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Parliamentary Questions

by on November 1, 2011

The European Parliament has just launched a mobile website and it is a great tool for keeping up to date with developments from the world’s largest single parliamentary assembly.

The three major institutions of the European Union are the Council, Commission and Parliament.

The Council is the representative body of the 27 Member States of the European Union.

The Commission is the executive body, and notwithstanding the 27 Commissioners and their personal cabinets, is akin to a national civil service.

The Parliament is then the representative assembly of the citizens of the EU. As it is directly elected it strives to reduce the democratic deficits that some commentators suggest exists between EU citizens and the EU decision making process. Since the Treaty of Lisbon, Parliament has greater powers and the number of MEPs will soon be increased from the current 736 to 751.

As has already been noted, the European Parliament recently passed a Written Declaration on Epilepsy. But what exactly is a Written Declaration? It is, in many ways, the opinion of the EP on any given subject. As the EP does not have the power of initiation on EU legislation, this rests with the Commission; it must find ways to influence the Commission’s agenda. These include written declarations, motions for resolutions, oral debates ie. ‘Question Time with the Commission’, and written questions.

A written question is essentially a parliamentary request for further information, although it can also be construed as the opinion of MEPs. Several MEPs have asked questions on epilepsy, ranging from Maltese MEP David Casa’s question on raising awareness of epilepsy to German MEP Catherine Stihler’s question on epilepsy care. All questions on epilepsy are greatly acknowledged and help to influence the Commission to take action in the fight against epilepsy.

The Joint Task Force on Epilepsy would like to thank all MEPs who contribute to the debate on epilepsy and look forward to continuing working closely with European Parliament in furtherance of epilepsy research and awareness priorities.

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