When will the next European elections take place?
The next European Elections are scheduled to take place in the UK on 22 May 2014. In 2009 the elections in the UK were held on Thursday 4 June and MEPs were elected for a 5-year period. Please see our dedicated European elections section for the 2009 results, previous election results, information on standing as a candidate and details of the voting system.
How many MEPs in total are there?
There are currently 754 MEPs, 736 of whom were elected in June 2009. However the Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force in December 2009 had originally provided for 751 seats. The only country to have fewer MEPs under the new treaty is Germany, which is set to lose 3 seats. As Germany's elected number of MEPs cannot be reduced, the total number rises temporarily to 754 during this current legislature. The additional 18 MEPs took their seats on 1 December 2011.
When does Croatia join the EU?
Croatia is expected to join the EU on 1 July 2013. Twelve Croatian MEPs will then join the European Parliament. The 12 current observers may take part in meetings of committees and political groups and may also take the floor, but they do not have the right to vote or to stand for election to positions within the EP.
Croatian observers, as always in these cases, do not receive any salary or administrative allowances from the EP, with the exception of the daily attendance benefit and reimbursement of travel costs, based on the costs actually incurred.
What other countries have applied to join?
The candidate countries are Turkey, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
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.
How many women MEPs are there?
At present slightly over one third of MEPs are women. 23 of the 73 UK MEPs are female.
Can an MEP also serve as an MP?
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.
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.
How much do MEPs earn and is it taxed?
Following the implementation of a single Statute, the monthly pre-tax salary for 2012 is Euro 7,956.87.
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 6,200.72. 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.
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
How much does the European Parliament cost?
The European Parliament's budget for 2012 is set at €1,732 million, including costs relating to the arrival of 18 new MEPs and preparatory costs for Croatia. Of this total, €351 million is allocated for buildings, furniture, equipment and similar expenses, €576 million on staff (permanent and temporary), €209 million on MEPs' salaries and allowances, €186 million on their assistants, and €115 million on other staff and outside services.
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. For further information see 'Job Opportunities' under 'Infocentre'.
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.
Which country holds the EU Presidency?
Ireland holds the EU Presidency from 1st January to 30th June 2013.
Lithuania will hold the Presidency during the second half of 2013. Here is the list of Member States holding the office of President of the Council until 2020 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2007:001:0011:0012:EN:PDF
Are meetings of the European Parliament public?
Committees normally meet in public and all plenary sessions are public.
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.
How many staff work for the European Parliament?
As of May 2012, the number of officials and temporary staff working for Parliament (including its political groups) in different locations was 6,616.
What are Parliament's 23 official languages?
Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.