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Figure 1 – European Parliament Presidents

European Parliament Presidents

The President enjoys executive and representative powers, as well as responsibility for ensuring respect of the rules of procedure. The President directs all of Parliament’s activities, including the duty to ‘open, suspend and close sittings; to rule on the admissibility of amendments and other texts put to the vote, as well as on the admissibility of parliamentary questions’. Order is maintained during sittings by the President giving the floor to speakers. The President also closes debates, puts matters to the vote, announces the results of votes and makes relevant communications to committees. The President’s responsibility extends also to the security and inviolability of the Parliament’s premises (Rule 22). Rule 22(4) attributes to the President the power to represent Parliament in international relations, on ceremonial occasions and in administrative, legal and financial matters, although these powers may be delegated.
The powers of the President, however, extend far beyond the mere letter of Rule 22. They also include, for example, the power to convene the conciliation committee, under both ordinary legislative procedure and in the budgetary procedure, in agreement with the President of the Council, and to chair Parliament’s delegation to the conciliation committee (although under the ordinary legislative procedure this duty is often delegated); to chair formal sittings when visiting heads of state address the Parliament; and during important votes or debates.
Since the late 1980s, the practice of the EP President addressing the opening of all European Council meetings has developed, a sign of the increased visibility and recognition of the role in relation to the other institutions and the outside world. The President chairs both the EP Bureau and the Conference of Presidents, and may cast a deciding vote in the Bureau in the event of a tie. One significant symbol of the extent to which Parliament’s powers have evolved is that the EP President co-signs, with the President of the Council, legislative acts adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure (Article 297(1) TFEU). At the end of the budgetary procedure, it is also the EP President who declares the EU budget adopted (Article 314(9) TFEU).

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