28 May 2013: Meeting of the Conference of Presidents open to all Members
Recommendation of the ENVI Committee (B7-0251/2013) - approved (Rule 87a)
Draft agenda for the sittings of 10-13 June (Strasbourg)
The European Parliament debates in public. There is a public gallery from which visitors can follow proceedings. Parts of the gallery are reserved for the press, official guests and the diplomatic corps.
The interpreters are responsible for interpreting proceedings simultaneously into all the official languages of the European Union.
There are 754 Members of the European Parliament as of 1 December 2011. Seats are allocated among the Member States in relation to the size of their population. Members sit with others of a similar political affinity, not in national groups. They are elected for 5 years by direct universal suffrage.
Most Members belong to one of the political groups in the European Parliament. Members who do not belong to any political group are known as « Non-attached » Members. Each political group is led by a president.
The Council of Ministers of the European Union frequently takes part in debates in Parliament. The Council is represented by the relevant minister of the Member State which holds the six-month presidency of the Council.
The Commission takes part in virtually all debates in Parliament, especially in order to present its legislative proposals. It is usually represented by the Commissioner responsible for the subject under discussion.
Plenary sittings are chaired either by the President of Parliament or one of its 14 vice-presidents. The term of office for the President and Vice-Presidents is two and a half years.
To the right and left of the President there are officials of Parliament who help him/her in chairing the sitting. Other officials present in the Chamber are responsible for drawing up the minutes and verbatim report of proceedings.