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EurActiv.com - The European Parliament: More powerful than its reputation | EU - European Information on EU Elections 09
"Bringing citizens closer to Europe (and not bringing Europe closer to citizens) is the biggest challenge" of the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, argues Nicolaus Heinen of Deutsche Bank Research in an April paper.

From 4-7 June, over 375 million EU citizens from 27 member states will directly elect, for a legislative period of five years, 736 members of the European Parliament. But "these elections are being held for a parliament which is often unjustly labelled as insignificant and underestimated," writes Heinen.

"Since its first constituent sitting in 1958, the European Parliament has steadily gained in significance and competences," he argues, pointing out that "over 40% of the national legislation passed in Germany is triggered by EU initiatives".

And "in areas such as agriculture or environmental policy, the share is close to 80%," he adds.

"Unlike the national parliaments, the European Parliament is not dominated by one ruling coalition or party," stresses the researcher. "This allows autonomous, strategic decisions to be made on relevant issues according to specific principles, rather than being dictated by the strictures of partisan politics," he explains.

"The public at large is not sufficiently aware of the European Parliament's influence," Heinen laments, while public interest in the EU assembly "has fallen over the past few years".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:06:51 PM EST
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