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Parliamentary committees

As is the case in national parliaments, the European Parliament (EP) sets up parliamentary committees.

The political groups and the non-attached Members of the EP (MEPs) submit nominations for electing members to different committees at the beginning of a parliamentary term and 2½ years thereafter. On a proposal from its Conference of Presidents, the EP sets up various committees defining their size and powers reflecting, as far as possible, the composition of the EP.

Currently, there are 22 standing committees and one special committee, dealing with different areas of EU activities (e.g. Agriculture and Rural Development, Employment, and Social Affairs, Industry, Research and Energy, Constitutional Affairs, Legal Affairs, Budgets, Budgetary Control, etc.).

The following types exist:

  • standing committees;
  • committees of inquiry to investigate breaches or poor application of EU law

The EP can also set up:

  • sub-committees (Human Rights and Security and Defence),
  • temporary committees on specific issues with a 1-year mandate (e.g. Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis).

The committees produce reports that are piloted by a ‘Rapporteur’:

  • legislative reports, proposing amendments to a draft legislation proposal from the European Commission;
  • non-legislative reports;
  • own-initiative reports.

Committees meet when convened by their Chair or at the request of the President of the EP. The European Commission and the Council of the European Union are allowed to take part in meetings, if invited to do so.

Parliamentary committees conduct hearings of Commissioners-designate in their specialised areas prior to the EP's confirmation of a new European Commission.