you're reading...
Institutional and Legal Affairs, PUBLICATIONS

A year of change: the European Parliament in 2014

Written by Nicole Zandi

Autumn season - the European Parliament in Strasbourg - Ill riverOur role in the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) is to support parliamentary debate through ensuring Members are well-informed, in particular through our online and printed products. This year’s European election, and start of the eighth parliamentary term, has put us to the test. To mark the occasion the EPRS team have compiled facts and figures of the new parliament, offering a picture of who MEPs are and what they can do.

Political make-up

To help improve understanding of the Parliament and the European elections, we published a series of infographics throughout the year. Updated after the election, they have been collected together in a single infographic to illustrate the new Parliament. It offers comparisons between Member States, or with previous EU parliamentary terms. For example one chart shows the steady decline in voter turnout in European elections since 1979, but makes clear that the phenomenon is far from unique to the European Parliament. Ironically, though, more views are now represented, as fringe groups have gained more influence in Parliament since May’s elections.

The parliamentary carousel

Usher welcomes new membersThe face of Parliament and faces in Parliament are constantly changing, as MEPs come and go for various reasons. For example, the Bulgarian MEP, Tomislav Dontchev, left his European seat to become deputy prime minister in his national government. He has been replaced by 26-year-old Andrey Novakov, who is now the youngest MEP in Parliament, pushing down the average age of MEPs, to 51 years old.

The regularity of these inevitable, and often quite significant, changes means that it is important that we constantly produce new publications and make efforts to keep them up to date.

New Year Resolutions

A number of Parliament’s persistent goals to enforce greater transparency and legitimacy into the EU institutions have been endorsed by the new Commission and may lead to significant change.

With the EPP and S&D – Parliament’s two biggest groups – reduced in strength in this Parliament, political groups will be forced towards a more collaborative approach within the house, some have suggested. This type of relationship is also more likely to exist between the different institutions, and already Parliament has shown a willingness to support the Commission. After all, the Commission-president, Jean-Claude Juncker, was the candidate nominated by the largest party in Parliament, the EPP. This has led to the Commission being dubbed the “Parliament’s Commission.”

Where the Council fits in is more complicated, although there is a feeling among academics, at least, that the Council plays a crucial role in involving the national parliaments and disengaged citizens. Indeed collaboration is likely to be the best way to get legislation made and enforced throughout the EU – especially of the bigger changes that the new Commission promises to focus on.

Looking further ahead in the term, Brigid Laffan, director and professor at the Robert Schuman Centre in Florence, has cited 2017 as a year to look out for – with French presidential elections, German Bundestag elections and maybe a UK EU referendum. Depending on the results, the effect on the European Parliament and EU as a whole may be huge.


One thought on “A year of change: the European Parliament in 2014

  1. Right here is the perfect site for anyone who would like tto undertand this topic.
    You realize so much itss almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want
    to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a opic that’s been written about for decades.
    Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

    Posted by Kaylene | January 13, 2015, 05:56

Leave a Reply

Download the EPRS App

EPRS App on Google Play
EPRS App on App Store
What Europe Does For You
EU Legislation in Progress
Topical Digests
EPRS Podcasts

Follow Blog via Email

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,548 other subscribers

RSS Link to Members’ Research Service

Disclaimer and Copyright statement

The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy.

For a comprehensive description of our cookie and data protection policies, please visit Terms and Conditions page.

Copyright © European Union, 2014-2019. All rights reserved.

%d bloggers like this: