Recent trends indicate an increasingly important and wider role for national parliaments both in the EU legislative process and in domestic decision-making. Eurointegration seems to have resulted in the general strengthening of the sense of responsibility and self-awareness in national parliaments. Public opinion tends to view the EU as a huge bureaucracy far away in Brussels whose decisions benefit only those making them. On the other hand, the European Parliament, elected directly by the citizens since 1979, is believed to be the most democratic institution. The Amsterdam Treaty defines the functions of national parliaments and further strengthens the European Parliament's role.