Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament
8th parliamentary term - July 2018
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Rule 196 : Setting-up of standing committees

Parliament shall, on a proposal from the Conference of Presidents, set up standing committees. Their responsibilities shall be defined in an annex to these Rules of Procedure(1). That annex shall be adopted by a majority of the votes cast. Their members shall be appointed during the first part-session following the re-election of Parliament and again two and a half years thereafter.

The responsibilities of standing committees can also be defined at a time other than that at which the committee is set up.

Rule 197 : Special committees

1.   On a proposal from the Conference of Presidents, Parliament may, at any time, set up special committees, the responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office of which shall be defined at the same time as the decision to set them up is taken.

2.   The term of office of special committees may not exceed 12 months except where Parliament extends that period before its expiry. Unless otherwise decided in Parliament's decision setting up the special committee, its term of office shall start running from the date of its constituent meeting.

3.   Special committees shall not have the right to deliver opinions to other committees.

Rule 198 : Committees of inquiry

1.   In accordance with Article 226 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 2 of Decision 95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission(2), Parliament may, at the request of one quarter of its component Members, set up a committee of inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions or maladministration in implementation of Union law which would appear to be the act of an institution or body of the European Union, of a public administrative body of a Member State, or of persons empowered by Union law to implement that law.

The subject of the inquiry, as defined by one quarter of Parliament's component Members, and the period laid down in paragraph 11 shall not be open to amendments.

2.   The decision to set up a committee of inquiry shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union within one month of being taken.

3.   The modus operandi of a committee of inquiry shall be governed by the provisions of the Rules relating to committees, save as otherwise specifically provided for in this Rule and in Decision 95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC.

4.   The request to set up a committee of inquiry must precisely specify the subject of the inquiry and include a detailed statement of the grounds for it. Parliament, on a proposal from the Conference of Presidents, shall decide whether to set up a committee and, if so, its numerical strength.

5.   Committees of inquiry shall not have the right to deliver opinions to other committees.

6.   At any stage of its proceedings, only full members or, in their absence, substitutes may vote in a committee of inquiry.

7.   A committee of inquiry shall elect its Chair and Vice-Chairs and appoint one or more rapporteurs. The committee may also assign responsibilities, duties or specific tasks to its members who must subsequently report to the committee in detail thereon.

8.   In the interval between one meeting and another, the coordinators of the committee shall, in cases of urgency or need, exercise the committee's powers, subject to ratification by that committee at its next meeting.

9.   With regard to the languages used, a committee of inquiry shall apply the provisions of Rule 158. However, the bureau of the committee:

-   may restrict interpretation to the official languages of those members of the committee taking part in the deliberations, if it deems this to be necessary for reasons of confidentiality,

-   shall decide about the translation of the documents received in such a way as to ensure that the committee can carry out its deliberations efficiently and rapidly, as well as to ensure that the necessary secrecy and confidentiality are respected.

10.   Where alleged contraventions or maladministration in the implementation of Union law suggest that a body or authority of a Member State could be responsible, the committee of inquiry may ask the parliament of the Member State concerned to cooperate in the investigation.

11.   A committee of inquiry shall conclude its work by presenting to Parliament a report on the results of its work within no more than 12 months from its constituent meeting. Parliament may twice decide to extend this period by three months. The report may, if appropriate, contain minority positions in accordance with the conditions laid down in Rule 52a. The report shall be published.

At the request of the committee of inquiry, Parliament shall hold a debate on the report at the part- session following its submission.

12.   The committee may also submit to Parliament a draft recommendation addressed to institutions or bodies of the European Union or to the Member States.

13.   The President shall instruct the committee responsible under Annex V to monitor the action taken on the results of the work of the committee of inquiry and, if appropriate, to report thereon. The President shall take any further steps which are deemed to be appropriate in order to ensure that the conclusions of the inquiry are acted upon in practice.

Rule 199 : Composition of committees

1.   Members of committees, special committees and committees of inquiry shall be appointed by the political groups and the non-attached Members.

The Conference of Presidents shall set a deadline by which political groups and the non-attached Members are to communicate their appointments to the President, who shall then announce them to Parliament.

2.   The composition of the committees shall, as far as possible, reflect the composition of Parliament. The distribution of committee seats among political groups must be either the nearest whole number above or the nearest whole number below the proportional calculation.

Where there is no agreement among the political groups on their proportional weight within one or more specific committees, the Conference of Presidents shall decide.

3.   If a political group decides not to take seats on a committee, or fails to appoint its members within the deadline set by the Conference of Presidents, the seats in question shall remain vacant. Exchange of seats between political groups is not allowed.

4.   Where a Member's change of political group has the effect of disturbing the proportional distribution of committee seats as defined in paragraph 2, and there is no agreement among political groups to ensure compliance with the principles set out therein, the Conference of Presidents shall take the necessary decisions.

5.   Any modifications decided to the appointments by political groups and non-attached Members shall be communicated to the President, who shall announce them to Parliament at the latest at the beginning of the next sitting. These decisions shall take effect from the day of the announcement.

6.   The political groups and the non-attached Members may appoint a number of substitutes for each committee which shall not exceed the number of full members that the political group or the non-attached Members are entitled to appoint in the committee. The President shall be informed accordingly. These substitutes shall be entitled to attend and to speak at committee meetings and, if the full member is absent, to take part in the vote.

7.   In the absence of the full member and where substitutes either have not been appointed or are absent, the full member may arrange to be represented at meetings by another member of the same political group, or, where the member is a non-attached Member, by another non-attached Member, who shall be entitled to vote. The Chair of the committee shall be notified at the latest by the beginning of the voting session.

The advance notification provided for in the last sentence of paragraph 7 must be given before the end of the debate or before the opening of the vote on the item or items for which the full member is to be replaced.

In accordance with this Rule:

–   the status of a full or substitute member of a committee shall depend exclusively on membership of a given political group;

–   if the number of a political group's full members in a committee changes, the maximum number of permanent substitutes which it can appoint to that committee shall change accordingly;

–   Members who change their political group may not keep the status of full or substitute member of a committee which they had as members of their original group;

–   a committee member may not under any circumstances be a substitute for a colleague who belongs to another political group.

Rule 200 - Substitutes : (deleted)

Rule 212 : Setting-up and duties of interparliamentary delegations

1.   On a proposal from the Conference of Presidents, Parliament shall set up standing interparliamentary delegations and decide on their nature and the number of their members in the light of their duties. The members shall be appointed by the political groups and the non-attached Members during the first or second part-session following the re-election of Parliament for the duration of the parliamentary term.

2.   The political groups shall ensure as far as possible that Member States, political views and gender are fairly represented. It shall not be permissible for more than one third of the members of a delegation to have the same nationality. Rule 199 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

3.   The bureaux of the delegations shall be constituted in accordance with the procedure laid down for the standing committees in Rule 204.

4.   Parliament shall determine the general powers of the individual delegations. It may at any time decide to increase or restrict those powers.

5.   The implementing provisions needed to enable the delegations to carry out their work shall be adopted by the Conference of Presidents on a proposal from the Conference of Delegation Chairs.

6.   The Chair of a delegation shall regularly report back to the committee responsible for foreign affairs on the activities of the delegation.

7.   The Chair of a delegation shall be given an opportunity to be heard by a committee when an item on the agenda touches on the delegation's area of responsibility. The same shall apply to the Chair or rapporteur of that committee in the case of meetings of the delegation.

(1)See Annex V.
(2)Decision 95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 19 April 1995 on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament's right of inquiry (OJ L 113, 19.5.1995, p. 1.).
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