• Compiled by Mark Johnson (SAV)

The European Parliament and its Members of the European Parliament (MEP’s) – A Guide.

The European Parliament (abbreviated as EU Parliament or the EP) is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU). Together with the Council of the European Union (the Council) and the European Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU. The Parliament is composed of 751 (previously 766) members (MEP’s), who represent the second largest democratic electorate in the world (after the Parliament of India) and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world (375 million eligible voters in 2009).

 Although the European Parliament has legislative power that the Council and Commission do not possess, it does not formally possess legislative initiative, as most national parliaments of European Union member states do. The Parliament is the “first institution” of the EU (mentioned first in the treaties, having ceremonial precedence over all authority at European level) and shares equal legislative and budgetary powers with the Council (except in a few areas where the special legislative procedures apply). It likewise has equal control over the EU budget.

The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, is accountable to Parliament. In particular, Parliament elects the President of the Commission, and approves (or rejects) the appointment of the Commission as a whole. It can subsequently force the Commission as a body to resign by adopting a motion of censure.

The President of the European Parliament (Parliament’s speaker) is Martin Schulz, elected in January 2012. He presides over a multi-party chamber, the two largest groups being the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). The last union-wide elections were the 2014 elections. The European Parliament has three places of work – Brussels (Belgium), the city of Luxembourg (Luxembourg) and Strasbourg (France). Luxembourg is home to the administrative offices (the ‘General Secretariat’). Meetings of the whole Parliament (‘plenary sessions’) take place in Strasbourg and in Brussels. Committee meetings are held in Brussels.

Read a lot more on the functioning of the Parliament and associated bodies at

To find national (country) Members of the European Parliament (MEP)

Click on the following link to see all the nations that comprise the EU.  Run your mouse over the map and you will be given the number of MEP’s that represent each nation in the European Parliament –

This is the start for making any direct contact with individual Members of the European Parliament.

Click on the / your nation of interest – the MEP’s of which country you wish to contact.  You will be provided with a full listing of all the MEP’s that represent that country; for example; the UK has 73 MEP’s – each of which is shown photographically.  Further click on the name of any individual MEP to find out more about them and their full individual contact details.

Alternatively; here is a full alphabetical name listing of all MEP’s; not in national order, but by name A-Z:;jsessionid=8E607FEADC3D0F7A49DE6D8A5A63A4D6.node2

Click on any name and you will be directed to a personal information page.  On this page will be an e mail address where you can make contact with that particular MEP.

If you are an EU citizen from a member state, using this process you can make direct contact with (your) MEP’s to ask them to represent you and express your concerns regarding animals in Serbia.

The EU comprises a series of Commissions.  The Commission makes direct financial contributions in the form of grants in support of projects or organisations which further the interests of the EU or contribute to the implementation of an EU programme or policy. Interested parties can apply by responding to calls for proposals.  Find out more at

Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

The Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The body is responsible for the enlargement process of the European Union and neigbourhood policy, including the future membership of Serbia. The European Union over the years has expanded to 28 member states from the first six who signed the Treaty of Rome.

In 2007 the Directorate-General was organised into five directorates:

Directorate A: Strategic coordination

Directorate B: the Republic of Macedonia,] Turkey, Iceland

Directorate C: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo Issues

Directorate D: Financial Instruments & Regional Programmes

Directorate E: Resources

Commissioner (2014-2019)

Johannes Hahn – European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations.


– Deepening relations with neighbours of the EU to the south and east, in the EU’s interest and in the interests of our partners

– Promoting stability at Europe’s borders and helping neighbouring countries to develop stable democratic institutions and to become more prosperous, under the European Neighbourhood Policy.

– Coordinating the EU’s offer of closer cooperation in areas like trade, mobility, energy, and education to create tailor-made partnerships to develop relations with each neighbour.

– Continuing ongoing EU membership negotiations, and helping to prepare those countries with a membership perspective for future challenges.

– Supporting pre-accession countries in implementing democratic and economic reforms, upholding the rule of law, strengthening economic governance and competitiveness, developing a well-functioning public administration, and building bridges with neighbouring countries.

EU Candidate Nations – the current status:

Conditions for membership

Membership criteria – Who can join?

The Treaty on the European Union states that any European country may apply for membership if it respects the democratic values of the EU and is committed to promoting them.

