Role of an MEP
Just as you elect local councillors to look after your local community and your Westminster MP to represent you nationally, you elect MEPs to represent you in Europe. The European Parliament is the only directly elected international parliament in the world.
EU citizens are free to study, work and live anywhere in the European Union. These freedoms are not automatic. They have been introduced by laws made at European level.
For more than half a century the countries of the European Union have been living together in peace. There are now more than 490 million people in 27 member states living in an area of stability, security and prosperity. Through a process of co-operation, the biggest single market in the world is being created, giving consumers a wider choice, cheaper goods and rights which can be enforced anywhere in the EU. Many problems such as environmental pollution and terrorism do not stop at national borders. The EU is about working together to find effective solutions.
What does your MEP do?
MEPs are elected regionally. The East Midlands region has 5 MEPs. Glenis Willmott is your Labour representative.
MEPs vote on European legislation, just as MPs in the House of Commons vote on national legislation. European legislation is binding across the whole of the European Union. European laws are made by your MEPs and your government ministers acting in the Council of Ministers.
The EU can only make laws in areas permitted by the treaties that govern it. It has no role, for example, in housing, the organisation of schools and colleges, the NHS, the armed services and national taxes. But there are areas in which European legislation is paramount, for example in consumer protection, environmental standards, competition policy, safety standards and social rights.
Your Labour MEPs
Your Labour MEPs want to make sure that Britain feels the full benefit of our membership of the EU. They concentrate on the issues that really matter: jobs, a competitive and sustainable economy, the environment, crime and consumer protection. Labour MEPs work together as the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP). In turn the EPLP are part of the second largest group in the European Parliament, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.
MEPs divide their time between their work in the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg and their constituencies. Glenis will be working in Brussels or Strasbourg from Monday to Thursday, and then back in the constituency on Friday and through the weekend.
MEPs, as individuals and working in their political groups, can have a real impact on the drafting and amendment of European legislation.