THE European Parliament has been sitting since 1979 in Brussels and Strasbourg.

It was set up after concerns that there were no directly elected representatives and claims of a democratic deficit at the heart of the then European Community.

All across the 28 European Union member states there will be 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) elected.

Each member state has a number of MEPs depending on the size of its population, the UK has 73, and within that Scotland has six.

READ MORE: Parties prepare for unexpected European election after Brexit failure

Germany has the most with 96 MEPs, France 74 and Italy 73.

Four smaller countries Malta, Luxemburg, Estonia and Cyprus and six each.

The European Parliament is one of the three main EU institutions along with the European Commission and the European that together take the decisions affecting the countries.

The Parliament passes laws but does not propose them. Laws are initiated by the European Commission but the Parliament can request the Commission proposes certain laws it wants enacted.

How the vote works

The first European Parliament elections took place in 1979, before that parliamentarians were appointed by member governments.

The voting system differs from both how we elect MPs to Westminster an MSPs to the Scottish Parliament.

The system has no first past the post candidate and is the similar to the additional member list system for Holyrood, meaning electors vote for a party not person.

READ MORE: How the European election voting systems work?

For the European Parliament election there are party lists with the candidates ranked in order of how they will be elected.

The party with the highest number of votes will get the first MEP elected and counting continues until all six have been chosen.

The election is to a Scotland wide constituency, so there are no regional, city or local MEPs.

Each local authority counts the votes in its area and send them to a national returning officer to be added together and then the results can be announced.

Scotland has had 25 MEPs since the first elections 40 years ago.

Notable MEPs include Winnie Ewing -arguably Scotland’s most famous if no longer the longest serving MEP.

The SNP member from 1979 to 1999 known as ‘Madame Ecosse’ and was vice president of the European Radical Alliance group

Janey Buchan Labour MEP from 1979 to 1994. She campaigned extensively against apartheid in South Africa and was a strong advocate of equal rights for ethnic minorities and the LGBT community.

READ MORE: Greens launch European Parliament election manifesto in Glasgow with 'Hope over Hate' message

Struan Stevenson, the longest Serving Scottish MEP serving from 1999 to 2014.

He was instrumental in achieving a ban on the trade of cat and dog fur.

Do you know your MEPs?

by Mahnoor Sohail

Evening Times:

Steve Knight, 43, Falkirk

“They’re six MEPs – Alyn Smith and David Coburn. I’m not sure of the rest.”

Iain McGregor, Glasgow

“I think they’re eight, but I don’t know, I think one of them is Alyn Smith.”

Evening Times:

Stuart Ferguson, 51, Pollock

“I think they’re five or six, but I don’t know any of their names.”

Evening Times:

Richard Fisher, 72, Glasgow

“I couldn’t tell you the exact number but I think five or something, but I don’t know any of their names because I have lost interest.”

Evening Times:

Rebecca Tait, 17, Motherwell

“No, I don’t know how many MEPs they’re but I could guess it could be three.”

Alec Clark, 64, Shotts

“I don’t know, I couldn’t tell you the exact number but maybe fix or something? Not quite sure.”