Members of the European Parliament
There are currently a total of 766 members of the European Parliament (MEP's). There are 12 members elected from Ireland (11 following 2014 elections). Direct elections to the European Parliament are held every five years. Read more about european elections, nomination of candidates and eligibility for election of candidates here. View a list of all current MEPs here or just details of MEPs for Irish Constituencies.
Role of Members of the European Parliament
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) meet to discuss and vote on Commission proposals for one week a month at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in France. This is called a plenary sitting. There are additional plenary sittings in Brussels. The Parliament may meet in extraordinary session if the majority of its members request it, for example, if a very urgent matter arises.
All parliamentary debates are interpreted in the Union's 24 working languages: Bulgarian, Croatian Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltesese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish. All parliamentary documents are translated into and published in the 24 languages. Irish became the 23rd official and working language on 1 January, 2007.
The Parliament's work is usually a four-stage process:
- The relevant parliamentary committee appoints a member as arapporteur to draft a report on a Commission proposal
- The rapporteur submits his/her draft report to the committee for discussion
- After consideration, the draft report is put to the vote and possibly amended
- The report is then discussed and debated in plenary session at the Parliament, amended and put to the vote. Once it has voted, the Parliament has adopted its position on the matter.
As well as adopting legislative proposals and the budget, the Parliament is involved in scrutinising the work of the Commission and the Council of the European Union by putting oral questions to the members of the those institutions at plenary sittings.
MEPs are paid the same salary as members of their national parliaments. This means that Irish MEPs are paid the same salary as members of Dáil Eireann. However, on top of their salaries, MEPs are also paid an amount to cover the costs incurred by them in the performance of their duties and the recruitment of assistants. These allowances may be cut if MEPs do not take part regularly in the work of the plenary sittings. There are proposals to change the system so that all MEPs are paid the same salary.
In the Parliament, MEPs sit in political groups, not in national groups. The Parliament currently has 8 political groups plus some non-attached or independent Members.