The European Parliament (EP) is the only EU institution directly elected by European citizens. Its main role is to ensure the democratic legitimacy of the European law. It is composed of representatives of the Union’s citizens elected by direct universal suffrage for a five-year period. The EU Parliament’s members ensure the democratic functioning of the EU institutions and represent the citizens’ interests in the European legislative process.
All EU citizens have the right to vote and stand as candidates in their Member State of residence .
The EU Parliament has three main functions:
- adopting and amending legislation on an equal footing with the Council of the EU;
- supervising the functioning of all EU institutions, bodies and organisms, in particular the Commission. It has the power to approve or reject the appointment of European Commissioners and to collectively censure the Commission;
- exercising the EU budgetary power together with the Council of the EU and therefore adjusting the EU expenditure .
The European Parliament is made up of 751 members of which 73 from Italy. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are organized in pan-European political groups according their political stance. At present, there are 7 political groups, each composed of a minimum 25 members and representing at least one fourth of Member States. MEPs can sit in only one political Group; those who do not belong to any political group are known as Non - Inscrits (NI) .
Plenary sessions of the EP take place in Strasbourg every month (except in August) for four days (from Monday to Thursday), while extraordinary plenary sessions take place in Brussels. The EP's administrative offices sit in Luxembourg.
The current President of the European Parliament is David Sassoli, Italy.