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Parliament at work​

Parliament's most important task, enacting legislation, takes place in plenary session. Parliament can enact legislation on the basis of a government proposal, a Member's motion or a citizens' initiative.

Most legislation is based on government proposals, which average about 250 a year. It generally takes 2-4 months to consider a proposal, but major legislative projects can take years. Legislative proposals that have not been considered by the end of the electoral term are allowed to lapse.

The Finnish Parliament plays a strong role in decision-making on EU matters, compared with many other member states. Parliament decides what position Finland should take in EU decision-making on matters that fall within Parliament's competence.

All the committees consider EU matters, but Parliament's positions are generally decided by the Grand Committee. National parliaments are not directly represented in the European Union's institutions. They participate in decision-making by overseeing and guiding their own governments' EU policy.

MPs are also needed to represent Finland on the international scene. They regularly participate in the work of nine interparliamentary organisations, in addition to bilateral visits between parliaments. Eduskunta hosts more than one hundred visits by foreign parliamentary delegations annually to offer an introduction to the functioning of the Finnish parliamentary system. Correspondingly Finnish MPs make frequent visits and study trips abroad.

Parliament has around sixty friendship and cooperation groups established by MPs. The purpose of friendship groups is to maintain ties with parliaments in other countries and regions and to learn more about their cultures and social systems. Friendship groups supplement Parliament's official international relations. They are especially important if official contacts do not exist with a country for one reason or another.

Parliament oversees the Government and administration both politically and from the viewpoint of legality. The purpose of political oversight is to ensure that the actions taken by the Government are supported by a majority of MPs. The oversight of legality ensures that ministers' comply with legislation in performing their duties.

Exercising budgetary power is one of Parliament's basic tasks, along with enacting legislation. Parliament exercises this power by approving the Budget.

The Budget estimates central government revenues and expenditure for the coming year. Expenditure is divided into main titles by administrative sector. These are further divided into classes and items. Revenues, mostly from taxes, are divided in a similar manner.