Member of the European Parliament

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European Parliament ( Strasbourg )

A Member of the European Parliament ( short : MEP ; English Member of the European Parliament , briefly : MEP ) is an elected representative in the European Parliament . German-speaking MEPs call themselves mostly as MEP or MEPs . Although this is not the official term, it is the most frequently used term in the German language.

The MEPs represent the citizens of the Union in the political system of the European Union . They are involved in the legislative process at European level and control the executive branch of the EU, in particular the European Commission . In parliament, the members of the parliament are organized in cross-national parliamentary groups, in which members of parliament with a similar political orientation unite. In order to be able to deal with topics competently, the members of parliament specialize and are accordingly elected into twenty standing committees, which are responsible for certain areas and prepare the work of the plenary sessions.

After the last European elections , the parliament was constituted for the ninth electoral term on July 2, 2019. Template: future / in 3 yearsIn accordance with Article 14 (2) of the Treaty on European Union and supplementary legal provisions, the European Parliament currently consists of 705 representatives of the Union's citizens who are designated as members of the European Parliament , including 96 German, 18 Austrian and 6 Luxembourgish MPs . Due to resignations or deaths, the number of members of parliament may temporarily decrease until the person entitled to resign according to the respective electoral law takes up their mandate. The next direct elections for all members of parliament by citizens of all 27 EU countries with voting rights will take place in 2024 Template: future / in 3 years. In their home countries MEPs are members of over 150 different parties , most of which belong to one of the 12 political parties at European level .

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Members of the
European Parliament
Before 1979 (1952–1979)
1st electoral term (1979–1984)
2nd electoral term (1984–1989)
3rd parliamentary term (1989–1994)
4th legislative term (1994–1999)
5th electoral term (1999-2004)
6th legislative term (2004–2009)
7th legislative term (2009-2014)
8th legislative term (2014-2019)
9th electoral term (2019-2024)

Legal situation

Tasks, rights, obligations, immunity , payment of the MPs and the like are regulated by:

  • the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ( Art. 223 Paragraph 2 and the Protocol (No. 7) on the privileges and immunities of the European Union),
  • the direct election act - decision and act introducing general direct elections for members of the European Parliament ,
  • the Statute for Members of the European Parliament ,
  • the rules of procedure of the European Parliament .

Election of MPs

In the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community , established in 1952 , the predecessor of the European Parliament, the members were appointed by the parliaments of the member states. However, since the 1979 European elections, MEPs have been elected every five years in general, direct, free and secret European elections. These elections take place simultaneously in all Member States, but each with slightly different electoral systems and separate lists. Each Member State sends a fixed number of MEPs, with larger Member States each having more seats than smaller ones, according to the principle of degressive proportionality , while smaller Member States have more seats per inhabitant than larger ones . In detail, the number of seats is set out in the AEU Treaty and can only be changed through a unanimous treaty reform.

Every citizen of the European Union is entitled to vote and can be elected . Citizens who live in an EU member state other than the one of which they are citizens can freely choose in which of these states they exercise their right to vote. The age limits for the right to vote and stand for election are set by the member states.

Compared to national parliaments, the European Parliament has a relatively high exchange rate of parliamentarians. MPs often resign their mandate in order to be elected to their national parliament or to take up a national government office. Since, especially in small member states with few seats in the European Parliament, smaller parties have little chance of gaining a mandate on their own, they sometimes come together to form lists, with the previous agreement to "rotate" after a certain period of time. However, such agreements have no legal value; formally the mandate of each member of parliament lasts until the next European elections and can only be resigned by his or her own will. If a member of parliament leaves parliament, he will be replaced by the runner-up on the respective national electoral list on which he was elected. The longest incumbent MEP, who had been a member of parliament from the 1979 European elections until 2014, was the German Hans-Gert Pöttering ( CDU ).

