MEPs are in a rush to complete all parliamentary business by the last plenary sitting (15-18 April 2019) or risk seeing all their work expire. According to the EP’s internal rules (rule 229) all Parliament’s unfinished business is deemed to have lapsed and it is left to the new parliament to decide whether to take it up or not.

In the past, this has usually been a formality with the new parliament generally endorsing 1st readings adopted by its predecessor. However, in an age of trilogues and 1st reading agreements, the rules written for the ordinary legislative procedure are not so clear. What happens to a 1st reading agreement that has not been formally adopted by the plenary? Given that it can take months between the co-legislators reaching a deal and the juri-linguists signing off the final text, the pressure is on to complete all trilogues by February to allow final sign-off in April. Even then a few corners may have to be cut to meet the deadline.

Unfinished committee reports are more straight-forward, with the newly elected committee deciding on what procedure to follow. The norm is for the same rapporteur – if re-elected – to carry on their work, but a radical change in the composition and political balance of the committee could lead to the whole procedure starting from scratch. With regard to non-legislative work, committees have generally avoided taking on any new tasks and any unfinished business would simply lapse.