The European Parliament represents the citizens of the European Union (EU). It is the only directly elected institution of the European Union and therefore forms the democratic foundation of the EU. Every five years the people of the EU are called to vote. The last elections were held in May 2014 and 751 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who represent the people of the 28 states of the European Union were elected. The meetings of the parliament take place in Brussels and Strasbourg.
The Labour Party currently has 20 MEPs. They are organised in the European Parliament Labour Party (EPLP) which is - together with its (European) sister parties - part of the Progressive Alliance of the Socialists & Democrats (S&D).
Together with other European institutions (such as the European Commission and the European Council), the European Parliament is responsible for European Law making. Since its foundation in 1958, the parliament was able to extend its powers in the legislative arena and now stands on an equal footing with the Council.
The European Parliament additionally plays an important role in the setting of the budget of the European Union. it also scrutinises the work of other European institutions such as the Commission and the European Council. Among the most important scrutinising powers of the parliament is the opportunity for MEPs to ask written and oral questions to the Commission and the Council, who are required to reply.