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The Parliament’s Plenary Sessions: at a glance

Written by Clare Ferguson

The agenda for the European Parliament’s plenary sessions, held monthly in Strasbourg, crams debate and votes on both legislative and non-legislative reports, the Union’s budgetary procedure, statements by the European Commission and the Council, as well as question time – and all of this can be rearranged to accommodate matters of urgent importance right up to the last moment.

20111026_Plenary_session_week_43_8722_067All this, of course, is bread-and-butter work for the Members of the European Parliament. However, the 751 Members from the 28 different Member States generally prioritise the work of the Committees or Delegations of which they are a member. To get quickly up to speed on an issue outside their particular expertise, busy Members need access to independent, objective and authoritative information. Above all, given the range of policies on which they are called to make a decision – from fisheries to fiscal policy, support for sport to security challenges – their background reading material must be clear and concise.

With an eye to the changeable nature of the agenda for each plenary session, EPRS publishes a collection of clear, readable and content-rich short notes, designed to give an ‘at a glance’ overview of the items up for discussion or vote. These one-to-two page documents give a brief overview of the issue for discussion, the proposals made, and the Parliament’s stance to date. Inbuilt links give Members with more time instant access to further reading, and to speed things up even further, the notes are translated into several languages.

Whilst the EPRS Plenary At a glance notes are designed to assist MEPs in their Parliamentary work, they are also published on the internet, thus allowing public access to the very same information. You can browse a selection of them on this blog yourself, just select ‘At a glance’.

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