Until the first European elections in 1979, all MEPs had a so-called “ double mandate ”: They were also members of the European and their respective national parliaments. Even in the first European elections, prominent members of the national parliaments often ran for election, who then held a double mandate. With the increasing powers of the European Parliament and the associated growing workload of a mandate, however, this practice was used less and less and rejected by various parties and member states. Since the European elections in 2004 , double mandates are no longer allowed (with exceptions for Great Britain [until 2009, actually until 2005] and Ireland [until 2007]).

Since Union citizens can also be elected in the state of their place of residence, it happens again and again that members of the European Parliament are not citizens of the country for which they were elected. The following table gives an overview of these MEPs up to and including the 2004 European elections . Three MPs, namely Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Monica Frassoni and Ari Vatanen, have already been elected in several countries.

Surname elected for the first time abroad nationality State of choice European party / political direction
Christine Crawley 1984 IrelandIreland Ireland United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom SPE
Bárbara Dührkop Dührkop 1987 GermanyGermany Germany SpainSpain Spain SPE
Maurice Duverger 1989 FranceFrance France ItalyItaly Italy SPE
Wilmya carpenter 1994 NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands GermanyGermany Germany SPE
Oliver Dupuis 1994 BelgiumBelgium Belgium ItalyItaly Italy Radical Liberals
Daniel Cohn-Bendit 1999 GermanyGermany Germany GermanyGermany Germany (1994, 2004) France (1999, 2009)
Monica Frassoni 1999 ItalyItaly Italy BelgiumBelgium Belgium (1999), Italy (2004)
Willem Schuth 2004 NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands GermanyGermany Germany ELDR
Daniel Stroz 2004 GermanyGermany Germany Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic Tbsp
Ari Vatanen 2004 FinlandFinland Finland FinlandFinland Finland (1999), France (2004)

Share of women and age structure

The proportion of women in MEPs rose from 1979 to 2009 in every European election, from 18% to 35%. It is above the average of the national parliaments in Europe and roughly on par with the German Bundestag (with 31% women since the 2017 Bundestag election ). However, it varies greatly from one Member State to another. In the 2009-2014 legislative period, the proportion of women among Finnish (61.5%) and Swedish MEPs (55.6%) was highest, and among Czech (18.2%) and Maltese MEPs (0%) it was lowest. The proportion of women among German MPs was 37.4%, and among Austrian members it was 41.2%.

In the 1970s in particular, the then largely powerless European Parliament had the reputation of serving primarily as a well-known supply center for old national politicians (which in Germany led to the mockery of " Do you have a grandpa, send him to Europe "); In 1979, the average age of the MPs was 51 years, which was significantly higher than that of the German Bundestag at 47 years. In the meantime, however, the average age in the European Parliament is also under 50 years and about the same as that of national parliaments. The oldest member of parliament in the 2009-2014 legislative period was the Italian Ciriaco De Mita (* 1928), the youngest member was the Swede Amelia Andersdotter (* 1987).

Factions and faction discipline

In the European Parliament, the MEPs organize themselves in political groups that are oriented towards the European parties in which the various national parties are members. There are seven such political groups and a number of non-attached MPs in the 2009–2014 parliamentary term .

According to Art. 6 of the direct election act, the members of parliament “cast their votes individually and personally” and are “neither bound by orders nor by instructions”, so they have a free mandate . In practice, as in other parliaments, this is restricted by parliamentary group discipline. However, due to the heterogeneous composition of the European Parliament, this group discipline is traditionally rather weak; Cross-party majorities on certain issues are more common than in most national parliaments. On the one hand, this can be explained by the fact that the division into government and opposition groups in the European Parliament is largely no longer applicable. On the other hand, the European parties have no influence on the nomination of their national member parties in the European elections: the loyalty of the MPs therefore sometimes does not apply to the parliamentary group as a whole, but primarily to their national group within the group, which has a greater influence on their re-election. In the course of increasing competencies and the associated professionalization of Parliament, however, the unity of the parliamentary groups also increased. In the 2004–2009 legislative period, the members of the larger parliamentary groups voted in around 90% of all decisions in favor of their parliamentary group. The Eurosceptic groups ( UEN and Ind / Dem ), on the other hand, had significantly lower cohesion rates (76% and 47%, respectively).

