At present the European Parliament comprises 705 MEPs elected in 27 EU Member States.

Parliament meets in plenary session 12 times per year in Strasbourg over four days (Monday to Thursday). Six times a year it also meets in Brussels for two days (Wednesday and Thursday). The session comprises daily meetings.

In the 2014 elections the Lisbon Treaty provides for a number of MEPs per country ranging from 6 for Malta, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Estonia to 96 for Germany.

Parliamentary work in the parliamentary committees is undertaken in Brussels.

How and where does an MEP work?

The Debates in Strasbourg

Parliament meets in plenary session 12 times a year in Strasbourg.

An MEP can speak in his capacity as “rapporteur” of the Committee of which he is a member, or on behalf of his political group or personally.

The Parliament’s annual calendar includes 12 plenary sessions which take place over four days in Strasbourg. Since MEPs do not sit in August two sessions are organised during another month.

Work in Brussels

Apart from the 12 annual plenary sessions there are six mini-sessions per year which last two days and which take place in Brussels. MEPs look into draft directives and regulations put forward by the European Commission.

The parliamentary committees meet in Brussels two weeks per month.

The Work undertaken in the Political Groups in Brussels

There are 7 political groups in the present Parliament. Every MEP is affiliated to a group. Otherwise he sits with the “non-attached Members” who do not belong to any particular group (there are 43 in the European Parliament).

The MEP participates in meetings organised by the political group to which he belongs. This is where the positions are decided upon and which will then be defended firstly in the Committee and then in plenary session.

These meetings take place once a week.

How many MEPs are elected per Member State?

The Principle of Degressive Proportionality

In the wake of the European Union’s successive enlargements, the number of MEPs has constantly increased proportionally to the size of the population of the new member countries – this is why for example there are more German and French MEPs than there are from Luxembourg and Malta.

However to reduce the differences in representation between the “big” and “small” countries European parliamentarians do not represent the same number of voters depending on the member country in which they were elected. For example although an MEP represents on average around 679,000 inhabitants, Europeans living in the “small” countries are however over represented: there is one MEP for 82,500 inhabitants in Malta in comparison with one MEP for nearly 829,000 inhabitants in Germany. The greater a country’s population, the less it is represented from a proportional point of view.