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EP: Different roles taken on by MEPs

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Being an Member of the European Parliament (MEP) involves more than just debating and voting on legislative proposals. They can be tasked with drawing up a report to represent the Parliament’s position on a legislative proposal or any other matter. They can also act as group coordinators in a committee, follow the progress of a legislative report or be in charge of preparing an opinion on a proposal. Read on to find out more about the different responsibilities MEPs are able to take on in the European Parliament.


Whenever a new legislative proposal arrives, a committee that deals with the issue involved is charged with drawing up a recommendation for all MEPs to vote on. For example, if it is something to do with the transport of livestock, then the agriculture committee would deal with it, whereas if it is about a trade treaty with Canada, it would go to the international trade committee.

The committee appoints a MEP to prepare the report. This person, known as the rapporteur, often consults with the political groups and with experts, sometimes during specially organised hearings. Based on the information received, he or she drafts a text, including amendments, which the committee then votes on. All MEPs then vote on the report during a plenary session.

Shadow rapporteur

To follow the progress of a report, political groups have the option of appointing shadow rapporteurs. They represent the views of their political group on the subject and play an important role by facilitating the search for a compromise on the legislative proposal in talks with the other political groups.


Political groups can also appoint someone as coordinator in every committee to act as the group’s main spokesperson in that committee and together with the other coordinators prepare decisions to be taken by the committee, especially on the procedure and the appointment of rapporteurs. They can also mobilise group members during important votes and can appoint shadow rapporteurs.

If a committee is asked for an opinion on a report prepared by another committee, it has the option of appointing a rapporteur, who would be responsible for drafting this opinion.

Source: the European Parliament

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