An explanation of European Union Committees
Committees are where the majority of the work of an MEP takes place. It is in Committees that reports on policy areas are written, debated, amended and adopted. Committees are where the Parliament creates legislation. Once reports have been adopted at committee stage, they move forward to be voted on by the entire Parliament. When a Committee is drafting a report or an opinion there will be a designated Rapporteur. A Rapporteur is someone appointed to investigate a specific issue of concern for the Committee. The other political groups can choose to appoint a shadow Rapporteur to follow the work of the Rapporteur and under normal circumstances they choose to do this.
There are 20 Committees in the European Parliament covering a wide array of policy areas ranging from agriculture and the environment through to transport and tourism and foreign affairs. The Parliament can also set up special Committees to deal with matters of pressing concern that warrant a Committee of their own. The most recent Committee created in this way was the Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis.
I am a full member of the Agriculture and Rural development Committee (AGRI). I am a substitute member of the Environmental, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) and the Petitions Committee (PETI).
The Agriculture Committee is responsible for:
- The operation and development of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP);
- Rural development, including the activities of the relevant financial instruments;
- Legislation on veterinary and plant-health matters, animal feeding stuffs provided such measures are not intended to protect against risks to human health and animal husbandry and welfare;
- The improvement of the quality of agricultural products;
- Supplies of agricultural raw materials;¬†
- The Community Plant Variety Office;
The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety is responsible for the following;
1.¬†¬†Environmental policy and environmental protection measures, in particular concerning:
(a) Air, soil and water pollution, waste management and recycling, dangerous substances and preparations, noise levels, climate change, protection of biodiversity,
(c)¬†International and regional measures and agreements aimed at protecting the environment,
(d)¬†Restoration of environmental damage,
(f)¬†¬†The European Environment Agency;
2.¬†¬†Public health, in particular:
(a)¬†Programmes and specific actions in the field of public health,
(b)¬†Pharmaceutical and cosmetic products,
(c)¬†Health aspects of bioterrorism,
(d)¬†The European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products and the European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control;
3.¬†¬†Food safety issues, in particular:
(a)¬†The labelling and safety of foodstuffs,
(b)¬†Veterinary legislation concerning protection against risks to human health; public health checks on foodstuffs and food production systems,
(c)¬†The European Food Safety Authority and the European Food and Veterinary Office.
The Petitions Committee allows citizens of Member States to directly petition the parliament in relation to an issue of concern they feel has not been adequately addressed in their home Member state. The parliament can choose to investigate the petition and ask the European Commission to look into proposing legislation to deal with the problem at a European level or investigate the issue further.