Enquiries & FAQs
We handle many enquiries from the general public about the European Parliament, its procedures and documentation. Here are some of the most frequestly asked questions and how to contact us to ask more.
For general enquiries about the EU please contact Europe Direct or call them on 00 800 678 9 10 11.
Frequently asked Questions
1. When did the European elections take place?
The European Elections took place in the UK on 22 May 2014, with the newly elected MEPs taking office on 1st July. They have been elected for a 5-year period. Please see our dedicated European elections section for the 2014 results, previous election results and information on the voting system.
The next election will take place in 2019.
2. How many MEPs in total are there?
There are now 751 MEPs in the European Parliament. In June 2009, 736 MEPs were elected. The Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force in December 2009, allowed for an additional 18 MEPs who took their seats on 1 December 2011. On 1 July 2013, following Croatia's accession to the EU, 12 Croatian MEPs joined the European Parliament increasing the total to 766 temporarily.
3. When does Croatia join the EU?
Croatia has joined the EU, with effect from 1 July 2013.
4. What other countries have applied to join?
The candidate countries are Turkey, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
5. Why do I have more than one MEP representing me?
MEPs are elected on a regional basis through proportional representation. You will therefore have a selection of MEPs representing your electoral region. They belong to different political parties and sit on specific European Parliamentary Committees.
6. How many women MEPs are there?
30 women were elected in the 2014 election.
7. Can an MEP also serve as an MP?
No, European Council decision of 2002 states that "the office of MEP is incompatible with that of member of a national parliament". An MEP who is elected as an MP, or appointed a Peer, therefore has to stand down from the European Parliament.
8. Is there a register of MEPs' interests?
The European Parliament maintains a register of MEPs' financial interest which can be read at Parliament's offices in Brussels and Strasbourg. The MEPs' individual biographical pages also contain their declaration of financial interests.
9. How much do MEPs earn and is it taxed?
Following the implementation of the single Statute, the monthly pre-tax salary for MEPs for 2014 is Euro 8,020.53 (May 2014)
The salary is paid from Parliament's budget and is subject to an EU tax and accident insurance contribution, after which the salary is Euro 6,250.37. Member States can also subject the salary to national taxes. In the UK the salary is also taxed by the Inland Revenue in order bring the total tax paid up to the level of taxation payable by a UK resident The basic salary is set at 38.5% of the basic salary of a judge at the European Court of Justice.
MEPs who sat in Parliament before the 2009 elections were given the opportunity to keep the previous national system for salary, transitional allowance and pensions, for the entire duration of their membership of the European Parliament.
10. How much do we contribute to the EU?
In 2011, the UK's net contribution was £8.1 bn. For further details see HM Treasury's European Community Finances: statement on the 2012 EU Budget and measures to counter fraud and financial mismanagement: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/eu_finances_2012.pdf
11. How much does the European Parliament cost?
The European Parliament's budget for 2013 is set at €1,750 million, including costs relating to the arrival of 18 new MEPs from Croatia. Of this total, €358 million is allocated for buildings, furniture, equipment and similar expenses, €583 million on staff (permanent and temporary), €208 million on MEPs' salaries and allowances, €187 million on their assistants, and €116 million on other staff and outside services.
12. I should like to work for the European Parliament. How do I apply?
Most recruitment to the European Parliament and any of the EU institutions is handled by EPSO (European Personnel Selection Office) through open competitions.
13. How do I enforce my rights?
14. I think my human rights have been infringed. Where do I go?
The Human Rights Act is UK law and gives legal effect to the European Convention on Human Rights (Council of Europe, NOT the EU). Please seek advice from your local Citizen's Advice Bureau, the Ministry of Justice or a lawyer.
15. Which country holds the EU Presidency?
Italy holds the EU Presidency from 1 July to 31 December 2014 http://www.italia2014.eu/Home_eng.html
16. Are meetings of the European Parliament public?
Committees normally meet in public and all plenary sessions are public.
17. Why does Parliament move between Brussels and Strasbourg?
The EU's national governments unanimously decided in 1992 to fix permanently the seat of the EU institutions. The official seat and venue for most of the plenary sessions is Strasbourg, Parliamentary Committees and Political Group meetings are held in Brussels and administrative staff are based in Luxembourg. Any change to this current system would need to be part of a new treaty and unanimously agreed by all Member States.
18. How many staff work for the European Parliament?
As of May 2013, the number of officials and temporary staff working for Parliament (including its political groups) in different locations was 6,817.
19. What are Parliament's 24 official languages?
Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.
20. How do I track EU legislation?
The most thorough method is to go to the main European Parliament main website and use the Legislative Observatory search engine. There you can find background information and the latest state of play on all legislation and reports going through the European Parliament.
To receive weekly updates on what's being discussed the following week either in the full Parliament or in committee you can subscribe to our newsletter EP News. EP news also brings you highlights of the last plenary session and any press releases issued by the UK Office.