The Chambers

For plenary sittings, the 751 Members of the European Parliament meet in the Chambers in Strasbourg and Brussels.

Photograph of the Chamber

How are the seats allocated?

The rules which determine the allocation of seats in each Chamber are laid down by the Conference of Presidents:

  • Members of the European Parliament form groups based on their political affinity, not on their nationality.
  • The Chairs of the political groups sit in the first row in the semi-circle opposite the President of the European Parliament.
  • The third row is occupied by Bureau members (Vice-Presidents and Quaestors).
  • Within the political groups, the remaining seats are generally allocated in alphabetical order.

Chamber seating plans

The two plans contain:

  • a list in numerical order indicating for each seat the name of the Member to whom it is allocated;
  • a list in alphabetical order indicating for each Member the number of the seat allocated to him/her.

The seat numbering in Strasbourg is different from that in Brussels; also, a Member may occasionally occupy a different seat for technical or organisational reasons.

The lists are updated for each part-session.

Galleries

The European Parliaments debates are open to the public and a section of the galleries is reserved for public use. Sections of the galleries are also reserved for use by members of the accredited press corps, official guests and members of the diplomatic corps.

Interpreters

The interpreters provide simultaneous interpretation of Parliaments debates. Speeches in plenary are interpreted into all the EU official languages.

MEPs

Since 1 July 2013 there have been 766 Members of the European Parliament. Seats are allocated according to the size of each Member States population. The MEPs form groups based on their political affinity, not on their nationality. They are elected by direct universal suffrage for a term of five years.

Political group Chairs/spokespersons

Most MEPs belong to one of the various political groups in Parliament. Those who do not belong to a political group sit as non-attached Members. Each political group is headed by a Chair.

Council of the European Union

The Council of Ministers of the EU often takes part in the European Parliaments deliberations. It is represented by its President, i.e. the relevant Minister of the Member State currently holding the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council.

European Commission

The Commission takes part in almost all Parliaments debates, with the particular task of presenting proposals for legislation. Generally it is represented by the Commissioner responsible for the matter under discussion.

President of the European Parliament

Plenary sittings are chaired either by the President of Parliament or by one of the 14 Vice-Presidents. The term of office of the President and Vice-Presidents is two-and-a-half years.

Secretariat

The European Parliament officials seated on either side of the President assist him or her in the conduct of the sitting. Other officials present are responsible for producing the minutes and the verbatim account of proceedings of the sitting.

Priority information

Priority documents