About committees

Members are divided up among 20 specialised standing committees.

These committees instruct legislative proposals through the adoption of reports, propose amendments to Plenary and appoint a negotiation team to conduct negotiations with the Council on EU legislation. They also adopt own-initiative reports, organise hearings with experts and scrutinise the other EU bodies and institutions.

A committee consists of between 25 and 73 full members and an equivalent number of substitutes.

Each committee elects a chair and up to four vice-chairs amongst its full members, forming together the 'committee bureau', for a two and a half year mandate. The political make-up of the committees reflects that of the plenary assembly.

Parliament can also set up sub-committees and special temporary committees to deal with specific issues, and is empowered to create committees of inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions or maladministration of EU law.

At conciliation stage, a specific Conciliation Committee is set up.

The parliamentary committees normally meet in Brussels, and their work is supported by a secretariat. Their debates are held in public and, in principle, webstreamed.

The committee chairs coordinate the work of the committees in the Conference of Committee Chairs.

Special committees

Parliament may at any time set up temporary committees on specific issues. These special committees have a 12-month mandate, which may be extended.

Committees of inquiry

Parliament may set up committees of inquiry to investigate breaches of Union law or alleged maladministration in the application of the Union law.

These committees' powers are based on the provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament's right of inquiry.

Conciliation Committee

Conciliation is the third and final phase of the Ordinary Legislative Procedure (OLP) (also known as 'codecision'). The conciliation procedure is opened if Council does not approve all the amendments adopted by the Parliament at second reading.

The Conciliation Committee consists of two delegations: the Council delegation, composed of one representative of each Member State (ministers or their representatives), and the Parliament delegation, composed of an equal number of MEPs. The Conciliation Committee is responsible for drawing up a 'joint text', which then has to be endorsed by both Parliament and the Council.

Conference of Committee Chairs

The Conference of Committee Chairs (CCC) is the political body that coordinates the work of the committees and ensures the smooth cooperation between them. It consists of the Chairs of all standing and special committees and meets on Tuesdays of the Strasbourg part-sessions. The Chair is elected from among its members for a two and a half year mandate.

Recommendation on the agenda for plenary sessions

The CCC submits to the Conference of Presidents a monthly recommendation for the draft agenda of the next part-session, as well as a monthly screening concerning the compatibility of draft legislation with Treaty rules on delegated and implementing acts.

Cooperation between committees

The CCC constitutes a forum of discussion about horizontal issues and common problems of the committees and actively contributes to the exchange of best practices namely through the adoption of common approaches or guidelines concerning committee activities. It can submit to the Conference of Presidents any recommendation about the work of committees. The CCC also plays a mediating role between parliamentary committees. It deals with requests for cooperation and proposes solutions for the settlement of conflicts of competence.

Legislative dialogue with the Commission and the Council

The CCC prepares Parliament's contribution to the Commission's annual Work Programme by listing the priorities in each legislative field. It also holds an annual joint meeting with the College of Commissioners, and meets several times a year the Council Presidency to prepare and discuss the priorities of Presidencies and to take stock of the work in progress.