On 29 March 1990, an Advisory Committee on European Affairs was created in the Belgian Senate. This committee was composed of 22 senators and was created in order to monitor more closely the decision-making process in the -then- European Communities and the activities of the Belgian government in the different Council meetings. Following the Belgian state reform of 1993, a thorough reflection concerning the handling of European Affairs in the Senate lead to the creation of a Federal Advisory Committee on European Affairs (hereinafter "Committee"). This was done in 1995 in close co-operation with the House of Representatives.
The Committee is composed of 30 members: 10 members of the Senate, 10
members of the House of Representatives and 10 members of the European
Parliament elected in Belgium.
The members of the Senate and the members of the House of Representatives are appointed by their respective assemblies at the beginning of each parliamentary session. They are proposed by their political groups in proportion to the relative strength of those groups in their respective assembly.
The members of the European Parliament are appointed by the 25 members of the European Parliament elected in Belgium after each election of the European Parliament, on the basis of proportional representation.
The Committee is chaired alternatively and for the duration of a full legislature by the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the Chairman of the delegation of the Belgian Senate.
The Committee's tasks are :
The Committee may decide to summon members of the federal Government to appear before it. In this framework, the Committee hears the Prime Minister (or another member of Government) before and after each European Council.
Any member of the European Parliament elected in Belgium can take part in the work of any of the standing committees of both assemblies. He or she has no voting rights in these committees. Before such members may take part in the work of a standing committee, prior authorisation is required from the chairman of the committee concerned.
The Committee represents the Belgian federal parliament at COSAC meetings.
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