European Parliament

Keith is one of three UK Green MEPs alongside, Jean Lambert and Molly Scott Cato; they sit together in the 52-strong Greens/EFA political group in the European Parliament.

From Plenary speeches to oral questions, via legislative reports, to keep up to date with Keith's latest work in the European Parliament, please visit his profile on the EP's website.

Events, hearings, debates and voting sessions in the European Parliament can all be live-streamed using the EPTV service.

FAQ

  • Q: What is the role of the European Parliament?

    A: The European Parliament is one of the three main EU bodies. The others are the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. The European Parliament plays a vital role in the creating European law.

    The Treaty of Amsterdam 1997 granted the European Parliament a more central role in policy-making. Greens are calling for yet more reform, however, as they believe the European Parliament's influence is still relatively small compared to the Council and Commission.

    More on the European Institutions and their roles.

    More on the European Parliament.

    More on the European Commission.

    More on the Council of the European Council.

  • Q: How are decisions made in the European Parliament?

    A: The process by which decisions are reached in the European Parliament depends on the type of legislation being made.

    Much of the work which influences decisions taken by the Parliament takes place at an informal level, outside the formal committee meetings and plenary sessions.

    Informal processes include lobbying by the public, businesses, and NGOs among other groups, and meetings with representatives from Member States, the Commission, Council, or Presidency and bodies such as the Economic and Social Committee.

    Within the Parliament, MEPs that draft reports on legislation for committees are known as Rapporteurs. Initially, they will discuss their report with their colleagues and advisers within political groupings. Subsequently, there is a considerable amount of negotiation between MEPs and political groups in an effort to rally as much support as possible for the reports, which are then voted on.

  • Q: What are the European Parliament committees?

    A: There are 20 permanent Committees in the European Parliament dealing with different subject areas. Each Committee is made up of MEPs who a mix of full members and ’substitute’ members.

    There are also a number of Special Committees which are formed as important matters arise – for example, the Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion, and Tax Avoidance Committee set up by the Greens/EFA group.

    The full list of committees is here.

    When a piece of draft legislation is sent to Parliament from the Commission, it is delegated to the relevant Committee. The Committee allocates one of its members as ‘Rapporteur,’ following a negotiation between the political groups. The Rapporteur is responsible for writing a report on the Commission's proposals on behalf of the Committee. A typical report would consist of a number of amendments, where the Rapporteur thinks improvements need to be made.

    Normally, other Committees also produce an Opinion on the original proposal. For example, the Civil Liberties Committee has the responsibility for producing the Report on the proposal for a Community Immigration Policy. At the same time, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee has been tasked with writing an opinion on the proposal. The opinion will call on the Civil Liberties Committee to include certain points in its report relevant to the proposal's employment and social impacts.

    Once the Rapporteur has produced the report, other Committee members may submit amendments to the text. The report then goes to vote in the Committee – the Committee votes on whether to accept each submitted amendment into the text and finally whether to accept the report as a whole.

    The majority of reports are accepted and go on to be voted on by the whole Parliament in the plenary session. This is when the whole Parliament meets to discuss and amend reports, before putting them to a vote. If adopted, the report becomes the European Parliament's position on the proposals.

  • Q: What role do European Parliament committees play?

    A: If a committee report is adopted by a vote in the European Parliament, it is then passed to the Council.

    What happens at this stage depends on the procedure the proposal falls under. Similarly, the number of times a piece of legislation 'ping-pongs' between the bodies before it is adopted as a piece of EU legislation varies according to the procedure.

    The legal basis of each proposal, as set out in the EU Treaties, determines under which procedure it falls under.

    The process can take years. Parliament often has to deal with the same proposal twice, as there is frequently a ‘Second Reading’ (if it is co-decision procedure – see below). There are four different procedures; co-decision, consultation, cooperation, and consent.

    How much influence the Parliament’s decision has on the final piece of legislation varies – it is just one of the institutions involved in forming legislation. There is often a lot of bargaining and negotiation between the different institutions.

    On most matters, the Parliament’s opinion must be taken into account, and the legislation cannot be passed without Parliament’s agreement. This is called the co-decision procedure.

    On some matters, however, the Parliament gives an opinion that does not have to be taken into account by the Council, which has the final say. This is called the consultation procedure.

    There is also a cooperation procedure, whereby the Parliament has more of a say than in the consultation procedure but less than in co-decision. This is rarely used.

