History of the European Parliament (EP)

The European Parliament was initially known as the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The Assembly first met on September 10th 1952 with 78 representatives from the original six Member States (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg). At that time the Assembly had no legislative powers; it was used as a place for consultation and discussions.

In 1958, the Assembly expanded to 142 members to include representatives from the ECSC and the two newly established communities (European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)). The Assembly was also renamed as the ‘European Parliamentary Assembly’. Its name was subsequently, unofficially, changed to European Parliament on 30 March 1962, which was finally sanctioned by the 1987 Single European Act.

In 1970, the European Parliament was granted some Community Budget powers, and five years later the Parliament was granted powers over the entire budget through the reformed treaty (the Treaty of Luxembourg and the Treaty of Brussels). In 1979, the first directly elected members took the seats of the parliament, with Simone Veil being the first member to be elected as the President of Parliament.

The evolution of the Parliament is closely linked to a succession of treaties culminating in the current Lisbon Treaty (2007). These treaties define the rules and scope of the Union and have turned the ECSC of old into what is now known as the European Union

Further information:




EU Official Journal

EU Legislation Summaries

European Acquis

EU Official Documents by Institution

European Central Bank (ECB)

European Investment Bank (EIB)

European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

European Committee of the Regions (COR)



EU Specialised Databases

EU Open Data Portal

EUROSTAT Statistics

European Central Bank Statistics

Opinion Polls

European Environment Agency (EEA) - data, maps, etc



EU Bookshop

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EU Archives

RAPID - EC Press Releases

EU Media Centre

European Central Library

European Parliament Factsheets