Composition

Martin Schulz was elected President of the EP in January 2012 and holds that post for two and a half years. MEPs are organised politically and not nationally. They are organised into seven different parliamentary groups, including over thirty non-attached members known as non-inscrits. The two largest groups are the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialists & Democrats (S&D). These two groups have dominated the Parliament for much of its life, continuously holding between 50 and 70% of the seats together. For a group to be recognised, it needs a minimum of 25 MEPs from seven different countries. Once recognised, groups receive financial subsidies from the parliament and guaranteed seats on Committees, creating an incentive for the formation of groups. The EP has two meeting places, namely Strasbourg, France which serves for twelve four-day plenary sessions per year and is the official seat, and Brussels, Belgium which serves for committee meetings, political groups and complementary plenary sessions. The Secretariat of the European Parliament is based in Luxembourg.