Real contributions made by the European Parliament

The European Parliament is the only institution whose powers have continuously grown since 1979, whether this is on a legislative or budgetary level – notably with regard to the Council of Ministers – and in terms of administrative and political control, especially with regard to the European Commission.


In legislative matters

For five years MEPs approve and amend directives and regulations on issues that can have major influence on citizens’ daily lives.

Hence MEPs elected in May 2014 adopted, between 2014 and 2019, more than a thousand texts.

By means of the ordinary legislative procedure, MEPs have had their word to say on 401 legislative texts during this period.

The normative acts adopted by the European Parliament (June 2009 - September 2013)

Parliament and ConseilCouncil aloneMain areas (in numbers of acts)
Directives 70677Industrial policy and internal market (35); Transport policy (22); Environment, consumer protection, healthcare (15).
Regulations201647Industrial policy and internal market (39); Environment, consumer protection and healthcare (34) ; External Relations (25) ; Area of freedom, security and (22).
Source : European Parliament. Calculations : Robert Schuman Foundation

In terms of control

MEPs have various means of controlling the other European institutions. They can decide to open committees of enquiry to investigate breaches of Community law or allegations of maladministration in the application of EU law. This was the case in 2022 with a PEGA committee of enquiry into the use of spyware in Europe. The Parliament can also table a motion of censure against the Commission; the threat of using this procedure led to the resignation of the Santer Commission in 1999. Finally, the Parliament elects the Commission as a whole when it is appointed, and it is now common for MEPs to reject one or more Commissioners-designate at this stage. In 2019, MEPs rejected nominees from France, Romania and Hungary.