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European Parliament Rules of Procedure

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation.

European Parliament Rules of Procedure


Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament



  • They establish the internal organisation and workings of the EU’s only pan-European directly-elected institution. Under Article 232 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Parliament has the power to adopt its own rules of procedure.
  • The 300-page document covers all procedural aspects of parliamentary works. It is regularly updated (latest version: September 2015).


The rules cover the following aspects of parliamentary life.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs):

Parliamentary officers

MEPs elect the president, 14 vice-presidents and 5 quaestors by secret ballot for a term of 2.5 years.

  • The president:
    • has overall direction of the Parliament and its various operations;
    • represents Parliament;
    • ensures observance of the rules and maintains order;
    • opens, suspends and closes sittings, chairs the debates and supervises voting;
    • rules on the admissibility of amendments, on questions and on conformity of reports; and
    • refers to parliamentary committees matters that concern them.
  • Vice-presidents have specific responsibilities and replace the president when necessary.
  • Quaestors are responsible for administrative and financial matters directly concerning MEPs.
  • The Bureau consists of the president and 14 vice-presidents. It decides on financial, organisational and administrative matters affecting the Parliament.
  • The Conference of Presidents consists of the Parliament’s president and the presidents of the political groups (see below). It organises the Parliament’s political work and decides legislative planning.
  • The Conference of Committee Chairs consists of the chairs of all standing and special parliamentary committees. It may make recommendations on committee work and plenary session agendas.
  • The Conference of Delegation Chairs consists of the chairs of all Parliament delegations to parliaments elsewhere in the world. It may make recommendations on the work of delegations.
  • Political groups are formed by MEPs on the basis of their political affinities. A minimum of 25 MEPs, elected in at least a quarter of EU countries, is required to form a group. They receive financial and administrative support depending on their size.
  • Some MEPs do not belong to a political group. They receive support for their parliamentary activities.
  • Individual MEPs from different political groups may form a cross-party intergroup on specific issues such as animal welfare or public health.

Legislative procedures

  • ordinary legislative procedures (1st, 2nd and 3rd readings), where Parliament acts as co-legislator with the Council;
  • consultation procedures, where Parliament submits an opinion on a draft legal act;
  • consent procedures, where Parliament’s agreement is necessary before adoption of a legal act.

In the course of those legislative procedures, Parliament pays specific attention to issues like the respect for fundamental rights, the legal basis, the delegation of legislative powers, the financial compatibility and the respect for subsidiarity.

Own-initiative procedures

Relations with other EU institutions and bodies

Parliamentary questions

  • MEPs may table written questions to the European Council President, the Council, the Commission or the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. They can also table oral questions, which are followed by a debate, to the Council or the Commission.

Relations with national parliaments

Sessions of Parliament


  • Standing committees prepare Parliament’s decisions at plenary level by submitting reports and other documents in their specific field of competence.
  • Special committees may be established for a given term and a specific subject area.
  • Committees of inquiry may be set up to investigate alleged contraventions of EU law or possible maladministration.

Interparliamentary delegations



Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

last update 21.03.2016