Recent internal studies comparing the European Parliament with four national Parliaments (France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom) and the US Congress identified a number of weaknesses in the current support structure of the European Parliament. One of them is an independent scientific advice available for all Members on demand. This was also one of the main conclusions of the EP 2025 Study.
That is why the guidelines for the 2014 budget urged the development of the current Library Service into a fully fledged Parliamentary Research Service for all Members.
The decision by the Bureau to create the new Directorate-General reflects the importance the Parliament attaches to our providing the highest quality of analytical and research support to Members and committees, drawing on the experience of comparable services in other parliaments. This is a major initiative within the Parliament's administration and one that should significantly enhance the coherence and depth of what is offered to MEPs in their daily work.
The Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value (from DG IPOL) has been brought together with the Directorate for Library (from DG PRES) and a new thematically organised Directorate for Members' Research Service. The three directorates will constitute the new Directorate-General with about 200 staff.
From there, the new DG should grow, albeit still in a budgetary neutral manner. The Bureau has already authorised negotiations with the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions in the framework of the 2014 budgetary procedure to jointly realise new efficiency gains in the area of translation. The part of those efficiency gains realised within Parliament has already been earmarked by the Bureau for the further build-up of the Parliamentary Research Service.
Whereas the Members' Research Service will support individual Members, the Policy Departments will continue to service office and specific function holders like rapporteurs, with their own production, as they were explicitly designed to be immediately answerable to parliamentary committees and delegations. Nevertheless it will be vital for the two services to develop the closest possible cooperation and exchange of information, with the aim of offering a coherent and integrated set of products.
The cooperation between the Policy Departments and the new DG should be subject of a review at half time of the new legislature.