Real contributions made by the European Parliament

The European Parliament is the only institution whose powers have continuously grown since 1979, whether this is on a legislative or budgetary level – notably with regard to the Council of Ministers – and in terms of administrative and political control, especially with regard to the European Commission.

In legislative matters

For five years MEPs approve directives and regulations on issues that can have major influence on citizens’ daily lives.

Hence MEPs elected in June 2004 adopted 142 directives and 145 regulations between June 2004 and 1st March 2009. These texts mainly concerned areas such as the environment and consumer protection but also the internal market and the transport policy. By means of the consultation procedure, MEPs have had their word to say over 70% of the directives adopted by the Council and over 18% of the regulations (the latter were often of a technical nature and therefore reserved for the Council only).

The normative acts adopted by the European Parliament (June 2009 - September 2013)

 Parliament and Conseil Council aloneMain areas (in numbers of acts)
Directives 163677Industrial policy and internal market (35); Transport policy (22); Environment, consumer protection, healthcare (15).
Regulations217647Industrial policy and internal market (39); Environment, consumer protection and healthcare (34) ; External Relations (25) ; Area of freedom, security and (22).
Source : European Parliaments. Calculs : Fondation Robert Schuman

In terms of control

In 1996, MEPs established a temporary investigation committee into the “mad-cow crisis” then in 2006 a committee looked into the alleged use by the CIA of European countries for the illegal transport and detention of prisoners.

In addition to this in 2004 the European Parliament refused the investiture of Italian Rocco Buttiglione because of his remarks on homosexuality and the place of women in society; it also opposed the nomination of Latvian Ingrida Udre because of her inadequate response to allegations about the illegal funding of her party.