Compensation and allowances

Historical development

Originally, the members of the European Parliament were paid by their respective countries of origin. In general, the European parliamentarians received the same remuneration as their counterparts at national level. As a result, in 2004, at the end of the 5th electoral term, a Spanish member of the European Parliament received 2,600 euros, while an Italian in the same position received four times that amount with 11,000 euros. The differences were even greater if one considers the salaries of the parliamentarians who have been representing the ten new Eastern European EU members since mid-2004: Their monthly salaries were sometimes only 800 euros. This is problematic in that all MEPs spend a lot of time in Brussels and Strasbourg and have similarly high expenses in line with the price level in these cities. Eastern European MPs are said to have slept in their offices in the parliament building.

For the 6th electoral term it was therefore proposed that all members of parliament should receive a uniform salary of 8,600 euros per month. Since this would have meant drastic increases in some cases, and since Eastern European MPs would have earned up to three times their national heads of government, a strong opposition formed and the plan ultimately failed. For the 7th electoral term starting in July 2009, it was finally agreed on a uniform remuneration for MPs, but at a significantly lower level than was planned five years earlier. The agreement, which was reached in 2005, originally provided for a basic salary of around 7,000 euros and an expense allowance of 3,785 euros. This number increased until it came into force in mid-2009, as the diets are dependent on the salaries of the judges at the ECJ. In addition, the much criticized expense reimbursement system was changed, which in the past had sometimes led to excessive expense claims. In particular, relatives are no longer allowed to be employed as employees, and a receipt must now be presented for reimbursement of travel expenses, as expenses were sometimes charged for trips that were not carried out or the tariff for more expensive means of transport was claimed even though one was traveling with a cheaper means of transport.

Current regulations

A member of the European Parliament currently (as of 2014) has the following rights:

  • A monthly basic salary of EUR 8,020.53 gross, which corresponds to 38.5% of the basic salary of a judge at the European Court of Justice . Of this, an EU tax and an accident insurance contribution have to be paid, which results in a net amount of EUR 6,250.37.
  • From the age of 63, a retirement pension of 3.5% of the salary for each full year of service, but a maximum of 70% of the salary.
  • After leaving parliament, a transitional allowance in the amount of the members' allowance. "This entitlement exists for one month each year in which the mandate is exercised, but for a minimum of six and a maximum of 24 months."
  • A flat monthly expense allowance of 4,320 EUR.
  • The reimbursement of the actual costs incurred for travel to and from the location of the parliamentary sessions or € 0.50 per kilometer if the journey is made in one's own vehicle.
  • A daily allowance of EUR 306 for each day of participation in official meetings of the bodies of the European Parliament.
  • The employment of assistants at the expense of the EU up to a maximum of EUR 21,379 per month including expenses. A maximum of a quarter of this amount can also be used for services such as expert reports from external providers.

Pension fund

The (private, but two-thirds publicly financed) pension fund of the members of parliament fell into a deficit of around 120 million euros in the course of the financial crisis from 2007 onwards due to bad speculation. After the private fund had already been saved twice through taxpayers' money, the European Parliament voted with a narrow majority against further state aid in the third rescue and greater media coverage in 2009. The decision of the parliament for more transparency in the fund was prevented by the then President Hans-Gert Pöttering (CDU).


In order to avoid conflicts of interest, Article 7 of the Direct Election Act lays down certain functions which Members of the European Parliament are not allowed to exercise. Each member state can also stipulate further incompatibilities for the parliamentarians elected in it. The Europe-wide incompatibilities include the following offices:

If someone who holds one of these offices is elected to the European Parliament, he must give up the office before taking up his mandate in Parliament. A special rule applies to members of the Irish Parliament who win a seat in the European elections. They may hold a double mandate until the next Irish general election, but not beyond that.

Conversely, if a MEP wants to take up one of the above-mentioned offices, he must first give up his mandate in the European Parliament. This passes to a successor on the electoral list for which he was elected to parliament. In particular, since it is not uncommon for MEPs to be elected to the national parliaments or governments of their respective states, there is a fairly high turnover of members in the European Parliament compared to most national parliaments.


