This May the citizens of the European Union will be given the opportunity to choose their new overlords, in the only directly elected EU body known as the European Parliament. Voter turnout has consistently been on the decline since elections started in 1979, reaching a record low in 2009. Will this year see a new record?
In addition to being the only directly elected EU body, a few other things set Parliament apart from the rest of the Brussels bureaucracy. Seemingly unbeknownst to most, it does not propose new EU legislation; the best it can do is ask the Commission to submit a proposal. Furthermore, according to its own website the EP “may approve or reject a legislative proposal, or propose amendments to it”. The Council of the European Union, however, “is not legally obliged to take account of Parliament’s opinion but (..) must not take a decision without having received it”.
So while it may be true that the European Parliament’s influence has increased over time, it is sti
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