The political bodies of the European Parliament
There are different political bodies in the European Parliament responsible for the organisation of Parliament’s business and legislative planning or for Parliament rules as well as administrative, financial, staff and organisational matters.
Conference of Presidents
The Conference of Presidents is the political body in Parliament responsible for:
- the organisation of Parliament’s business and legislative planning
- deciding the responsibilities and membership of committees and delegations
- relations with other EU institutions, the national parliaments and non-EU countries.
The Conference of Presidents prepares Parliament’s timetable and plenary sitting agendas and allocates seats in the Chamber.
The Conference of Presidents consists of The President of the European Parliament and the political group chairmen.
One representative of the non-attached Members also has a seat in the Conference of Presidents but no voting rights.
The Conference of Presidents takes its decisions by consensus or by weighted vote based on the number of Members in each political group.
The duties of the Conference of Presidents are laid down in the Rules of Procedure.
It organises the work of the European Parliament and its bodies.
It is consulted on all matters relating to legislative planning and relations with other EU bodies and institutions.
The Conference of Presidents generally meets twice a month. Its meetings are not held in public.
The minutes of Conference of Presidents meetings are translated into the official languages, printed and distributed to all Members.
Any Member may ask questions about the Conference of Presidents’ activities.
This gives Members the opportunity, outside plenary sittings, to exchange views with an invited guest or obtain prior information about Commission proposals.
The Bureau is the body that lays down rules for Parliament.
It draws up Parliament’s preliminary draft budget and decides all administrative, staff and organisational matters.
The Bureau consists of the President of the European Parliament, the 14 Vice-Presidents and the five Quaestors elected by Parliament for a period of two and a half years (which can be renewed).
In the event of a tied vote in the Bureau, the President has the deciding vote. The Quaestors are members of the Bureau in an advisory capacity.
The Bureau has numerous administrative and financial duties within Parliament.
It is responsible for all matters relating to the internal running of Parliament.
It takes decisions on the organisation of sittings, it can authorise committee or delegation meetings outside the three usual places of work, and prepares the preliminary draft estimates of Parliament’s expenditure.
It appoints the Secretary-General who is responsible for running Parliament’s administration and establishes the composition and organisation of the Secretariat.
The Bureau generally meets twice a month.
Bureau minutes are translated into the official languages, printed and distributed to all Members.
Any Member may ask questions about the Bureau’s activities.
The Bureau decides on the funding for the political parties represented in the European Parliament.
College of Quaestors
The College of Quaestors is the European Parliament body responsible for administrative and financial matters directly concerning Members and their working conditions.
There are five Quaestors. They are also members of the Bureau.
The European Parliament elects the Quaestors after the election of the President and the 14 Vice-Presidents.
The Quaestors are elected by a majority secret ballot in three rounds: an absolute majority of the votes cast is required for the first two rounds and a relative majority is sufficient for the last round.
Their term of office is two and a half years and they have an advisory role in the Bureau. The Quaestors are responsible for administrative and financial matters that directly affect Members, for example making general services and equipment available.
They can present proposals to modify or rewrite texts on all rules adopted by the Bureau.
The Quaestors generally meet once a month.
Any Member may ask questions about the Quaestors’ activities.
Conference of Committee Chairs
The Conference of Committee Chairs is the political body in Parliament that works for better cooperation between the committees.
The Conference of Committee Chairs consists of the chairmen of all the standing and temporary committees; it elects its chairman. The Conference of Committee Chairs generally meets once a month in Strasbourg during plenary sittings.
The Conference of Committee Chairs may make recommendations to the Conference of Presidents on the committees’ work and the agendas for plenary sittings.
It can also advise the Conference of Presidents if there is disagreement as to which committee should be responsible.
The Bureau and Conference of Presidents may delegate certain tasks to the Conference of Committee Chairs.
The Conference of Delegation Chairs
The Conference of Delegation Chairs is the political body in Parliament that periodically considers all matters concerning the smooth running of interparliamentary delegations and delegations to the joint parliamentary committees.
The Conference of Delegation Chairs consists of the Chairs of all the standing interparliamentary delegations; it elects its chairman.
The Conference of Delegation Chairs may make recommendations to the Conference of Presidents on the delegations’ work.
The Conference of Delegation Chairs draws up a draft annual calendar of interparliamentary meetings and meetings of joint parliamentary committees.
The Bureau and Conference of Presidents may delegate certain tasks to the Conference of Delegation Chairs.
Brexit Steering Group
Working under the aegis of the Conference of Presidents, the Brexit Steering Group’s purpose is to coordinate and prepare Parliament’s deliberations, considerations and resolutions on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
The Deputy Secretary-General supports the work of the Brexit Steering Group.