The European Parliament (Europarl or EP) is the directly elected parliamentary body of the European Union (EU). Together with the Council of the European Union (the Council), it forms the bicameral legislative branch of the Union's institutions and has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world.  The Parliament and Council form the highest legislative body within the Union. However their powers as such are limited to the competencies conferred upon the European Community by member states. The Parliament is composed of 785 MEPs (Member of the European Parliament) who serve the second largest democratic electorate in the world (after India) and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world (492 million).
In 1979, its members were directly elected for the first time. This set it apart from similar institutions such as those of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe or Pan-African Parliament which are appointed. After that first election, the parliament held its first session on 11 July 1979, electing Simone Veil as its President. Veil was also the first female President of the Parliament since it was formed as the Common Assembly.
The Parliament quickly made use of its legitimacy. For example in 1984, inspired by its previous work on the Political Community, it drafted the "draft Treaty establishing the European Union". Although it was not adopted, many ideas were later implemented by other treaties. Further more the Parliament began holding votes on proposed Commission Presidents from the 1980s, before it was given any formal right to veto. Since the election the membership of the European Parliament has simply expanded whenever new nations have joined (the membership was also adjusted upwards in 1994 after German reunification).…
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