Federal advisory committee on European Affairs

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.

1. Composition

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.

2. Chairmanship

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.

3. Competencies

The Committee's tasks are :

  1. to co-ordinate and stimulate the parliamentary control of the European decision-making process;
  2. to monitor the execution of national legislation, resolutions and recommendations with regard to European issues;
  3. to deliver opinions on the negotiations concerning the revision of the European Treaties;
  4. to draw up reports on institutional reforms and on proposals of normative acts of the European Commission;
  5. to hear the Government, before and after each European Council, concerning its agenda and conclusions;
  6. to strengthen the parliamentary control on the European decision-making process by taking initiatives in the field of interparliamentary co-operation (between the national parliaments and the European Parliament, between the national parliaments themselves and between the Belgian federal parliament and the parliaments of the Communities and the Regions). The Committee also meets similar bodies in charge of European Affairs in other Member States to discuss working methods and topics of common interest;
  7. to inform, on a regular basis, the standing committees on :
  8. to evaluate the Government report on the execution of the European Treaties. This report gives the current state of affairs of the transposition of European law in Belgium;
  9. to deliver opinions on European matters. The Committee can draw up initiative reports. Furthermore, the activities of the Committee can be concluded with resolution proposals, recommendations or other final texts which are directly submitted to the plenary of the Senate and/or the House of Representatives.

4. Relations with the national Government

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.

5. Involvement of the European Parliament in the work of the Senate and the House of Representatives

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.

Copyright © Belgian Senate
Contact the Webmaster