Tuesday, April 23, 2024

EP close up / EP in the past

The Parliament is the only European institution whose members are chosen directly by the voters in democratic election. However in the beginning, the members of the Assembly were delegated by the member states. The history of the EP started in the 50s with the founding treaties. 

In the beginning, the Assembly consisted of 78 representatives of the national parliaments delegated by the countries forming the European Coal and Steel Community: France, Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. 

Common European Parliament Assembly for the European Coal and Steel Community, European Economic Community and Euratom were founded in 1958. The name of the EP is in use since 1962. 

MEPs have been elected in direct elections across the EU since 1979.

The first historic assembly of the EP elected in democratic elections was held in July 1979. The first president of the new Parliament was French a politician - Simone Veil. She was the first woman to head the EP.  

Along with the next widening of the EU,  the number of MEPs increased. In 2007, when Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU, the number of MEPs temporarily increased to 785.  Currently,  there are 750 MEPs plus one – its president, who does not have a vote.

Allocation of MEPs per state cannot be larger than 96 and smaller than 6. 

Today, the EP has wide legislative, budgetary and controlling competencies over other EU institutions. The Lisbon Treaty increased them for more than 40 new areas, where the EP makes decisions along with the European Council; one of them is the budget.  

New practice in the EP is the MEPs rounds of questions to the president of the European Commission. The first time it happened was in 2009 in Strasbourg, when Emanuel Barroso answered their enquiries. 

The EP is a unique institution in the world. There is no other body established in democratic elections with such broad competencies. Deriving from 28 members states, MEPs speak 24 official languages. They represent more than 508 million of citizens. 

The list of the Assembly’s and the Parliament’s presidents until now: 

The Assembly: 

Paul Henri Spaak (Belgium) 1952-1953

Alcide De Gasperi (Italy) 1954

Giuseppe Pella (Italy) 1954-1956

Hans Furler (Federal Republic of Germany) 1956-1958


The Parliament Assembly (of the European Coal and Steel Community, European Economic Community and Euratom):

Robert Schuman (France) 1958-1960

Hans Furler (Federal Republic of Germany) 1960-1962


The Parliament:

Gaetano Martino (Italy) 1962-1964

Jean Duvieusart (Belgium) 1964-1965

Victor Leemans (Belgium) 1965-1966

Alain Poher (France) 1966-1969

Mario Scelba (Italy) 1969-1971

Walter Behrendt (Federal Republic of Germany) 1971-1973

Cornelis Berkhouwer (the Netherlands) 1973-1975

Georges Spenale (France) 1975-1977

Emilio Colombo (Italy) 1977-1979


The Parliament elected in democratic elections:

Simone Veil (France) 1979-1982

Piet Dankert (the Netherlands) 1982-1984

Pierre Pflimlin (France) 1984-1987

Charles Henry Plumb (Great Britain) 1987-1989

Enrique Baron Crespo (Spain) 1989-1992

Egon Klepsch (Germany) 1992-1994

Klaus Haensch (Germany) 1994-1997

Jose Maria Gil-Robles (Spain) 1997-1999

Nicole Fontaine (France) 1999-2002

Pat Cox (Ireland) 2002-2004

Josep Borrell (Spain) 2004-2007

Hans-Gert Poettering (Germany) 2007-2009

Jerzy Buzek (Poland) 2009-2012

Martin Schulz (Germany) 2012-2014 

Gianni Pittella (acting president - Italy) 2014

Martin Schulz (Germany) 2014–2017

Antonio Tajani (Italy) od 2017  


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