What do MEPs do?
Your MEPs are your representatives in the European Union. Their job is to represent your interests and those of your city or region in Europe. They do this by listening to people with local and national concerns, to interest groups and businesses. Where necessary, they question and lobby the Commission and the Council of Ministers.
Above all, MEPs pass laws that affect many aspects of our lives, for example:
- how many hours employees throughout the EU can be required to work and how much rest and holiday they must be given;
- which pesticides are safe to use on the food grown in the EU;
- how much you pay for mobile phone calls when you go to another EU country;
- how to use and label Genetically Modified Organisms;
- making children's toys safe;
- the safety of thousands of chemicals used in everyday manufactured goods such as TVs and sofas;
- cleaning up the air we breathe and the water we drink and swim in;
- getting health care in another EU country either on holiday or when the queue is too long in your own country;
- making it easier to study at university in another EU country.
MEPs also have an important role to play on the big issues of our times such as climate change, human rights in the world and the way in which we regulate our financial markets.
They hold the European Commission to account and can force it to resign.
The European Parliament also decides on the EU budget and influences how EU money is spent.
In 2007 the European Union's annual budget amounted to 126.5 billion euros.