The European Parliament
The European Parliament has grown increasingly powerful since its inception as the Common Assembly in 1952, and together with the Council is now the co-legislator for nearly all EU law. Its links to the parliaments of member countries make it the vehicle through which national interests are represented at EU-level. Elections to the European Parliament are therefore the only opportunity for European citizens to decide who represents those interests.
The European Parliament elections in May are arguably the most important to date. The current Parliament, EP7, has presided over the Eurozone crisis, one of the most challenging periods in the EU’s history. With the debate in the UK dominated by the question of our place within Europe and the possibility of a referendum, we are at a crossroads.
The Lisbon Treaty gave the European Parliament new powers to shape a number of policy areas, including trade agreements, regulation of the single market, free movement of labour, and reform of the common agricultural policy. Pivotal votes in this Parliament over the last two years have included issues such as the financial transaction tax, the pooling of public debt through Eurobonds, and taxes on carbon emissions.
The UK’s interests are directly affected by these decisions. Strong representation in the European Parliament is essential to our continued economic recovery, which is why it is crucial that we exercise our democratic rights and make our voices heard at the ballot box this May.