Published: Tue, 14 May 2013
Rapporteur is a word often heard around the European Parliament. Derived from the French, it simply means “author of a report”. (French – Report = rapport)
The Reports in question become the official Parliament position on specific pieces of European law, or they can also be political declarations outlining the Parliament’s position on certain issues as varied as agriculture, the Middle East or the future of transport.
MEPs are appointed Rapporteurs in their respective committees on issues of specific interest or importance to them in the context of their committee work.
For instance, I was recently appointed Rapporteur on Trade Relations with Singapour.
Whether you get to be a Rapporteur also depends to a certain degree on the size of your political Group (such as Fine Gael’s EPP) or indeed the “pull” you have with key MEPs in the Committee!
Reports are drafted and then amendments are tabled by other MEPs. It is then up to the Rapporteur to sit down and draw up a voting list, placing “plus” and “minus” beside the amendments which he or she deems worthy or unworthy of inclusion in the final wording.
The voting list of the Report is then put to the vote in the Committee.
Afterwards progresses to Plenary where there is a more limited opportunity to amend it.
Thus the “Kelly Report” will be voted on in the International Trade Committee and will proceed to the Plenary Session of Parliament.
A Rapporteur has to be skilled in judging the preferences of his or her colleagues both within their own political family and across the ideological divide. A practical and effective Rapporteur will produce a coherent report which receives a positive vote across all political groups.