European Parliament's committees are primarily responsible for preparing the legislative work for Parliament's plenary, on the basis of which it adopts legislative resolutions.
Their core task is to draw up reports on legislative proposals that have been referred to Parliament, or on which Parliament has been consulted, and on own-initiative reports.
Parliament has 20 standing committees, and 2 subcommittees, each responsible for an area of community policy: foreign affairs, environment, development, international trade, budget etc, and working methods appropriate to its areas of expertise.
Special committees are sometimes created on an ad-hoc basis to address a specific topic.
Each committee elects a chairman and four vice-chairmen for consecutive periods of two and a half years in each parliamentary term. Each committee has its own secretariat.
Committees meet in public, once or twice a month, generally during the weeks that follow plenary sittings in Strasbourg. The meetings are broadcasted live (through EP Live).