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Parliamentary questions
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11 June 2015
Answer given by Vice-President Timmermans on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: P-006180/2015

The Commission attaches great importance to Parliament's right of democratic scrutiny and to giving replies of high quality to parliamentary questions. However, the ever increasing number of questions (some 13 400 in 2013, 10 800 in the election year 2014, and 6 000 in the first four months of 2015) does entail considerable costs for the Commission.

The European Parliament has recognised the increasing costs and changes were introduced in its Rules of Procedure in 2014 with the aim of keeping the overall volume of questions within reasonable limits. In the first four months of 2015, 693 Members of Parliament put an average of 9 questions each. This average increases to 133 for ten Members, with the frontrunner having asked 193 questions. If the above trend is confirmed, the record number of questions would be broken and some 85 questions would be put every working day of the year.

As the Commission operates on the basis of the principle of collegiality, each written reply to a parliamentary question goes through a process of attribution, drafting, validation, inter-service coordination, collegiate endorsement, and finally translation.

The Commission has estimated that, if the current trend continues and results in some 17 000 parliamentary questions for the year 2015, the time spent by the Commission staff in replying to parliamentary questions will represent at least 76 full-time equivalents. This can be expressed as approximately EUR 490 per question.

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