EP Plenary Newsletter 2-4 July 2019
What will our newly elected MEPs be working on in this week's plenary session in Strasbourg? Highlights include electing the new President of the Parliament; forming parliament committees and debating the outcome of the June summit.
Election of President of the European Parliament
After the constitution of the new Parliament on 2 July at 10.00, in the morning of 3 July MEPs will elect their President for the next two-and-a-half years.
According to Rule 14 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure, the sitting at which a new President is elected is chaired by the outgoing President or, if that is not possible, by one of the outgoing Vice-Presidents (to be determined according to their order of precedence), or, in the absence of any of them, by the Member who has held office for the longest period. Eight tellers, chosen by lot from among MEPs, oversee the process.
Under Rule 15, candidates for the presidency may be put forward either by a political group or by 1/20th of Members (“low threshold” introduced by the revised Rules of Procedure).
The deadline for nominations for President will be announced at the opening of the session on Tuesday morning and is set to be at 19:00 the same day.
Candidates will have the possibility to make a short statement before the election of maximum five minutes each.
The election is held by secret ballot. To be elected, a candidate must win an absolute majority of the valid votes cast, i.e. 50% plus one (Rule 16). Blank or spoiled ballots do not count in calculating the majority required.
If no candidate is elected in the first ballot, the same or other candidates can be nominated for a second round under the same conditions. This can be repeated in a third round if necessary, again with the same rules. If no-one is elected at the third ballot, the two candidates with the most votes in that round proceed to a fourth and final ballot, where the one receiving the greater number of votes wins.
Once elected, the new President will take the chair and may deliver an opening address before presiding over the election of the Vice-Presidents and Quaestors.
Vote: Wednesday, 3 July
Procedure: Election of President
Electing Parliament’s Vice-Presidents and Quaestors
The House is expected to elect its 14 Vice-Presidents on Wednesday 3 July and its five Quaestors on Thursday 4 July.
Vice-President nominations are made on the same basis as for the President (Rule 15). The 14 Vice-Presidents are elected in a single ballot by an absolute majority of votes cast. If the number of successful candidates is less than 14, a second vote is held to assign the remaining seats under the same conditions. If a third vote is necessary, a simple majority is sufficient to fill the remaining seats (Rule 17). Vice-Presidents take precedence in the order in which they are elected and, in the event of a tie, by age. If voted by acclamation, a vote by secret ballot determines the order of precedence.
At each round MEPs may vote for up to as many candidates as the number of seats available at that round, but they have to vote for more than half of the positions to be filled (rounded up). In practical terms, this means that in the first round MEPs will have to vote for at least eight candidates (14/2 plus one) and, in case an odd number of seats remains in subsequent rounds, the number would be rounded up (e.g. for nine positions the minimum would be five votes per MEP). The ballot papers that do not meet the necessary threshold will be deemed invalidated.
The election of Quaestors follows the same procedure as that for the election of Vice-Presidents (Rule 18). In practice, the political groups aim to ensure that the Vice-Presidents and Quaestors broadly reflect the numerical strength of the groups and take into account the results of the President's election.
Role of Vice-Presidents and Quaestors
Vice-Presidents can replace the President when necessary, including to chair plenary sittings. Quaestors deal with administrative matters directly affecting MEPs themselves. Vice-Presidents and Quaestors are also members of the European Parliament Bureau, which lays down rules for Parliament’s smooth functioning. Among its other duties, the Bureau draws up Parliament’s preliminary draft budget and decides on administrative, staff and organisational matters.
Vote: Wednesday, 3 July (Vice-Presidents) and Thursday, 4 July (Questors)
Procedure: Election of Vice-presidents and Quaestors
Forming Parliament’s committees
Parliament will vote on the numerical composition of its standing and sub-committees on Wednesday, 3 July. Nominations will be announced in plenary later the same day.
The vote on the numerical composition of committees is set to take place at 13.00. Committee appointments are expected to be announced at 20.00.
According to Parliament's Rules of Procedure (Rule 199 as amended in the most recent revision), the composition of its committees and subcommittees - as proposed by the Conference of Presidents (i.e. EP President and political group leaders) - should as far as possible reflect the composition of Parliament as a whole. The proportional distribution of committee seats among political groups must not depart from the nearest appropriate whole number
The political groups and non-attached Members decide internally who to appoint to each committee and subcommittee. Seat trading between groups is not allowed.
Chairs and vice-chairs will be elected at the committees’ and sub-committees’ respective constituent meetings, starting on Monday 8 July in Brussels.
Vote & Appointments: Wednesday, 3 July
Procedure: 2019/2689(RSO) (numerical strength of committees) and 2019/2688(RSO) (composition of committees) - Indicative plenary sitting date, 1st reading/single reading
MEPs to debate outcome of the June 2019 European summits
MEPs will debate the results of the 20/21 and 30 June summits with European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday morning.
EU leaders discussed appointments for the next institutional cycle, and adopted their priorities for the EU's strategic agenda for 2019-2024. Other topics on the summit’s agenda included the EU’s 2021-2027 long-term budget, climate change issues (ahead of the United Nations Secretary-General's Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019), economic policy coordination as well as issues related to disinformation campaigns affecting elections.
Debate: Thursday, 4 July
Procedure: Council and Commission statements (without resolution)