After Australia and Oceania, Europe is the smallest continent on earth. It currently comprises 47 independent countries (with Turkey and Russia). Russia has the largest total area and the most inhabitants – with the Russian state only partially belonging to the European continent. Apart from that, Germany has the most inhabitants with 82 million. The largest city in Europe with around 10,000,000 inhabitants is Moscow, followed by London with around 7,600,000 inhabitants, according to AbbreviationFinder.org.
|Andorra||464||72,300||Andorra la Vella|
|Great Britain and northern Ireland||244,820||60,440,000||London|
|San Marino||61||29,000||San Marino|
Note: According to Countryaah.com, Europe is world’s most densely populated continent.
The European Parliament
The European Parliament, the European Parliament, whose members have been elected by direct elections in the respective EU Member States since 1979. Members often want to have a political affiliation in their home country and group themselves in Parliament by political conviction and not by nationality.
The tasks of the European Parliament range from legislation in cooperation with the Council of Ministers to various types of monitoring and control functions in relation to the other EU institutions.
The European Parliament’s role in EU legislation has been strengthened with the Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Treaties, as the number of areas decided by the European Parliament in cooperation with the Council of Ministers has been significantly expanded.
The most important oversight function of the European Parliament consists in the annual approval of the EU budget and the previous year’s accounts. In addition, Parliament exercises democratic control over the European Commission and has the power to collectively dismiss the Commission through a vote of no confidence. The European Parliament is based in Strasbourg.
Elections to the European Parliament
Direct elections of members to the European Parliament are held every five years in EU Member States. Before 1979, the members were appointed by the individual national parliaments. In Denmark, (2014) 13 of the total 751 members are elected. Elections to the European Parliament are not held in the Faroe Islands and in Greenland, as these parts of the kingdom are not covered by the EU.
The 13 Danish representatives are elected by proportional elections according to candidate lists, which are drawn up for the whole country as a whole.
Parties represented in parliament or in the European Parliament by virtue of elections or who have made a party declaration to the European Parliament elections are entitled to draw up candidate lists. Elections can be made between two or more candidate lists. The distribution of seats and the selection of the selected candidates takes place according to the same rules as in municipal elections.
The right to vote in the European Parliament in Denmark has anyone who has the right to vote in the Danish Parliament or has Danish citizenship (citizenship), has attained the age of right to vote in the Danish Parliament (18 years) and is permanently resident in one of the other Member States of the EU, unless he or she is under legal guardianship with the deprivation of legal capacity (unauthorized) or a national of one of the other Member States of the EU, has attained the age of suffrage to the Folketing and has a permanent residence in Denmark, unless authorized.
Anyone who has the right to vote will also usually be eligible, ie. meet the conditions for being elected to the European Parliament.
In all EU countries, elections to the European Parliament are held according to the country’s own electoral rules, which are set nationally. Despite various efforts, alignment of national rules has not taken place.
Elections were recently held for the European Parliament in Denmark on 25 May 2014. The voting percentage was 56.3 and the 13 seats were distributed as follows: The Danish People’s Party got four, the Social Democrats three, the Left two, and the Socialist People’s Party, the Conservative People’s Party, the People’s Movement against the EU and the Radical Left each got a mandate. The Liberal Alliance also stood, but got no mandate.
Enlargement of the Union may affect the political constellations of the European Parliament, but will hardly change the basic political patterns which have been found to be relatively stable. Only a few of the political groups in the European Parliament have the character of European parties.
However, the two largest and most powerful groups, the socialist group and the Christian-democratic group, are quite well organized. In the Socialist group, the British Labor and German Social Democracy, the SPD, constitute major national delegations, and in the Christian-Democratic group, the German Christian-Democratic Party, the CDU, is among the most prominent.
The traditional right-to-left split, known by many national parliaments, is not very prominent in the European Parliament. Firstly, the European Parliament does not choose a European government, and therefore there is no clear division between government and opposition; partly national, regional and grassroots views side by side with traditional party lines, so that the ideological differences are often significant within the individual party groups.
In the liberal group, for example, there is a significant difference between the liberal parties from northern Europe, who are on the right on the political scale, and from southern Europe, where they are often on the left. Finally, the decision-making rules force the right and left sides to cooperate.
Thus, where the European Parliament has real influence, it is usually a requirement that an absolute majority can be gathered, ie. a majority of all parliamentarians. Since neither of the two ideological blocs has so far been able to gather an absolute majority alone, the result has been a close collaboration between the two largest party groups, socialists and Christian democrats.
On the other hand, in less important cases where decisions can be made by a simple majority, coalition formation is often based on a right-left divide.
The gathering around the large groups means that in practice the influence of the smaller and smaller party groups in the European Parliament is very limited; the same applies to those Member States whose representation in large party groups is modest.
Every year since 1988, the European Parliament has awarded the Sakharov Prize to a person or organization fighting for freedom of expression and human rights.