    Finally, there is the consent procedure, which is strictly limited to special measures.

    The procedure which covers a legislative proposal depends, broadly speaking, on its subject area. Since 1997, more and more EU legislation is subject to the co-decision procedure which grants the European Parliament the most power. However, some agricultural, justice and home affairs, trade, fiscal harmonisation, and EMU issues still fall outside the co-decision procedure.

  • Q: What is the role of lobbying?

    A: There are a large number of politicians, political party groupings, advisers, and staff working on any piece of proposed legislation in the Parliament who may influence MEPs' decisions. However, in addition to that, MEPs are lobbied from all sides.

    Lobbyists include:

    - individuals, especially constituents
    - businesses and firms with an interest in the outcome
    - non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with an interest in the outcome
    - professional lobbying organisations hired to lobby on behalf of organisations or firms

    The amount of lobbying, where it emanates and to who it is directed varies from one issue to the next. It often depends on factors such as who the interest groups are and how controversial the issue is.

    Sometimes all MEPs are lobbied on an issue. Sometimes the lobbying is more targetted for more specialised topics.

    There is no way of measuring the real influence of lobbying, but there is no doubt it has an effect. Lobbying works by:

    - informing MEPs about the opinions of their constituents and European citizens in general
    - pointing out new angles and arguments on a subject
    - bringing a particular report or proposal to someone’s attention

    Sometimes it is the sheer volume of lobbying on a particular issue that has an effect but just one letter can make a difference.

    It is the effect of corporate lobbying that is of concern to the Greens, as it often seeks to water down of important legislative proposals, for example, on animal testing and the control of chemicals.

    Powerful industry lobbyists not only apply pressure to MEPs, they also influence the European Commission and the Council of Ministers. Greens continue to argue that there needs to be tighter and more transparent regulation of lobbying.

    The Greens/EFA group uses the LobbyCal system to openly record all of the meetings its MEPs have with groups, organisations or firms that could be considered lobbyists.

  • Q: Where can I find out more about how the European Union works?

    A: The European Union website is a good place to start. However, the independent fact-checking charity Full Fact also has a useful series of easy-to-read mythbusters on EU issues.

Transparency

MEPs receive a salary and allowances which helps them to carry out their parliamentary work and represent their constituents.

As of 2016, all MEPs receive a monthly pre-tax salary of €8,484.05. They pay EU tax and accident insurance contributions, after which the monthly salary is €6,611.47. UK MEPs also pay National Insurance contributions under the UK system and the difference between EU and national tax. MEPs’ basic salary is set at 38.5% of the basic salary of a judge at the European Court of Justice. At present, there is no formal requirement for MEPs to disclose their expenditure, but Keith believes in Transparency. He publishes an itemised spending summary and all office expenditure receipts over £25. Keith continues to actively campaign for reform to the MEP allowance system.

- Keith’s spending summary, receipts and certificates

Staff costs

Keith’s staff members are paid from a budget called the ‘parliamentary allowance’. This allowance covers staff salaries as well as associated costs such as pensions, national insurance, tax, and training. This allowance can also be used to cover temporary staff costs and expenses for interns and volunteers.

The maximum staff allowance available for each MEP is €24,526 a month. MEPs do not receive any of this money directly. Brussels-based staff costs are administered by the European Parliament and UK-based staff costs are administered by a paying agent.

Keith currently has a Constituency Coordinator and a Media Officer based in the UK and four Parliamentary Assistants based in Brussels. He also has four part-time Regional Liaison Officers covering Surrey, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight. Keith's Constituency Coordinator covers Kent. None of Keith’s employees are relatives. See Keith’s most recent spending summary for information on his staff costs including staff pay bands.

Office costs

Keith receives a so-called ‘general expenditure allowance’ to cover his office costs. This includes expenditure on the constituency office rent, phones, IT and utility bills.

MEPs receive €4,416 a month to cover these costs. Keith’s office publishes receipts for this money. The allowance is halved if an MEP fails to attend at least half of the Strasbourg plenary sessions, without seeking prior permission, for example, due to illness.

Keith is committed to transparency so he has chosen to publish all receipts for office expenditure of £25 and over on his website. See Keith’s most recent spending summary for information office expenditure.

