Frequently Asked Questions
European Parliament elections are currently scheduled to take place in the UK on 23rd May 2019.
What does the European Parliament do?
The European Parliament represents people living in the 28 member countries of the European Union (EU). It has powers in a range of areas that affect member countries and can approve, change or reject new European laws.
How is it made up?
The European Parliament is currently made up of 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who are elected by 28 European Union member countries.
Each country decides on the form its election will take, but must guarantee equality of the sexes and a secret ballot. EU elections are by proportional representation. Voting age is 18, aside from Austria, where it is 16. Seats are allocated on the basis of population of each Member State. Slightly more than a third of MEPs are women. MEPs are grouped by political affinity, not nationality. MEPs divide their time between their constituencies, Strasbourg - where 12 plenary sittings a year are held - and Brussels, where they attend additional plenary sittings, as well as committee and political group meetings. The terms and conditions for Members are laid out in the Statute of 2009. Find out more here.
The UK is currently represented by these 72 elected MEPs from 12 regions within the UK.
How is it elected?
England, Scotland and Wales
You have one vote to elect all of the MEPs for your region. Each party puts forward a list of candidates (known as a regional list) and you vote for one of these lists or for an individual candidate standing as an independent. The number of MEPs that are elected from each party to represent a region depends on the overall share of votes that each party receives.
In NI, they use a different voting system where you vote by ranking the candidates in order of preference. This is called the Single Transferable Vote.
What has the EU done for my region?
How does the EU affect our everyday lives? How does it impact our jobs, our families, our health care, our hobbies, our journeys, our security, our consumer choices and our social rights? And how is the EU present in our towns, cities and regions? As EU citizens, no matter where we live or how we make our living or spend our time, the EU has had an impact on our daily lives. Ahead of the 2019 European elections, here is a series of short notes exploring EU achievements from the individual’s point of view. You can also dig deeper to look at the longer briefing papers on EU policies in focus.