From the Summary: "The 785-member, directly elected European Parliament (EP) is a key institution of the 27-member European Union (EU). Once limited to being a consultative assembly, the EP has accumulated more power over time. Currently, it plays a role in the EU's legislative and budgeting processes, and exercises general supervision over other EU bodies. Ties between the EP and the U.S. Congress are long-standing, and EP-Congressional exchanges are expected to continue in the second session of the 110th Congress. This report will be updated as events warrant. Also see CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report RS21372, 'The European Union: Questions and Answers', by Kristin Archick."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21998