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Why you should care about the European Parliament election

European Union citizens will vote on June 6-9 in elections to choose 720 new members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for the next five years.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT

The European Parliament is one of the three main EU institutions that run the 27-nation bloc. Along with EU governments, it decides on laws that govern common European policies and the EU market of almost 450 million people.

INFLUENCE ON KEY POLICIES

The parliament will shape crucial policies identified by EU leaders as priorities for the next five years:
– the EU’s transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
– industrial policy to keep the EU competitive against China and the United States
– an EU energy union to lower energy prices and make supply more stable
– a Capital Markets Union to help mobilise private money to pay for all that
– boosting the EU’s defence production capabilities

INFLUENCE ON TOP EU JOBS

The results of the election will influence the choice of the next head of the European Commission, the executive arm that has the exclusive power to propose new EU laws.

While there is no such formal requirement, the political grouping that wins the election will have a strong argument that the next Commission head should come from its ranks.

INFLUENCE ON EU MONEY

The next European Parliament will co-decide with EU governments on the next EU budget for 2028-2034, which is now around 1.1 trillion euros ($1.18 trillion).

The next long-term budget might be increased and certainly will have to change in terms of spending priorities to take into account the possible enlargement of the EU to include Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkans.

INFLUENCE ON FUTURE SHAPE OF EU

EU officials and governments say the bloc needs to reform its internal agriculture policy and the way it supports its members to equalise standards of living across the bloc before it admits new countries, especially big ones such as Ukraine.

Many also say the EU needs to change how it makes decisions, reducing the need for unanimity, if more countries are to join.

If such reforms are proposed in the next five years, the parliament will have a crucial role to play in shaping them.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Alison Williams)

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