Sunday, June 07, 2009

The EU...

The European Parliament is based both in Brussels, Belgium and Strasbourg, France, with administrative offices also located in Luxembourg. The Parliament meets in Strasbourg for one week each month for Plenary Sessions to amend and vote on draft legislation. Preparatory meetings of political groups and committee work take place largely in Brussels. Given the disruption and expense of moving between the cities (around £200 million before the accession of ten new countries), the UK Conservative Delegation and many other MEPs support a single seat for the Parliament, but this needs the national Governments to agree a revision of the treaties.
The main work of the Parliament is, in fact, carried out in Committees. The Committees of the Parliament 1999-2004 were:

-Agriculture and Rural Development
- Budgets
- Budgetary Control
- Citizens Freedoms and Rights
- Justice and Home Affairs
- Constitutional Affairs
- Culture, Youth, Education, Media and Sport
- Development and Cooperation
- Employment and Social Affairs
- Environment, Health and Consumer Protection
- Fisheries
- Foreign Affairs
- Industry, External Trade and Internal Market
- Petitions
- Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism
- Women's Rights and Equal Opportunities.

Find out more about the European Union

The results of the largest election in the history of the European Union are due within an hour, as voting draws to a close after four days.
Nineteen EU countries voted on Sunday, with eight others having voted in the past few days.
All 736 parliament seats are up for grabs. Provisional figures suggest the lowest turnout on record, at 43.01%. (...)

But analysts say the global economic crisis could influence people's vote, and that disenchantment may be reflected in greater support for far-right parties.
Voters are choosing representatives mainly from their own national parties, many of which then join EU-wide groupings with similarly-minded parties from other countries.
The largest grouping has for the last five years been the centre-right EPP (288 seats out of a current 785), followed by the centre-left PES (216) and the liberal ALDE (100).
Opinion polls before the election began suggested fewer than half the 375 million electorate would vote.


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