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EU - 13.05.2019 klo 09.20

The European Parliament sets the rules for working life in Finland too – and there are differences in the political groups

Thirteen members of the European Parliament are elected from Finland. Photo: Getty Images

The members elected to the European Parliament belong to political groups. So the groups are not based on their home countries. Together with the EU Council, the Parliament shapes and adopts draft laws, or directives, which are prepared by the EU Commission.

The elections to the European Parliament will be held on 26 May. Many people think that the members who are elected primarily represent Finland. But they join EU-wide political groups based on their party affiliation, and the Finnish members may vote very differently on different issues.

The European Parliament represents the EU’s citizens in policymaking. It shapes and adopts draft directives and regulations in much the same way that draft laws are considered in the Finnish parliament.

The other key players in EU policymaking are the Commission, whose role is like that of the government in Finland, and the Council, which represents the governments of the member states. Typically the Commission, with its Commissioners from the various countries, makes a proposal for a new directive or regulation. Then it is considered by the Council and the European Parliament. Often amendments, even significant ones, are made to the content even if it is adopted – or the Parliament can also reject the entire package.

When a directive is adopted, it is then considered by the member states, where it is transposed into national legislation. A regulation, on the other hand, comes into force in the member states as soon as it has been adopted by the EU institutions. So these decisions affect Finland too.

The diagram below in Finnish shows the political groups in the outgoing parliament and which groups the Finnish members belonged to.

 Text: Tuomas Lehto. Visualization: Tuuli Lähteenmäki