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An observation of a day's schedule and operations of the European Parliament

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In this document, we will study about the European Parliamentary system. I have based this document on the tenets of transparency and truth. I observed the operation of the European Parliament on February 14, 2006, the day of the last debate about famous ?directive services?, known and discussed under the name of ?Bolkestein directive?. This day was also a demonstration against this project of liberalization of the services with about 40,000 people out on the roads of Strasbourg with the call for the European Confederation of the Trade Unions (THESE).

To put together the results of this observation, I will create a report articulated along three major axes. I will first deal with the European Parliament with a view as a traditional institution. Then, I will emphasize on the elements which make the institution so European in nature. Lastly, I will more specifically stick to what was the key note of this Parliamentary session, namely the debate concerning the directive services and the demonstration.

The European Parliament is an elected Assembly by direct universal suffrage, in practice since 1979. It now comprises 732 MEPs or Member of European Parliaments. To present so that this Parliament is a political institution or a similar representative, along the same lines as the National Assembly and the Senate, we can know at the state level, let us study the differences between the stage and what happens behind the scenes, more exactly between the chamber and hallways.

Let's go right to the heart of the Louise Weiss building, one of the hubs of the Union: the chamber where the sitting MEPs operate. We need to understand this high place of functioning as a political democracy at two levels, to consider its role and functioning before we see how its members apply the prerogatives attached to the functions at the institutional level.

On February 16, we met Ms. Trautmann at the IEP of Strasbourg. The first twenty minutes of this meeting was an opportunity for the MEP in Strasbourg to present her way of perceiving the role of the European Parliament. Indeed, as she has been a member since 1989, she is more than ideal to give a perspective on the changes that the institution has experienced. Trautmann believes, rightly, that the Parliament has gained considerable power, particularly through the extension to many subjects of the principle of co-decision with the Council of the EU. However, she quickly points out the limits of that power, since Europe still has no resources of its own, direct taxation, while the transfer of powers are ever more numerous.

It is true that we have seen a rapid evolution of the tasks entrusted to the Parliament. It, in fact , plays in the Union, a growing political role. On the legislative front, the European Parliament, called simply 'assembly', was only "consulted" and its opinion had no binding force. It was governments, meeting in Council, which legislated. But, over the successive treaties, the legislative power of MEPs was increased.

Tags: European Parliament, legislative power of MEPs, parliamentary session

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