Committee on European Affairs
About the Committee

History

The establishment of the Committee for European Affairs is linked with the Czech Republic’s accession to the European Union on 1st May 2004. The Committee was newly formed pursuant to an amendment to the Rules of Procedure of the Chamber of Deputies on 12th May 2004. The institutional predecessor of the Committee for European Affairs was the Committee on European Integration, established in mid-1998 primarily for the purpose of monitoring the Czech Republic’s preparations for EU membership.

The Committee was included among the mandatorily established committees of the Chamber of Deputies.

Recent Development

The content of the activities of the Committee continues to proceed from Section Fifteen A of the Rules of Procedure of the Chamber of Deputies, which has however undergone substantial changes in connection with the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon. Since the day it took effect, i.e. since 1st December 2009, the jurisdiction of the Committee for European Affairs, or the Chamber of Deputies, in the area of the discussion of the affairs of the European Union has been signifi cantly expanded. The procedures in a complaint in the issue of the violation of the subsidiarity principle by an act of the EU (i.e. the question whether the objective of the proposed European directive can be satisfactorily accomplished on the national level), further in the case of previous consent of the Parliament with some decisions taken in bodies of the EU and also in the expression of consent of the Parliament with a certain decision of the Council of the EU have been newly modified.

The Committee’s activities focus on three main areas: (1) discussing bills and EC/EU documents presented by the Government through the Committee for European Affairs to the Chamber of Deputies; (2) monitoring the Government prior to a session of the Council of the EU; and (3) discussing important nominations of persons to represent the Czech Republic in European institutions.

Current Agenda

Discussing Drafts of European Bills and Other European Documents

The pivotal part of the Committee’s work comprises the discussion of the bills of the European Union. Based on the Government’s stance, the Committee discusses the most important drafts of legislative acts with a possible major impact for the Czech Republic. If the discussion is not completed, the Government will exercise a parliamentary reservation at the next session of the Council of the EU. When discussing documents, the Committee focuses i.a. on adhering to the subsidiarity principle. The Committee’s responsibility and the importance of its activities are given also by the fact that in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Chamber of Deputies, the Committee’s resolutions not included in the plenary sessions’ agenda are considered as offi cial statements of the Chamber of Deputies, which must be taken into account by the Government when formulating its stances for sessions within EU bodies. The bills concerning a particularly specialised issue are also often recommended for discussion to the other materially relevant committees and bills with the most significant impact on the interests of the CR are advanced for discussion at a plenary session of the Chamber of Deputies. 

Monitoring the Government Prior to a Session of the Council of the EU

At the Committee’s request, a member of the Government must attend the Committee’s meeting and present the position which will be adopted by the Czech Republic at the session of the Council of the EU to its members. Prior to the session of the Council of the EU, the Committee is regularly informed on the relevant stances directly by the Prime Minister of the Government.

Further Activities of the Committee

Within its jurisdiction, the Committee expresses itself on governmental proposals of candidates for European Commissioner, for Justice at the European Court of Justice and for nominations to the bodies of the EIB and EBRD for the CR. The Committee also provides so-called preliminary consultations regarding bills transposing European directives into the Czech legal system. In accordance with the Government’s legislative rules, such bills are mandatorily presented to the Committee for European Affairs by the individual government departments before being discussed by the Government and subsequently the Parliament of the Czech Republic.

Contacts with Abroad and Communication with the Public

A delegation of the Committee regularly attends the COSAC (Conference of Community and European Affairs Committees of Parliaments of the European Union) sessions, which are also attended by representatives of the European Parliament and the candidate countries.

The Committee also actively cooperates with partner committees of the countries of the Visegrad Group; joint meetings take place on a regular basis every six months. The Committee further organises or co-organises conferences and seminars dealing with current European themes.

The Committee for European Affairs amasses all of the acts and documents of the EU and makes them available through a database of the EU documents at www.psp.cz/sqw/eulist.sqw. The information on the discussed European legislation is newly available also from the main website of the Chamber of Deputies.

 

Committee Meetings

Committee meetings are convened and conducted by the Chairperson of the Committee. The Committee decides by an absolute majority of the members present, its meetings are open to the public and usually held twice a month.




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