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Video: European Parliament elections — how are you represented in EU?

Video: European Parliament elections — how are you represented in EU?
Copyright REUTERS/Francois
Copyright REUTERS/Francois
By Emma Beswick
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Wondering how you're represented in Europe ahead of the elections? Here’s a quick breakdown.


Wondering how you're represented in Europe ahead of the elections? 

Watch Euronews' Emma Beswick break it all down in the video player above.

There are three key institutions in the European Union: the European Council, the European Parliament, and the European Commission.

Using the analogy of a train is a good way to see how they all interact and what powers they have.

European Council

This institution, made up of the 28 heads of state or government, essentially decides on the destination of our train.

The European Council is a collective body that defines the bloc's overall political direction and priorities.

It is not one of the EU's legislating institutions, so does not negotiate or adopt EU laws, but rather adopts "conclusions" during meetings, which identify issues of concern and actions to be taken.

European Commission

The route we take is decided by the Commission, comprising of a commissioner put forward by each EU country.

It is meant to create and implement policies as well as enforcing legislation by:

  • Protecting the interests of the EU and its citizens on issues that can't be dealt with effectively at the national level;
  • Ensuring technical details in laws are observed by consulting experts and the public, among other functions.

European Parliament

The Parliament drives the train — it votes on the policies (or route) presented to them as they carry the EU to the council's suggested destination.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by you and the number number of each country gets is roughly proportionate to its population.

Parliament's work comprises two main stages: Committees that prepare legislation — the Parliament has 20 committees and two subcommittees each handling a particular policy area — and plenary sessions to pass legislation.

What will I be voting for in the EU elections?

The 2019 elections take place between May 23 and 26, with countries voting on different days.

You, as EU citizens, will be voting to fill 751 seats in the European Parliament — before the UK was back in the running this was 705 seats.

Provided you've registered, you'll be voting for the candidates or parties in your country of origin or residence.

Once they've been elected, MEPs are organised into transnational groups that broadly reflect their political affiliation — there are currently eight groups, including the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), which is the largest party, and a grouping of far-right parties named the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF).

The group that wins the largest number of seats is then the frontrunner to appoint Jean-Claude Juncker's replacement as president of the European Commission.

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