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Role of the 14th Standing Committee on EU Policies

In 2003, the former Advisory Committee on European Community Affairs was upgraded to full standing committee status, as part of a sweeping revision of Senate Rules concerning the relations between the Senate and the European Union. Under the new Senate Rules, members of what has since been the 14th Standing Committee (European Union Policies) are uniquely drawn from the membership of the other 13 Standing Committees. Double membership ensures that members of the 14th Committee combine deep knowledge of European issues with good knowledge of matters within the terms of reference of the other committee they sit on. In Europe, the 14th Committee is one of few parliamentary bodies enjoying such features, which improves the value of its debates and decisions.

The 14th Committee has general jurisdiction over the constitutional aspects of the activity of the EU and its bodies and the transposition of EU measures. It also has jurisdiction over compliance with European law. It is responsible for relations with the European Parliament and the Conference of Community Affairs Committees of EU Parliaments (cosac), and considers and reports to the Senate on the Community Bill (now split into a EU Delegation Bill and a European Bill following Law 234 of 2012), which is introduced yearly by the Government in order to fulfil its European obligations.

Apart from such more general tasks, the Committee's terms of reference may be divided into three main areas: consideration of EU measures (regulatory and other); consideration of national legislation relating to EU legislation; other non-regulatory activities (policy-setting and oversight).

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