EU INSTITUTIONSUnitsUnit 3. European ParliamentStep 5. European Parliament as an advocate for democracy and human rights

Step 5. European Parliament as an advocate for democracy and human rights

The Parliament takes its role as a guardian of liberties, human rights and democracy, both in Europe and beyond, very seriously. The task of its members is primarily to represent the citizens at the EU level and defend their interests to EU leaders and the institutions of the European Union.

The EP’s approval is required for most international agreements concluded by the EU, and the Parliament is also involved in shaping the EU’s development and humanitarian aid policy. MEPs are increasingly exerting their influence on the European foreign policy and maintain close links with lawmakers around the world.

MEPs often act as election observers in countries around the world in order to monitor for irregularities. They ensure that human rights are protected in the EU’s external economic and trade agreements and award the Sakharov Prize to honour individuals or organisations that defend human rights, democracy and freedom of expression and combat intolerance and oppression anywhere in the world. Past winners include Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.


Here you may review the website of the Sakharov Prize and including the list and profiles of the laureates.