Types of delegations

All of the European Parliament's delegations foster relations with parliamentarians in other countries, regions and organisations. But just how and where they meet depends on the type of delegation.

Parliamentary assemblies

One group of delegations participate in 'parliamentary assemblies' - regular, formal meetings that bring together elected representatives from several parliaments, including the European Parliament.

In most cases, the European Parliament's delegation is the largest single delegation at the assembly, with MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) accounting for about half the total number of delegates.

Currently, 5 of the European Parliament's 44 delegations participate in parliamentary assemblies.

Inter-parliamentary committees

The European Parliament's delegations to interparliamentary 'committees' meet their counterparts at regular, formal meetings. Most of these interparliamentary committees are bilateral: they involve the European Parliament and one other delegation, usually from a single country.

Interparliamentary committees may be called 'parliamentary association committees', 'parliamentary cooperation committees', 'joint parliamentary committees' or 'stabilisation and association parliamentary committees', depending on a number of factors.

All these committees were established under the terms of bilateral agreements between the EU and the partner country. The meetings follow strict rules of procedure.

The European Parliament currently has 15 delegations that participate in 23 interparliamentary committees. Examples include the Delegation to the EU-Mexico Joint Parliamentary Committee (D-MX) and the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee (D-UA).

Other interparliamentary delegations

The largest group of delegations focus on relations with another country, or sometimes with a group of countries.

These delegations meet their fellow legislators at ordinary interparliamentary meetings. The frequency varies according to the schedules and availability of the two partners. The meetings are not governed by their own rules, although the general provisions for delegations established by the European Parliament do apply.

Most of the European Parliament's delegations - about 25 of the 44 total - fall into this category of interparliamentary delegations. Two examples are the Delegation for relations with Japan (D-JP) and the Delegation for relations with Canada (D-CA).