Travel

Keith is reimbursed for the cost of travel from between his constituency and Brussels, or Strasbourg, on presentation of the presentation of evidence.

Keith also receives a fixed allowance based on the distance and duration of the journey to cover other travel costs when attending official parliamentary meetings.

Keith can also claim for travel within the constituency on presentation of evidence. Keith is a Green MEP and, naturally, travels by rail and public transport, avoiding air travel whenever possible.

Keith recognises that carbon offsetting flights is not a solution, he does think that, however, when combined with a serious and committed effort to choose the most sustainable form of transport for any given journey, it can play a role. Keith, therefore, chooses to personally fund carbon offsetting for any flights he has to take as part of his Parliamentary duties and publishes the relevant offsetting certificates.

Occasionally Keith may need to travel outside the EU. For example, he is a member of the parliamentary delegation to Palestine which sometimes involves travel abroad. This travel is covered by the European Parliament.

Keith also can claim for travel, accommodation and associated expenses for other visits up to an annual limit of €4264. To claim these travel costs MEPs must present their tickets and documents.

See Keith’s most recent spending summary for information on Keith’s travel costs.

Accommodation and food

Because MEPs are required to move frequently between their constituencies and the European Parliament’s two main places of work (Brussels and Strasbourg), they can claim a subsistence allowance to cover expenses such as hotel rooms and/or flat rental and meals.

This allowance is a payment of €306 per day. It is made if the MEP signs the official register or the attendance list at the official meeting. During Parliament’s plenary sessions, the amount is halved if an MEP is not present for 50% of the roll-call votes.

Parliament pays a sum of €153 a day, plus accommodation and breakfast expenses, for attendance at meetings held outside the European Community, provided that the MEP signs the official attendance register for the meeting.

Lobbying

Keith is a member of the Green/EFA group in the European Parliament. The group has consistently called for reform and greater transparency for the MEP allowances system.

Greens continue to campaign to abolish the European Parliament’s monthly move to Strasbourg, which is both hugely costly and environmentally damaging.

The Greens are also campaigning for the introduction of transparent rules on the funding of political parties.

The Greens/EFA group uses the LobbyCal system to openly record all of the meetings its MEPs have with groups, organisations or firms that could be considered lobbyists.

European Parliament

Keith is one of three UK Green MEPs alongside, Jean Lambert and Molly Scott Cato; they sit together in the 52-strong Greens/EFA political group in the European Parliament.

From Plenary speeches to oral questions, via legislative reports, to keep up to date with Keith's latest work in the European Parliament, please visit his profile on the EP's website.

Events, hearings, debates and voting sessions in the European Parliament can all be live-streamed using the EPTV service.

FAQ

  • Q: What is the role of the European Parliament?

    A: The European Parliament is one of the three main EU bodies. The others are the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. The European Parliament plays a vital role in the creating European law.

    The Treaty of Amsterdam 1997 granted the European Parliament a more central role in policy-making. Greens are calling for yet more reform, however, as they believe the European Parliament's influence is still relatively small compared to the Council and Commission.

    More on the European Institutions and their roles.

    More on the European Parliament.

    More on the European Commission.

    More on the Council of the European Council.

  • Q: How are decisions made in the European Parliament?

    A: The process by which decisions are reached in the European Parliament depends on the type of legislation being made.

    Much of the work which influences decisions taken by the Parliament takes place at an informal level, outside the formal committee meetings and plenary sessions.

    Informal processes include lobbying by the public, businesses, and NGOs among other groups, and meetings with representatives from Member States, the Commission, Council, or Presidency and bodies such as the Economic and Social Committee.

    Within the Parliament, MEPs that draft reports on legislation for committees are known as Rapporteurs. Initially, they will discuss their report with their colleagues and advisers within political groupings. Subsequently, there is a considerable amount of negotiation between MEPs and political groups in an effort to rally as much support as possible for the reports, which are then voted on.

  • Q: What are the European Parliament committees?

    A: There are 20 permanent Committees in the European Parliament dealing with different subject areas. Each Committee is made up of MEPs who a mix of full members and ’substitute’ members.

    There are also a number of Special Committees which are formed as important matters arise – for example, the Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion, and Tax Avoidance Committee set up by the Greens/EFA group.

    The full list of committees is here.

