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28 May 2017
B. The Greek Parliament and E.U. Affairs

2. Committee on European Affairs Establishment Establishment – legal foundation

The Committee of European Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament was established by a decision of the Speaker of the Parliament on June the 13th, 1990. On June 27th of the same year the committee’s President and its members were appointed. This decision was attached to the Standing Orders of the Parliament (Part A' Parliamentary Business), while in a later amendment on March 1993 it was incorporated to the Standing Orders in a special article (Article 32A) by the title “Committee on European Affairs”. The article determines in more detail the committee’s operations and competences. The same article is in force today including a few changes that came with the Standing Orders’ amendment on December 2001. In addition, many aspects of the committee’s function are regulated by article 41B of the Standing Orders, under the title “Opinions on the regulatory acts of the European Union”.  At the onset of every parliamentary term the Speaker of the Parliament establishes by decision a special standing Committee on European Affairs. (Sessions and reports of the Committee of European Affairs)

Composition

At the onset of every parliamentary term the Speaker of the Parliament establishes by decision a special standing Committee on European Affairs. The committee is composed by thirty (30) Members of Parliament and one of the Parliament’s Deputy Speakers, acting as the committee’s President. The President is appointed by the Speaker of the Parliament. In the sittings of the Committee, Greek Members of the European Parliament may participate with a right to speak. The Presidium of the Committee is composed by the President, two Vice-Presidents and a Secretary. The Vice-Presidents and the Secretary are elected by the members of the committee. One Vice-President belongs to the second in strength parliamentary group while the Secretary to the third (the current composition of the Committee of European Affairs)

Convocation of sittings – Order of the day

 The committee is convoked to a sitting by its President, or if this is requested by the one third (1/3) of its members or by the Government. The President of the committee has the initiative to determine the issues to be examined providing that they fall within its competence. The Speaker of the Parliament may refer to the committee any issue that he deems necessary or any issue submitted to him by other Committees of the Parliament or by Members of Parliament or Members of the European Parliament. If this is deemed useful for its works, any person may be called before the committee to provide relevant information. (sessions of the Committee of European Affairs)

Competences

According to article 32A' of the Standing Orders, the competences of the committee are mainly the following: a) institutional issues of the European Union, b) issues of cooperation between the Hellenic Parliament and other national Parliaments of the European Union, of the European Parliament and the Conference of European Affairs Committees of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC), c) issues of European policy and d) acts of the institutions of the European Union with a regulatory content. On these issues the Committee may express its consultative opinion through the submission of the respective report to the Parliament and the Government. The report contains any opinion of the minority.

In parallel to this opinion providing procedure, there is another one specified in article 41B of the Standing Orders. According to this article, the Government forwards to the Speaker of the Parliament the draft regulatory acts of the European Union immediately after they are communicated to the Council of Ministers, in accordance to article 70 par. 8 of the Constitution. All the consultation documents of the European Commissions are also included. The Speaker of the Parliament refers those documents to the competent standing committee or / and to the Committee on European Affairs. In cases of cross competence, the Speaker of the Parliament may convoke in a joint sitting two or more standing committees or also the Committee on European Affairs. Ministers may also be invited to provide information to the Committee. The article also stipulates that the competent or co-competent committees may provide their opinion which is forwarded to the competent Minister/s. The Government must inform the Parliament on the follow up of the opinion.

 

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