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EP delegations: What do they do?

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Thursday, 05 April 2012

EP delegations: What do they do?

According to the EP Press service, MEPs regularly travel in delegations to other countries as part of the EP's contribution to the EU's foreign policy. Like parliamentary committees, EP delegations consist of MEPs charged with a specific task. In this case it is about maintaining contacts with their counterparts in parliaments of countries outside the EU. And unlike committees, delegations do not prepare resolutions for the plenary to discuss or vote on. Instead they focus on exchanging information and developing the Parliament's international relations.
One of the principal aims is to help strengthen contacts with states that are considered the EU's traditional partners and promote EU values such as respect for human rights, liberty and democracy. Each delegation normally holds an interparliamentary meeting once a year with parliamentarians or representatives of civil society from a country outside the EU. They work closely together with the parliamentary committees on foreign affairs, development and international trade. The delegations consult the chairs of these committees before interparliamentary meetings take place and submit reports afterwards. The chairs of the delegations also come together in the Conference of Delegation Chairs to discuss matters regarding the running of the delegations.
There are 41 delegations, varying in size from 12 to more than 70 members. MEPs are usually full members of one or more delegations and can be substitute members in others. Delegations, which are set up to be a fair representation of member states and political groups in the EP,  have a chair and usually two vice-chairs.

Source: European Parliament