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40 years ago: signing of the act to make direct European elections possible
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.