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Wednesday, 6 September 2006 - Strasbourg OJ edition

11. Interpretation of the Rules of Procedure

  President. Before moving on to the next item, I have a communication for the House. You will recall that we have occasionally had disagreements over how to interpret Rule 166 of our Rules of Procedure and that certain Members thought that the Presidency was not applying it properly, since it was not giving the floor for points of order that did not refer to the issue that was being debated at that moment.

In fact, Rule 166 does not specify clearly whether the point of order for which the floor is given must refer to the issue being debated or to that day’s agenda, or whether it can refer to any other issue. Nevertheless, the President’s view is that common sense should dictate that the floor should only be given on the subject being debated and not any other issue.

Nevertheless, in order to clear up the argument that had arisen on various occasions in the House, I requested the opinion of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and, in its reply, it proposes the following interpretation of Rule 166: ‘Requests for the floor to comment on the application of the Rules of Procedure shall refer to the item being debated at that moment. The President may give the floor in relation to other issues at the appropriate time; for example, after the debate on an item on the agenda or before the sitting is suspended.’

It is therefore clear that, from now on, Rule 166 should be interpreted as common sense dictates and that it may only be invoked for the purpose of commenting on the application of the Rules of Procedure relating to the item being debated at that moment. I would point out that the Committee on Constitutional Affairs’ interpretation will be considered adopted unless it is contested before the Minutes of the present sitting are approved.

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