The European Parliament is an important forum for political debate and decision-making at the EU level. The European Parliament (EP) is also the assembly of the representatives of the 500 million Union citizens. Its Members are directly elected by voters in all Member States to represent people’s interests with regard to EU law-making and to make sure other EU institutions are working democratically. Since 1979 they have been elected by direct universal suffrage. The Lisbon Treaty set the total number of EP seats to 751. The number of MEPs per country is set by a European Council decision adopted unanimously on the EP proposal. The European Parliament is a directly elected parliament representing the citizens of the EU member states. The EP, in agreement with the Council, decides on the European policies (including the research and development policy).
The European Parliament has three main roles:
- debating and passing European laws, with the Council
- scrutinising other EU institutions, particularly the Commission, to make sure they are working democratically
- debating and adopting the EU's budget, with the Council.