a month meeting in Brussels.

Although it began as a discussion forum, parliament now has significant powers, deciding together with the Council of Ministers on legislation and the EU's budget.

But on some sensitive matters, such as taxation, it can still only give its opinion.

Parliament is also the democratic watchdog over the European Commission.

Commissioners must be approved by Parliament before they can be appointed and parliament has the power to sack the Commission - a fate the commission only escaped in 1999 by its mass resignation.

See also:

12 Mar 01 | Euro-glossary
12 Mar 01 | Euro-glossary
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