Abstract and Keywords
Initially a purely consultative body with members seconded from national parliaments, the European Parliament is now vested with significant legislative, control, and budgetary powers. It shapes EU laws, particularly through the co-decision procedure; is involved in the appointment of the Commission and can force the latter to resign; and decides on the EU's annual budget with the Council. The Parliament has also been directly elected since 1979, with 736 MEPs elected in the seventh round of elections held in 2009. This article examines the state of scholarly understanding on the European Parliament. It begins by focusing on direct elections. The article then turns to the Parliament's party groups before exploring committees and the Parliament's inter-institutional relations with the Council and the Commission. The concluding discussion suggests some avenues for further research.
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