The first step is for the country to meet the key criteria for accession. These were mainly defined at the European Council in Copenhagen in 1993 and are hence referred to as ‘Copenhagen criteria’. Countries wishing to join need to have:

– stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities;

– a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competition and market forces in the EU;

– the ability to take on and implement effectively the obligations of membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.

The EU also needs to be able to integrate new members.

In the case of the countries of the Western Balkans additional conditions for membership, were set out in the so-called ‘Stabilisation and Association process’, mostly relating to regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations.

What is negotiated?

The conditions and timing of the candidate’s adoption, implementation and enforcement of all current EU rules (the “acquis”).

These rules are divided into 35 different policy fields (chapters), such as transport, energy, environment, etc., each of which is negotiated separately.

They are not negotiable:

– candidates essentially agree on how and when to adopt and implement them.

– the EU obtains guarantees on the date and effectiveness of each candidate’s measures to do this.

Other issues discussed:

– financial arrangements (such as how much the new member is likely to pay into and receive from the EU budget (in the form of transfers)

– transitional arrangements – sometimes certain rules are phased in gradually, to give the new member or existing members time to adapt.

Oversight by the EU institutions

Throughout the negotiations, the Commission monitors the candidate’s progress in applying EU legislation and meeting its other commitments, including any benchmark requirements.

This gives the candidate additional guidance as it assumes the responsibilities of membership, as well as an assurance to current members that the candidate is meeting the conditions for joining.

The Commission also keeps the EU Council and European Parliament informed throughout the process, through regular reports, strategy papers and  (526 kB)clarifications on conditions for further progress.





Serbia is currently NOT a member stata of the EU.

If and when they do join, they will be required to comply with EU Regulations and Directives associated with all issues of animal welfare; from conditions on farms through to conditions in laboratories and regulations for animals in transport.


How the EU Parliament is Organised

The European Parliament is the only supranational institution whose members are democratically elected by direct universal suffrage. It represents the people of the Member States. The European Parliament, which is elected every five years, is involved in drafting numerous laws (directives, regulations etc.) that affect the daily life of every citizen.


Finding any MEP in Europe – a ‘Euromap’:


Finding any MEP by the alphabetical name list can be done via the following link:


To find MEPs by individual Member States and their associated political group (7th parliamentary term), use the following link:


The Role of a MEP

The Members of the European Parliament (MEP) are elected every five years under the proportional representation system. The election is held by direct universal suffrage.

Voting systems vary, depending on the relevant member state country. MEPs exercise their mandate independently and cannot be bound by instructions or receive a binding mandate.

For the period 2009-2014, the European Parliament has 736 MEPs, with a different number from each of the 27 Member States.

The number of MEPs representing each Member State (country) varies depending on the number of inhabitants; each country has a fixed number of seats, ranging from 99 for Germany to 5 for Malta.

MEP’s do not sit in national delegations but are grouped in transnational political groups according to their political affinities.

A parliamentary committee is responsible for ensuring that any information that may affect the performance of the duties of a Member of the European Parliament or the ranking of substitutes is forwarded to Parliament without delay by the authorities of the Member States or of the Union, with an indication of the date of effect where an appointment is concerned.


Animal WelfareEurogroup for Animals


Eurogroup for Animals is (although our recent experiences of March 2018 regarding live animal transports would show differently) the leading voice for animal welfare at European Union level providing a voice for the billions of animals kept in laboratories, farms and homes or living in the wild.

The Eurogroup is recognised by the European Parliament and Commission as the leading animal welfare organisation at EU level and represent animal welfare interests on many EU advisory committees and consultation bodies.

Companion Animals

Companion 1 RSPCA

(Photo: RSPCA)

It is estimated that there are around 60 million owned dogs and 64 million owned cats in the European Union, but there is currently very little EU legislation to protect their welfare.

National legislation can vary greatly, with some countries having strict legislation to protect dogs and cats and others having very little at all.

This means that whilst many dogs and cats in the EU are loved and cared for as members of the family, the way in which they are treated can vary greatly across Europe.

Dogs and Cats in the EU

A wide range of serious welfare issues can affect dogs and cats in the European Union and some of these can affect them for large parts of, or all of their lives. The Eurogroup are particularly concerned about issues such as irresponsible breeding, trade and movements across borders.







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