Rules of Procedure
RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE EUROPEAN RESEARCH AREA COMMITTEE (ERAC),
AS ADOPTED BY ERAC AT ITS MEETING ON 7 AND 8 OCTOBER 2010
1. The European Research Area Committee (ERAC) (hereinafter referred to as "the Committee") shall consist of the Member States and the Commission (hereinafter referred to as "the Members").
Each Member State shall nominate up to two high-level representatives responsible for research and innovation policies.
The Commission shall nominate up to two representatives.
2. Each Member may nominate up to two alternate representatives. However, each Member State shall be represented in a meeting by a maximum of two representatives. 
3. Notice of nominations or replacements of the representatives and their alternates of Member States shall be sent through Permanent Representations to the Secretariat who will notify the Chair.
1. The Committee shall be chaired by the Commission, as represented by the Director General or a deputy Director General of the Directorate-General responsible for Science, Research and Development.
The Committee’s Chair shall not be one of the Commission's representatives or alternate representatives.
2. In the framework of the orientations defined by the Committee, the Chair shall be responsible for chairing the Committee and the overall guidance of its work.
The Chair shall have no voting rights.
1. The Committee shall have a Vice-Chair elected from among Member State representatives, by the majority of them, for a period of two years. His/Her term shall not be renewable more than once.
The Member State from which a representative has been elected as the Vice-Chair shall nominate another representative in his/her place for the period of the Vice-Chair’s term. The Vice-Chair shall have no voting rights.
2. The Vice-Chair shall cooperate with the Chair in carrying out his/her tasks in the spirit of equal partnership, while respecting the specific roles of each partner, and shall replace him/her on mutually agreed occasions.
1. The Committee shall have a Steering Board.
2. The Steering Board shall prepare the provisional Work Programme of the Committee, and its updates, and draft agendas of the Committee.
3. The Steering Board shall consist of the Chair and the Vice-Chair of the Committee, a representative drawn from the representatives or alternate representatives from each of the previous, present and next Member State holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU, and up to two members elected among further two Member States representatives.
The representative(s) of the Member States in the Steering Board shall be elected from among Member States' representatives by the majority of them for a period of 18 months, starting with the Presidency that follows the date of election. Their term shall not be renewable more than once.
4. The Steering Board shall be chaired by the Vice-Chair of the Committee. In his/her absence, the Vice-Chair shall be replaced by a representative of the Presidency of the Council of the EU.
5. The Steering Board shall be supported by the Commission services and the General Secretariat of the Council.
1. The Secretariat of the Committee and the Steering Board shall be provided by the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU.
2. The Secretariat shall ensure proper running of the Committee's and Steering Board’s meetings. It shall prepare the summary of conclusions of each meeting and, in agreement with the Chair and the Vice-Chair, submit it to the Committee for approval at the following meeting.
3. All correspondence for the Committee shall be addressed to the Secretariat, using the following electronic address [email@example.com].
4. All correspondence from the Committee to the Members shall be addressed from the Secretariat to the electronic addresses of the Members’ representatives (including the alternates). All representatives (including the alternates) must provide their electronic addresses to the Secretariat.
1. The Committee shall meet at least four times a year.
2. The Committee shall meet when convened by the Chair on his or her own initiative or at the request of at least nine Members.
3. At the meetings, the representatives may be assisted by advisers.
1. No later than by the end of 2010, the Steering Board shall prepare the provisional 18 months rolling Work Programme of the activities of the Committee.
2. The provisional Work Programme shall contain activities of the Committee which are in line with its mission, as defined in its mandate, set out in Council conclusions on the developments in the governance of the European Research Area .
The Work programme of the Committee shall be updated every 6 months.
3. After the agreement between the Chair and the Vice-Chair, the first provisional Work Programme and its subsequent updated versions shall be submitted to the Committee for adoption.
1. Taking into account the Committee's Work Programme, the Steering Board shall draw up the provisional annotated agenda for each meeting. After the agreement between the Chair and the Vice-Chair it shall be submitted to the Committee at least 10 working days before the beginning of the meeting.
2. The agenda may also include items in respect of which a request for inclusion on the agenda, together with any documents relating thereto, has been received by the Secretariat from the Members at least 12 working days before the beginning of that meeting, unless under exceptional circumstances which have been accepted by the Chair and the Vice-Chair.
3. The Committee may invite representatives of the countries associated to the Framework Programme to participate in its meetings as observers for relevant agenda items. It may also invite other observers, including members of the European Parliament when relevant agenda items so require. The provisional annotated agenda shall clearly indicate which items are subject to such an invitation.
4. Documentation to be submitted to the Committee shall include, where appropriate, a brief summary highlighting the key issues on which its opinion is requested and shall normally be available at least 10 working days before the meeting, unless exceptional circumstances accepted by the Chair and the Vice-Chair. In any case this time limit shall not be less than 48 hours.
5. The Agenda shall be approved by the Committee at the beginning of each meeting.
6. By consensus and in duly justified cases, the Committee may derogate from the abovementioned provisions.
VOTING ARRANGEMENTS AND QUORUM
1. Each Member shall have one vote.
2. Decisions of the Committee, including opinions and reports shall be adopted by a majority of its Members if a vote is requested . Any minority views of the Members shall be recorded.
The presence of the majority of Members is required to enable the Committee to adopt its decisions.
The vote shall be cast by one of the representatives or alternate representatives nominated in accordance with paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 1. Members who are unable to participate in a meeting of the Committee may submit their vote in writing before the meeting or may delegate it to other representatives on their behalf.
3. In urgent cases, opinions and reports of the Committee may be adopted by means of a written procedure.
The written procedure shall be set in motion by the Secretariat upon the request of the Chair, in agreement with the Vice-Chair, who shall also fix its time limit according to the urgency of each case. In any case this time limit shall not be less than 48 hours.
AD-HOC WORKING GROUPS
1. The Committee may, on a case by case basis, nominate rapporteurs and, if necessary, establish temporary ad hoc working groups with specific mandates to deal with questions relevant to its mandate. The proceedings of these working groups shall be under the responsibility of the chair of each working group.
PUBLIC ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS AND TRANSPARENCY
1. The meetings of the Committee and its working groups are confidential and not open to the public.
2. The official documents of the Committee, notably the agendas, work programmes, summary conclusions, opinions and reports, shall be made public unless otherwise decided by the Committee. These documents shall bear an ERAC number and, when relevant, their author(s).
 This provision stipulates that only two representatives per Member States shall be in a position to take decisions, and has no effect on the number of representatives to be reimbursed or on the number of people who can intervene during a meeting.
 This provision emphasises that the main aim is to take decisions by consensus. Only when a vote will be requested, the majority rule will apply.
Download in PDF format