OREANDA-NEWS. Over the course of its existence, the European Parliament has transformed itself from an assembly with limited powers to a decision-making body directly shaping EU policies. It has been a long road, but one of the milestones was 20 September 1976, when ministers signed rules allowing direct European elections. The elections, held about three years later, gave new democratic legitimacy to the Parliament and allowed MEPs to seek more powers in shaping European policies.

The act concerning the election of the representatives of the Assembly by direct universal suffrage was signed in Brussels by representatives of the then nine member states of the European Communities. It closely followed the text of a draft convention proposed by the European Parliament in 1975.

Тhe 1952 Paris Treaty envisaged the possibility of holding direct elections for the Assembly, but at the time member states preferred to designate representatives from their national parliaments.