The 736 Members of the European Parliament are there to represent you, the citizen. They are elected once every five years by voters right across the 27 Member States of the European Union on behalf of its 500 million citizens.
The European Parliament attaches great importance to maintaining close links with the Member States’ national parliaments through regular meetings. This has been particularly the case ever since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, often referred to as "the Treaty of Parliaments".
Parliament has 20 policy committees, which meet, mainly in Brussels, throughout the year. Check out the committee page to find out which committees are meeting, when and what is on the agenda. You can also find information about who is who in the committees, minutes of the meetings, all the working documents and news about hearings and studies.
The plenary sittings are the high point of parliament's work. This is where all the work done by the committees and political groups culminates. It is also where MEPs get to debate with other movers and shakers in the EU. The plenary sittings take place mainly in Strasbourg, the headquarters of the parliament, but some meetings also take place in Brussels.
Intergroups can be formed of Members from any political group and any committee, with a view to holding informal exchanges of views on particular subjects and promoting contact between Members and civil society. Intergroups are not Parliament bodies and therefore may not express Parliament’s opinion.
Visit the Europa website to see the 8 MEPs for the North West UK.
Did you know that in 2010 over 300,000 citizens visited the European parliament in its three places of work. Parliament receives a constant stream of visitors. Many of them come specifically to meet MEPS, and to see at first hand how Parliament works, often having a chance to follow a parliamentary session from the public gallery. Such groups may be students or members of professional associations and trade unions to name just some. Apart from these visitors, there is a constant stream of lobbyists and other representatives to the EP.
Contact Europe Direct Cumbria for advice on how to arrange visits.
Watch the European Parliament live on EuroparlTV.