Created in 1979 for Parliament’s first direct elections, the Fact Sheets are designed to provide non-specialists with a straightforward, concise and accurate overview of the European Union’s institutions and policies, and of the role that the European Parliament plays in their development. With access to around 180 Fact Sheets, readers will find that this is a concise yet comprehensive source of information about the Union’s institutions and policies. The content of these Fact Sheets covers five main areas: How the European Union works; Economy, science and quality of life; Cohesion, growth and jobs; Citizens: fundamental rights, security and justice; and the EU’s external relations. The European Parliament is the only directly elected EU body and one of the largest democratic assemblies in the world. Its Members, representing the approximately 500 million citizens of the European Union, are elected every five years by voters in the Member States. The European Parliament has been steadily gaining power over recent decades and now acts as a co-legislator for nearly all EU law. Together with the Council, Parliament adopts or amends proposals from the Commission. It adopts the European Union’s budget. It also has a range of powers of oversight and scrutiny over the other institutions and the use of the EU budget to ensure that EU law is properly implemented.
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