Types of delegations

All of the European Parliament's delegations reach out to parliamentarians in other countries, regions and organisations. But just how and where they meet depends on their type of delegation.

Parliamentary assemblies

One group of delegations participate in "parliamentary assemblies" - regular, formal meetings that bring together elected representatives from several parliaments. The European Parliament's delegation is just one of several at these assemblies.

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

Currently, 5 of the European Parliament's 44 delegations participate in parliamentary assemblies. Examples include the Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (abbreviated as DNAT) and the Delegation to the Euro-Latin America Parliamentary Assembly (DLAT).

Inter-parliamentary committees

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

Inter-parliamentary 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 created by bilateral agreements between the EU and the partner. The meetings follow strict "rules of procedures".

The European Parliament currently has 15 delegations that participate in 23 parliamentary 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 inter-parliamentary 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 in ordinary "inter-parliamentary meetings". The frequency of these meetings can vary according to the schedules and availability of the two partners. These meetings do not have their own rules, although they still adhere to the general "provisions" for delegations established by the European Parliament.

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