How the European Parliament works
The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by the citizens of the member states every five years. There will be 754 MEPs until the next elections in 2014 (when the number will be 751), of whom 72 represent the UK.
The Parliament examines, amends and approves new legislative proposals. Most EU legislation now needs the approval of both Parliament and the Council of the European Union before it becomes law. The current President of the European Parliament is Jerzy Buzek of Poland.
UK MEPs do not sit together as one group but are members of European political groups. For example, the Conservatives are members of the ECR (European Conservatives and Reformist) Group; Labour MEPs are members of the S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats); and the Liberal Democrats are part of the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe) Group.
Our contact with MEPs is often based on their involvement in Committees and Intergroups.
Why does Cancer Research UK work with MEPs?
MEPs are important because in many cases they adopt EU legislation jointly with EU Ministers (in the Council of the European Union). MEPs can also put questions to both the European Commission and the Council of the European Union on issues relating to EU policy and legislation. Cancer Research UK provides MEPs with background briefings on relevant draft legislation going through Parliament. We also work with MEPs via a series of interest groups, which are similar to All-Party Parliamentary Groups in the UK.
MEPs represent you in Europe so if there is an issue that concerns you, bring it to their attention. The UK is split into 12 regions, each of which has a number of MEPs. They all represent you, so you can contact any or all of them with your concerns. All MEPs maintain at least two offices –
one in Brussels and one in their UK constituency.
Not sure who your MEPs are?
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team