    When a piece of draft legislation is sent to Parliament from the Commission, it is delegated to the relevant Committee. The Committee allocates one of its members as ‘Rapporteur,’ following a negotiation between the political groups. The Rapporteur is responsible for writing a report on the Commission's proposals on behalf of the Committee. A typical report would consist of a number of amendments, where the Rapporteur thinks improvements need to be made.

    Normally, other Committees also produce an Opinion on the original proposal. For example, the Civil Liberties Committee has the responsibility for producing the Report on the proposal for a Community Immigration Policy. At the same time, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee has been tasked with writing an opinion on the proposal. The opinion will call on the Civil Liberties Committee to include certain points in its report relevant to the proposal's employment and social impacts.

    Once the Rapporteur has produced the report, other Committee members may submit amendments to the text. The report then goes to vote in the Committee – the Committee votes on whether to accept each submitted amendment into the text and finally whether to accept the report as a whole.

    The majority of reports are accepted and go on to be voted on by the whole Parliament in the plenary session. This is when the whole Parliament meets to discuss and amend reports, before putting them to a vote. If adopted, the report becomes the European Parliament's position on the proposals.

  • Q: What role do European Parliament committees play?

    A: If a committee report is adopted by a vote in the European Parliament, it is then passed to the Council.

    What happens at this stage depends on the procedure the proposal falls under. Similarly, the number of times a piece of legislation 'ping-pongs' between the bodies before it is adopted as a piece of EU legislation varies according to the procedure.

    The legal basis of each proposal, as set out in the EU Treaties, determines under which procedure it falls under.

    The process can take years. Parliament often has to deal with the same proposal twice, as there is frequently a ‘Second Reading’ (if it is co-decision procedure – see below). There are four different procedures; co-decision, consultation, cooperation, and consent.

    How much influence the Parliament’s decision has on the final piece of legislation varies – it is just one of the institutions involved in forming legislation. There is often a lot of bargaining and negotiation between the different institutions.

    On most matters, the Parliament’s opinion must be taken into account, and the legislation cannot be passed without Parliament’s agreement. This is called the co-decision procedure.

    On some matters, however, the Parliament gives an opinion that does not have to be taken into account by the Council, which has the final say. This is called the consultation procedure.

    There is also a cooperation procedure, whereby the Parliament has more of a say than in the consultation procedure but less than in co-decision. This is rarely used.

    Finally, there is the consent procedure, which is strictly limited to special measures.

    The procedure which covers a legislative proposal depends, broadly speaking, on its subject area. Since 1997, more and more EU legislation is subject to the co-decision procedure which grants the European Parliament the most power. However, some agricultural, justice and home affairs, trade, fiscal harmonisation, and EMU issues still fall outside the co-decision procedure.

  • Q: What is the role of lobbying?

    A: There are a large number of politicians, political party groupings, advisers, and staff working on any piece of proposed legislation in the Parliament who may influence MEPs' decisions. However, in addition to that, MEPs are lobbied from all sides.

    Lobbyists include:

    - individuals, especially constituents
    - businesses and firms with an interest in the outcome
    - non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with an interest in the outcome
    - professional lobbying organisations hired to lobby on behalf of organisations or firms

    The amount of lobbying, where it emanates and to who it is directed varies from one issue to the next. It often depends on factors such as who the interest groups are and how controversial the issue is.

    Sometimes all MEPs are lobbied on an issue. Sometimes the lobbying is more targetted for more specialised topics.

    There is no way of measuring the real influence of lobbying, but there is no doubt it has an effect. Lobbying works by:

    - informing MEPs about the opinions of their constituents and European citizens in general
    - pointing out new angles and arguments on a subject
    - bringing a particular report or proposal to someone’s attention

    Sometimes it is the sheer volume of lobbying on a particular issue that has an effect but just one letter can make a difference.

    It is the effect of corporate lobbying that is of concern to the Greens, as it often seeks to water down of important legislative proposals, for example, on animal testing and the control of chemicals.

    Powerful industry lobbyists not only apply pressure to MEPs, they also influence the European Commission and the Council of Ministers. Greens continue to argue that there needs to be tighter and more transparent regulation of lobbying.

    The Greens/EFA group uses the LobbyCal system to openly record all of the meetings its MEPs have with groups, organisations or firms that could be considered lobbyists.

  • Q: Where can I find out more about how the European Union works?

    A: The European Union website is a good place to start. However, the independent fact-checking charity Full Fact also has a useful series of easy-to-read mythbusters on EU issues.