The candidate countries of the European Union each send a number of observers to the European Parliament, who are usually appointed by the national parliament. These observers can be present at the debates in Parliament and, if invited, speak themselves, but they cannot take part in votes or carry out other official tasks of parliamentarians. After accession, these observers will have full parliamentary status for a transitional period until the next European elections take place or the country organizes by-elections.

After the European elections in 2009 , there were also a number of observers from those states that were entitled to additional MEPs after the enlargement of the Parliament provided for in the Lisbon Treaty . Due to various legal difficulties, they did not become fully fledged MPs even after the Treaty came into force (see list of members of the 7th European Parliament # Additional Members after the Treaty of Lisbon came into force ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Invitation to the constituent meeting. (PDF) European Parliament, accessed on December 21, 2019 .
  2. See Article 1 of the European Parliament's Rules of Procedure (preliminary edition - January 2017. In: . European Parliament .); in the decision of the European Parliament of 28 September 2005 on the adoption of the Statute for Members of the European Parliament (2005/684 / EC, Euratom) (In: Official Journal of the European Union . L 262 of 7 October 2005, pp. 1–10. Online in : EUR-Lex . ) The term Member of the European Parliament is used.
  3. Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Consolidated Version) . In: Official Journal of the European Union . C 326 of October 26, 2012, pp. 47-390. Online in: EUR-Lex .
  4. Direct election act - resolution and act introducing general direct elections for members of the European Parliament of September 20, 1976 ( BGBl. 1977 II p. 733 ), last amended by the decision of the Council of June 25, 2002 and September 23, 2002 ( BGBl. 2003 II p. 810 ; BGBl. 2004 II p. 520 ). In: . The Federal Returning Officer (PDF document; 82.80 KiB).
  5. Decision of the European Parliament of 28 September 2005 on the adoption of the Statute for Members of the European Parliament (2005/684 / EC, Euratom) . In: Official Journal of the European Union . L 262 of October 7, 2005, pp. 1-10. Online in: EUR-Lex .
  6. Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament - provisional edition - January 2017 . In: . European Parliament .
  7. See Article 2 of the European Parliament's decision of 28 September 2005 adopting the Statute for Members of the European Parliament (2005/684 / EC, Euratom) . In: Official Journal of the European Union . L 262 of October 7, 2005, pp. 1–10, here: 3–4. Online in: EUR-Lex .
  8. See Corbett, R. u. a. (2007), The European Parliament , 7th edition. London, John Harper Publishing, p. 21.
  9. European Parliament, Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality , March 8, 2008: Inventory: Women in Europe's Parliaments .
  10. ^ Interparliamentary Union : Women in regional parliamentary assemblies (English).
  11. ^ Badische Zeitung , June 4, 2009: Not just grandpa for Europe .
  12. taz , November 30, 2011: In Parliament thanks to Lisbon .
  13. Cohesion rates of the political groups in the European Parliament 2004-09 (English).
  14. ^ Green European Parliament newcomer Giegold: Faster than Strasbourg allows
  15. (Engl.)
  16. Equal money for EU MPs
  17. European Parliament. Grandma, mother, daughter . In: Der Spiegel . No. 22 , 1998, pp. 18 ( Online - May 25, 1998 ). Second salary. Those who sit in the European Parliament are well looked after. The expense regulations are an invitation to abuse. In: Der Spiegel . No.  29 , 1996, pp. 73-74 ( online - 15 July 1996 ).
  18. ^ "Compensation and allowances" (Parliament's website)
  19. Article 13 (2) of the decision of the European Parliament of 28 September 2005 adopting the Statute for Members of the European Parliament (2005/684 / EC, Euratom) . In: Official Journal of the European Union . L 262 of 7 October 2005, pp. 1–10, here: 6. Online in: EUR-Lex .
  20. Tagesschau , April 23, 2009: No “rescue package” from tax money
  21. Stern , June 2, 2009: Poettering protects luxury pensioners .