The latest Conference of Presidents was held in the EP on the 27 of May 2014, two days after the elections of the new parliament.
Made up of the leaders of the political groups and the EP president, the Conference of Presidents is an integral part of Parliamentary life, but do you know exactly what it does? If so, congratulations you are a Parliament expert. For those of us who aren´t, here is a summary of the main ways in which it affects Parliament's work.
The Conference is made up of the leaders of political groups, the Parliament president and a non-attached member -that is, an MEP with no political group affiliation- that may attend but not vote. Decisions are made through consensus or voting, with the weight of each leader´s vote based on the number of MEPs in their political group, i.e. more members = more clout.
- The Conference decides on the organisation of the Parliament's work and on its relations with other institutions.
- It decides what the plenary will discuss and organises speaking times for members during sessions.
- It determines the composition of parliamentary committees - how many MEPs they will have from each political group - and what topics the committees will focus on.
- It is responsible for giving committees the go-ahead to propose own-initiative reports - that is, a report drafted through a member´s own interest in a certain topic.
- The Conference also selects the laureate of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the candidates proposed by the Foreign Affairs and Development committee.