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Conference of Delegation Chairs

The Conference of Delegation Chairs (CDC) is the political body in the European Parliament that coordinates the work of the house's 44 standing delegations.

The Conference ensures that the delegations work efficiently and in coordination with Parliament's other structures. Its regular meetings provide a forum to discuss issues and challenges common to the delegations.

Composition and Chair

The members of the Conference are the chairs of Parliament's 44 delegations and of the 3 committees that work on international relations.

One of the 44 chairs participating in the group is elected to be Chair of the Conference. He or she holds the position for a term of two-and-a-half years, or half of the European Parliament's five-year legislative term.

Currently, the Chair of the Conference of Delegation Chairs is Inés Ayala Sender. Her term will expire at the end of the Parliament's eighth term, in 2019.

A Spanish Member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Ms Ayala Sender is also the Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union, as well as a member of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean.


Meetings of the Conference of Delegation Chairs are usually held on the Tuesdays of Strasbourg sessions. This means there are 12 meetings in a year.

Twice a year, the Conference plans the next six-month calendar of delegation meetings. The draft calendar is submitted to the Committees on Foreign Affairs, International Trade and on Development. After that, the calendar is passed on to the "Conference of Presidents", the European Parliament's body that includes the President of the Parliament and the Chairs of the political groups.

The Conference of Presidents is responsible for approving the delegations' calendar.

Recommendations to and from other political bodies

The Conference of Delegation Chairs also sometimes submits proposals about the delegations' work to the Conference of Presidents.

The Conference of Presidents and the European Parliament's Bureau - another political body, made up of Parliament's president and vice-presidents - may delegate specific tasks to the Conference of Delegation Chairs.

Cooperation among delegations and between delegations and committees

By adopting common approaches and guidelines for delegations activities, the Conference of Delegation Chairs advocates best practices.

It also works with the "Conference of Committee Chairs" - a parallel political body that coordinates the work of committees.

In this way, Parliament's committees and delegations remain coordinated with one another.

And this, in turn, reinforces the European Parliament's scrutiny of EU foreign relations.


The Conference of Delegation Chairs is described in Parliament's Rules of Procedure.

In the current version of the Rules, Rule 30 covers the Conference with the following four clauses:

  1. The Conference of Delegation Chairs shall consist of the Chairs of all standing interparliamentary delegations. It shall elect its chair.
  2. In the absence of the Chair, the meeting of the Conference shall be chaired by the oldest Member present.
  3. The Conference of Delegation Chairs may make recommendations to the Conference of Presidents about the work of the delegations.
  4. The Bureau and the Conference of Presidents may instruct the Conference of Delegation Chairs to carry out specific tasks.