zondag 20 november 2011

European Parliament Committee Secretariats

In order to function properly, The 736 members of the European Parliament can rely on Parliament officials at their disposal. The linguistic service and These civil servants of the European Parliament are appointed through the EPSO concourse and are expected to be neutral in their handlings. The Parliament has about 6000 officials in service, but one third are translators, the rest are clerks, administrators, assistants, secretaries and others. In this Blog we will zoom in on the support staff of the Parliamentary Committees.

The Parliamentary Committee can rely on a secretariat which consists of 5 to 10 persons. The secretariat is headed by a Secretary of the Committee. The responsibilities of the secretary of the Committee include appointing administrators to Committee Rapporteurs, handling incoming letters and forwarding them either to the Committee Chair or the Committee members and supporting the Committee Chair. Moreover the secretary of the Committee is responsible for drafting the agenda of the Committee. The agendas are made in close cooperation with Rapporteurs, chairs and members, but the role of the Committee secretary is not to be underestimated.

When an administrators is designated by the Committee secretary to a Rapporteur his main task is to facilitate and smooth out the process. This starts with talks between the Rapporteur and the administrator on the direction that the Rapporteur wants to take the rapport. A Rapporteur with a strong sense of direction and focus will rely less on the administrator then if opposite is the case. Moreover the role of the administrator will also depend on role the MEP gives his own assistant in the process. If the MEP has a strong sense of direction, backed by expertise and experience, the role of the administrator will be mainly administrative. If the MEP is new and lacks expertise the administrator will have a bigger role to play in the shaping of the rapport. What is a bit unclear is what the role of the political assistant of the political parties is. As the guardian of the groups political positions, he/she will probably want to have his/her say in the development of writing a EP rapport.

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