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The legislative process

The Presidents' Conference

The agenda of the Senate is set by the Presidents' Conference. Under the authority of the Speaker of the Senate, it brings together the 8 deputy speakers and the presidents of the 6 political group, the delegate representing non-registered senators, the presidents of the 7 standing committees, the general rapporteur of the Finance Committee, the president of the Senate committee for the European Union and, if appropriate, the presidents of the special committees. A member of the government - generally the minister for relations with Parliament - attends in the meeting.

The shuttle

Any bill, whether tabled by the government or by a member of Parliament, is discussed in turn by each of the two Houses in order to reach an agreement on the clauses to be examined. This process is called The Shuttle. The government is empowered to stop the Shuttle after two readings in each House. The Prime Minister then calls for a meeting of the Joint Mediation Committee which is composed of seven members from each House. They are entrusted with the task of drawing up a compromise on the clauses on which agreement has not been reached.

If this mediation procedure fails to produce a compromise, the government can proceed to a new reading in each house and then ask the National Assembly to vote on the text as presented at its final reading. However, this situation has arisen for about 10 % of laws introduced since 1958, year of the creation of France 's Fifth Republic .

To know more

  • By declaring a bill to be a matter of urgency, the Prime Minister can summon the Join Mediation Committee after a single reading by Parliament.