Transparency

MEPs receive a salary and allowances which helps them to carry out their parliamentary work and represent their constituents.

As of 2016, all MEPs receive a monthly pre-tax salary of €8,484.05. They pay EU tax and accident insurance contributions, after which the monthly salary is €6,611.47. UK MEPs also pay National Insurance contributions under the UK system and the difference between EU and national tax. MEPs’ basic salary is set at 38.5% of the basic salary of a judge at the European Court of Justice. At present, there is no formal requirement for MEPs to disclose their expenditure, but Keith believes in Transparency. He publishes an itemised spending summary and all office expenditure receipts over £25. Keith continues to actively campaign for reform to the MEP allowance system.

- Keith’s spending summary, receipts and certificates

Staff costs

Keith’s staff members are paid from a budget called the ‘parliamentary allowance’. This allowance covers staff salaries as well as associated costs such as pensions, national insurance, tax, and training. This allowance can also be used to cover temporary staff costs and expenses for interns and volunteers.

The maximum staff allowance available for each MEP is €24,526 a month. MEPs do not receive any of this money directly. Brussels-based staff costs are administered by the European Parliament and UK-based staff costs are administered by a paying agent.

Keith currently has a Constituency Coordinator and a Media Officer based in the UK and four Parliamentary Assistants based in Brussels. He also has four part-time Regional Liaison Officers covering Surrey, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight. Keith's Constituency Coordinator covers Kent. None of Keith’s employees are relatives. See Keith’s most recent spending summary for information on his staff costs including staff pay bands.

Office costs

Keith receives a so-called ‘general expenditure allowance’ to cover his office costs. This includes expenditure on the constituency office rent, phones, IT and utility bills.

MEPs receive €4,416 a month to cover these costs. Keith’s office publishes receipts for this money. The allowance is halved if an MEP fails to attend at least half of the Strasbourg plenary sessions, without seeking prior permission, for example, due to illness.

Keith is committed to transparency so he has chosen to publish all receipts for office expenditure of £25 and over on his website. See Keith’s most recent spending summary for information office expenditure.

Travel

Keith is reimbursed for the cost of travel from between his constituency and Brussels, or Strasbourg, on presentation of the presentation of evidence.

Keith also receives a fixed allowance based on the distance and duration of the journey to cover other travel costs when attending official parliamentary meetings.

Keith can also claim for travel within the constituency on presentation of evidence. Keith is a Green MEP and, naturally, travels by rail and public transport, avoiding air travel whenever possible.

Keith recognises that carbon offsetting flights is not a solution, he does think that, however, when combined with a serious and committed effort to choose the most sustainable form of transport for any given journey, it can play a role. Keith, therefore, chooses to personally fund carbon offsetting for any flights he has to take as part of his Parliamentary duties and publishes the relevant offsetting certificates.

Occasionally Keith may need to travel outside the EU. For example, he is a member of the parliamentary delegation to Palestine which sometimes involves travel abroad. This travel is covered by the European Parliament.

Keith also can claim for travel, accommodation and associated expenses for other visits up to an annual limit of €4264. To claim these travel costs MEPs must present their tickets and documents.

See Keith’s most recent spending summary for information on Keith’s travel costs.

Accommodation and food

Because MEPs are required to move frequently between their constituencies and the European Parliament’s two main places of work (Brussels and Strasbourg), they can claim a subsistence allowance to cover expenses such as hotel rooms and/or flat rental and meals.

This allowance is a payment of €306 per day. It is made if the MEP signs the official register or the attendance list at the official meeting. During Parliament’s plenary sessions, the amount is halved if an MEP is not present for 50% of the roll-call votes.

Parliament pays a sum of €153 a day, plus accommodation and breakfast expenses, for attendance at meetings held outside the European Community, provided that the MEP signs the official attendance register for the meeting.

Lobbying

Keith is a member of the Green/EFA group in the European Parliament. The group has consistently called for reform and greater transparency for the MEP allowances system.

Greens continue to campaign to abolish the European Parliament’s monthly move to Strasbourg, which is both hugely costly and environmentally damaging.

The Greens are also campaigning for the introduction of transparent rules on the funding of political parties.

The Greens/EFA group uses the LobbyCal system to openly record all of the meetings its MEPs have with groups, organisations or firms that could be considered lobbyists.

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