Diversity is one of the distinguishing aspects of the European Parliament and among the 736 MEPs elected last June there are many interesting and "popular" faces who will be deciding on the EU's legislation in the coming five years.

The five Maltese MEPs will be sitting with seasoned politicians including former prime ministers and ministers, ex-European commissioners and important members of the European arts scene. The mix includes top models, TV personalities and comedians.

Here are some of the new faces at the EP.

Elena Basescu - 29 - EPP Group - Romanian - A top-model and the youngest daughter of Romanian President Traian Basescu. A graduate in economics and considered to be a celebrity in Romania. Ms Basescu had sought to stand as a candidate for her father's Democratic Liberal Party but was rejected by the party and stood as an independent.

Iva Zanicchi - 59 - EPP - Italian - Popular Italian singer and TV presenter. Ms Zanicchi won three times the Sanremo song festival and between 1987 and 2000 hosted the very popular game show Ok, il prezzo è giusto! on one of the private TV channels belonging to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Louis Michel - 62 - Alde group - Belgian - European commissioner until yesterday. He was the Belgian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister from 1999 to 2004. In July 2004, the Belgian government appointed him as its candidate for the Belgian seat on the European Commission led by Josè Manuel Barroso to replace Philippe Busquin. He was nominated on August 12, 2004 to become EU commissioner in November 2004.

Barbara Matera - 28 - EPP group - Italian. In 2000, she was a contestant in the Miss Italia beauty contest. Later, in September 2003, she became an announcer for Rai Uno. One of a list of attractive women chosen by Mr Berlusconi to run for his party and which got him in hot water with his wife, she was elected with 129,994 direct votes in the electoral college of the South of Italy.

Slavi Binev - 43 - Independent - Bulgarian - popular showman, actor, singer and viola player. He is the host of Slavi's Show, Bulgaria's TV's late-night talk show. It is styled after the standard US late-night talk shows.

George Becali - 51 - Independent - Romanian - a controversial Romanian politician and millionaire businessman, mostly known for his ownership of the Steaua Bucherast football club. Mr Becali became a millionaire through an exchange of land with the Romanian Army, deemed by the Romanian press as suspicious because the army did not need the land it received and the land he received was worth much more.

Ciriaco De Mita - 81 - EPP group - Italian - oldest MEP and former Italian Prime Minister. As a young man he joined the Democrazia Cristiana and entered politics. He rose through the ranks of the party, becoming a member of its council in 1956, a member of Parliament in 1963 and a member of the Italian Cabinet in 1973. During the next decade he served as Minister of Industry and then as Minister of Foreign Trade. He was Prime Minister of Italy from 1988 until 1989.

Guy Verhovstadt - 56 - Alde group - Belgian - former Prime Minister of Belgium and just elected leader of the Liberal Group. He was touted to be the president of the European Commission instead of Mr Manuel Barroso but was rejected following a veto by the UK.

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