European elections: What do MEPs do?

Pro-European, Eurosceptic, or completely apathetic about the UK’s role in Europe? As long as we are members of the European Union, the European Parliament plays a big part in our lives, so surely it’s better to have some say over its make up. Vote for your MEPs.

MEPs are our elected representatives in the European Union. Their job is to represent the interests of London and Londoners in Europe. They do this by listening to people with local and national concerns, to interest groups and businesses. They also question and lobby the Commission (which is a bit like the Civil Service of the EU) and the Council of Ministers (which is basically made up of each country’s minister for Europe).

Above all, MEPs pass laws and as we all know, European laws affect much of our life, such as:

Working hours
Pesticides used on crops
Roaming mobile phone charges
Making children’s toys safe;
Air and water pollution levels
Getting healthcare in another EU country

MEPs also play an important role on the big issues of our times such as climate change, human rights, and financial market regulation

MEPs have the power to approve, amend or reject nearly all EU legislation. They hold the European Commission to account and can force it to resign.

The European Parliament also decides on the EU budget and influences how EU money is spent.

(this is taken largely from:

I’m not going to pretend that understanding the intricacies of European government is easy, it’s not. If you want to know more, then the EU’s website has loads of info, but you might find Wikipedia more digestible.

Find out more about who’s standing, or go back to our basic guide to the European elections.