Parliamentary Rules of Procedure: The Case of the European Parliament

Rules of Parliamentary Procedure as Documents in Debates

All parliaments have their own rules of procedure, either in the sense of written reglements or Geschdftsordnungen as in the Francophone or Germanic parliaments, or in the combination of conventions, precedents and written Standing Orders as in the British parliament. There also exists a broad commentary literature, especially in the British and French parliamentary cultures (discussed in Chapter 2), which is important to know, not only for parliamentary members and officials, but also for parliamentary scholars, journalists and citizens who follow the debates. The rules of procedure do not determine what the parliaments do, but they sketch the horizons of possible and legitimate forms of political action in the parliament in question. The rules always need interpretation and are always subject to debate, especially when new events or political struggles arise for which no regulations are available (see also Palonen and Wiesner 2016).

The following chapter analyses the current rules of the European Parliament (EP) in relation to its own history, to the conflict between the French and the British parliamentary cultures and to the power struggle between the institutions of the European Union. It also takes up the broader political controversies on parliamentary ideal types, on political times and on the formation of the European types of political agenda and on European politicians.

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