MEP stands for Member of European Parliament. MEPs are elected representatives of the European Parliament and represent a country's interests in Europe.
What are MEPs Responsible for?
The role of a MEP is not hugely different to that of an MP (Member of Parliament) or MSP (Member of Scottish Parliament), except instead of national issues they will look after European issues. The European Parliament is currently made up of 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who are elected by 28 European Union member countries. 73 of these MEPs are from the UK and six represent Scotland. MEPs are responsible for lots of different things, including representing their constituents, voting on legislation and sitting on specialised committees.
Representing Constituents in Europe
MEPs are responsible for representing their constituents in Europe so this will involve a mix of working in their constituency and in Brussels and Strasbourg where the European Parliament is based. You can go to your MEP to ask for help about issues which are affected by Europe. MEPs will then take this to the European Parliament to see if they can find a solution.
Voting on European Legislation
One of the main tasks of a MEP is to vote on European legislation which is debated in the European Parliament. European legislation is binding throughout the European Union. European laws can cover things like consumer protection, environmental standards, safety standards and social rights. The EU doesn’t make laws in areas that are of national concern like housing, schools, taxes and local authorities.
Just like an MP would debate and vote on national issues at House of Commons, a MEP debates and votes on European issues at the European Parliament.
Sitting on Committees
The European Parliament and MEPs need to make decisions on a wide variety of complex topics which affect the whole world, including climate change, international trade, employment policy and much more. MEPs are responsible for sitting on and participating in specialised committees which prepare the subjects to be discussed by MEPs at the Parliament’s sessions. There are 20 parliamentary committees who meet once or twice a month in Brussels where their debates are public.
European Parliament elections are currently scheduled to take place in the UK on 23 May 2019. Find out everything you need to know about European Parliament election in this guide.