The European Parliament: a rising Star?


The first part of the lecture dealt the European Parliament in relation to other EU institutions. The EP consists of 736 Members who were elected in 27 Member States. Also the EP is the body responsible for a decision-making process which includes a range going from cooperation, to co-decision, and approval of each member state. Mr. Dane analyzed the weighting of votes in the Parliament whereby some states such as Germany (99 votes) have more votes than other members. He noted that the European Commission, which internally and externally represents and upholds the interests of the EU, depends on the EP for the approval of budget and funding. Although the European Parliament is one, nonetheless, it has two locations, in Brussels and Strasbourg, and the act of moving from one location to another, costs millions of Euros.

The role of the EP as an international actor is reflected today in the European External Action Service (EEAS) which serves as a foreign ministry and diplomatic corps, and is headed by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (Catherine Ashton).   Its international responsibilities are also carried out in EP Delegations, Joint Parliamentary Assemblies, and control over the budget for external activities.

 Mr. Dane concluded his lecture by discussing the ways in which the EP may be influenced through lobbying, an organized process. 4051 registered lobbyists work with the EP, as well as and 1797 interest organizations.

Thursday, November 24, 2011 - 11