The role of an MEP

Antony Hook MEP – your voice in Europe 

Good MEPs, like good MPs, listen to people with local and national concerns, interest groups and businesses. Antony spends around 14 days per month in Brussels and Strasbourg, with the remainder of his time spent in the UK, where he has a constituency office.  

MEPs can question and lobby the Commission and the Council of Ministers. They can table a motion for resolution, table and move amendments, make explanations of vote, ask questions related to the work of Parliament’s leadership (Conference of Presidents, Bureau and Quaestors), table amendments to the rules of procedure, raise points of order. They may also make personal statements and intervene in the plenary debates.  MEPs also have an important role to play on the big issues of our times such as climate change, human rights in the world and the way in which we regulate our financial markets. MEPs hold the European Commission to account and can force it to resign. MEPs have the power to approve, reject or amend EU legislation. They can also invite the European Commission to come up with a legislative proposal. In addition, MEPs represent the EU in their relations with the national parliaments and governments of foreign countries, as well as within international organisations.

Interaction with the constituencies and national parliaments gives an important input for the members to advance on the EU level the causes that are most important at the national level.

As an MEP, together with my colleagues, I identify future trends in political, economic and social life and pass the laws that affect many aspects of our lives, ensuring a fair and level playing field across Europe, including

  • Workers’ Rights
    • how many hours employees throughout the EU can be required to work and how much rest and holiday they must be given; 
    • safety conditions at work;
    • work-life balance;
    • gender equality and non-discrimination at work;
  • Food Safety
    • which pesticides are safe to use on the food grown in the EU;
    • how to use and label Genetically Modified Organisms;
    • food waste;  
    • food labelling rules; 
    • animal welfare; 
    • geographical indications protecting food and drink names (like Kentish ale or Whitstable oysters);
  • Consumer protection 
    • how much you pay for mobile phone calls when you go to another EU country;
    • avoiding differences in the composition of products that are similarly branded;  
    • avoiding geo-blocking and other geographically-based restrictions that undermine online shopping and cross-border sales; 
  • Ensuring product safety 
    • making children’s toys safe; 
    • the safety of thousands of chemicals used in everyday manufactured goods such as TVs and sofas;
  • Protecting health and the environment 
    • cleaning up the air we breathe and the water we drink and swim in; 
    • getting health care in another EU country either on holiday or when the queue is too long in your own country;
    • tackling climate change;
    • waste management; 
    • responsible approach to energy resources; 
    • prevention of diseases and promotion of healthy lifestyles; 
    • specific health needs of older people;
    • tackling risks related to alcohol, tobacco and drug consumption;
  • Giving opportunity 
    • guaranteeing rights deriving from the EU citizenship, like the right to move, reside, work or study in another EU country; 
    • guaranteeing social protection standards across the EU; 
    • approving (or rejecting) EU trade deals with non-EU Nations and trading blocks;

  • Protecting civil liberties and security
    • consular protection (help from the embassy or consulate of any other EU country to EU citizens in distress in a country outside the EU where they have no embassy or consulate of their own country);
    • non-discrimination on the basis of nationality, race or religion; 
    • social inclusion and protection of social security rights; 
    • preventing crimes, like money laundering and human trafficking, fighting counterfeits and fraud; 
    • protection of data privacy and promotion of digital literacy; 

The European Parliament also decides on the EU budget and influences how EU money is spent.  

The European Parliament being directly elected from 1979, adheres to the highest standards of transparency, citizens’ involvement, open decision-making and impact assessment of the regulation. It channels these principles across the whole institutional framework of the EU.