In order to do the preparatory work for Parliament’s plenary sittings, the Members are divided up among a number of specialised standing committees.
There are 20 parliamentary committees
A committee consists of between 24 and 76 MEPs, and has a chair, a bureau and a secretariat
The political make-up of the committees reflects that of the plenary assembly.
The parliamentary committees meet once or twice a month in Brussels
Their debates are held in public.
The committees draw up, amend and adopt legislative proposals and own-initiative reports
They consider Commission and Council proposals and, where necessary, draw up reports to be presented to the plenary assembly.
Parliament can also set up sub-committees and special temporary committees to deal with specific issues, and is empowered to create formal committees of inquiry under its supervisory remit to investigate allegations of maladmistration of EU law.
The committee chairs coordinate the work of the committees in the Conference of Committee Chairs.
Parliament may at any time set up temporary committees on specific issues
These special committees have a 12-month mandate, which may be extended.
Parliament may set up committees of inquiry to investigate breaches or poor application of Community law
These committees’ powers are based on the provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament’s right of inquiry.
Conciliation is the third and last phase of the European Union’s most important legislative procedure: the codecision procedure
In the event of disagreement between Parliament and the Council, a Conciliation Committee is set up, consisting of 27 representatives of the Member States and 27 MEPs
The committee is responsible for drawing up a joint text, which is put to the Council and Parliament for approval at third reading
The final agreement of the Council and Parliament is essential if the text is to be adopted.