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The EP and the Construction of Europe: From the first European elections to the Treaty of Maastricht

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What role has the European Parliament played at some key dates in European history? This stockshot traces the milestones of European construction since the Parliament's point of view.

Part 3: From the first European elections to the Treaty of Maastricht
The first direct elections to the EP are a milestone in the European Community's history. From then on, by allowing direct participation of European citizens to the decision-making process, the European Economic Community (EEC) has a stronger democratic legitimacy. The Parliament and the Commission organise a massive publicity campaign to encourage Europeans to turn out for the vote. Electoral systems vary from one Member State to another, as the voting day also varies in accordance with national policy traditions. Finally, more than 60% of the electorate participate in the elections - a relatively low turn-out. However, it is the beginning of a new era in the relations between the European Institutions and public opinion. Encouraged by its new democratic legitimacy, the European Parliament claims to extend its role in legislative and constitutional affairs. On 17 July 1979, during the first session of the first directly-elected European Parliament, Simone Veil is elected President. She affirms that the Parliament has now a new authority, derived from the direct election, and it must exercise its democratic control over all EU matters. The European Parliament, for the first time directly elected, is eager to give its contribution to the discussion on constitutional reforms. The Assembly approves in 1984, by a large majority, a report by the Italian MEP Altiero Spinelli on a draft Treaty establishing the European Union. The report, also known as the ‘Spinelli Plan’, envisages the creation of a federal European Union, with enlarged powers for the Commission and the EP and the introduction of a majority voting system in the Council. Although the European Council does not take the report into consideration, the Spinelli Plan confirms the role of the EP as the conscience of the original ideal of a united Europe.
SHOTLIST

Type: Stockshots [short]   Reference: I-075536   Date: 01/05/2007   Duration: 20:40   Personalities: Alexander Dubček, Altiero Spinelli, Anouar el- Sadate, Boris Eltsine, Constantin Caramanlis, Enrique Barón Crespo, Henry Plumb, Jacques Chirac, Jacques Delors, Karol Józef Wojtyła, King of Spain Juan Carlos, Lech Wałęsa, Louise Weiss, Margaret Thatcher, Mário Soares, Pierre Pflimlin, Ronald Reagan, Simone Veil, Václav Havel   Location: Belgium,Berlin - Berlin Wall,Brussels - EC/Berlaymont,Brussels - EP,France,Ireland,Luxembourg [town],Netherlands,Strasbourg,Strasbourg - EP,United Kingdom  
Languages: ORIGINAL,

Tags: European Parliament , History of European Integration
Documents: LINKS,
© European Union, 2007   /   Source: EC - Audiovisual Service
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