Rules of Pro­ce­dure of the Bun­desrat

In the version as stipulated in the notification of 26th November 1993 (BGBl I p. 2007), last amended by Bundesrat Resolution of 8th June 2007 (BGBl. I p.1057)

I. General

Basic Law, Article 50

The Länder shall participate through the Bundesrat in the legislation and administration of the Federation and in matters concerning the European Union.

Basic Law, Article 51

The Bundesrat shall consist of members of the Land governments, which appoint and recall them. Other members of those governments may serve as alternates.

Each Land shall have at least three votes; Länder with more than two million inhabitants shall have four, Länder with more than six million inhabitants five, and Länder with more than seven million inhabitants six votes.

Each Land may appoint as many members as it has votes. The votes of each Land may be cast only as a unit and only by Members present or their alternates.

Rule 1 - Members

The Land governments shall notify the President of the Bundesrat of the names of the Members of the Bundesrat, the date of their appointment as Members of the Bundesrat and of the Land governments and the date on which their membership expires.

Rule 2 - Incompatibility of office

Members of the Bundesrat may not simultaneously be Members of the Bundestag. Any Members of the Bundesrat who are elected to the Bundestag shall inform the President of the Bundesrat within reasonable time which of the two offices they will relinquish.

Rule 3 - The parliamentary year

The parliamentary year of the Bundesrat shall begin on 1 November and expire on 31 October of the following year.

Rule 4 - Identification documents, public transport

(1) All Members shall receive an identification document from the Bundesrat indicating their status as Members of the Bundesrat. They shall furthermore receive free tickets for German Rail and German Postal Bus services.

(2) Identification documents and tickets for public transport must be returned within a week after membership has ended.

II. Organs and Institutions of the Bundesrat

Basic Law, Article 52 (1)

The Bundesrat shall elect its President for one year.

Rule 5 - Election of the President and the Vice Presidents

(1) The Bundesrat shall elect without debate a President and two Vice Presidents from among its Members for one year.

(2) Should the office of the President or a Vice President fall vacant prematurely, a new election to fill these posts shall be held within four weeks.

Rule 6 - Function of the President

(1) The President shall represent the Federal Republic of Germany in all matters concerning the Bundesrat. The President is the highest authority for all civil servants of the Bundesrat.

(2) Senior civil servants shall be appointed, promoted, dismissed or retired by the President with the prior approval of the Permanent Advisory Council, the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General with the prior approval of the Bundesrat; the same shall apply to the appointment, upgrading or dismissal of all employees from Group II a* BAT upwards.

(3) The President shall exercise proprietary rights with regard to all buildings, parts of buildings and land under the administration of the Bundesrat.

Rule 7 - Function of the Vice Presidents

(1) The Vice Presidents shall deputize in order of precedence if the President is prevented from performing the duties of office or the office falls vacant prematurely. The former shall apply where and for as long as the President of the Bundesrat performs the duties of the Federal President pursuant to Article 57 of the Basic Law.

(2) The Vice Presidents shall advise and support the President in the performance of his duties.

Rule 8 - The Presidium

(1) The President and the Vice Presidents shall form the Presidium.

(2) After debate in the Permanent Advisory Council the Presidium shall prepare the draft budget of the Bundesrat. It shall decide on the internal affairs of the Bundesrat where decision-making authority is neither reserved to the Bundesrat as a whole nor resides in the President. The Bundesrat may assign the execution of its decisions to the Presidium.

(3) The President shall convene and chair meetings of the Presidium. He shall be obliged to do so at the request of any of the Vice Presidents.

(4) In urgent cases the President may bring about a decision of the Presidium by written vote.

(5) Minutes shall be taken of every meeting of the Presidium. They shall contain at least the names of those present, the motions, the results of deliberations and, where decisions are taken, an indication of the number of votes cast for and against a motion..

Rule 9 - The Permanent Advisory Council

(1) The Presidium shall have a Permanent Advisory Council. It shall consist of the plenipotentiaries of the Länder. It shall normally meet once a week.

(2) The Permanent Advisory Council shall advise and assist the President and the Presidium in preparing the meetings and managing the affairs of the Bundesrat. It shall decide on the staff matters referred to in Rule 6 (2). Its decisions shall be recorded in minutes.

(3) The Permanent Advisory Council shall liaise between the Bundesrat and the Federal Government. The Federal Minister responsible for Bundesrat and Land affairs may in this capacity attend meetings of the Permanent Advisory Council and shall be heard at any time.

(4) The Secretary General of the Bundesrat shall attend meetings of the Permanent Advisory Council.

(5) The following persons shall be eligible to chair the Permanent Advisory Council in the order indicated:

  1. a member of the Presidium,
  2. any plenipotentiary who is simultaneously a Member of the Bundesrat,
  3. any other plenipotentiary.

(6) If several persons have to be considered pursuant to paragraph (5), No. 2 or 3, the Permanent Advisory Council shall be chaired by the member who has served the longest on this body without interruption.

Rule 10 - Secretaries

(1) The Bundesrat shall elect two Secretaries from among its Members for every parliamentary year.

(2) A Secretary shall assist the President during the meeting. If neither Secretary is present at a meeting of the Bundesrat, the President shall appoint another Member of the Bundesrat to act as Secretary for that meeting.

Basic Law, Article 52 (4)

(4) Other members or representatives of Land governments may serve on committees of the Bundesrat.

Rule 11 - Committees

(1) The Bundesrat shall form standing committees. It may set up additional committees to deal with specific business.

(2) Each of the Länder shall be represented on every committee by a Member of the Bundesrat, another member or a representative of its government.

(3) The Land governments shall notify the President of the Bundesrat in writing of the date of appointment of committee members and of the termination of their membership. The committees shall be informed of these notifications.

(4) Paragraph (3), first sentence, shall also apply to the delegation of members of the Mediation Committee. The President, or on his behalf the Secretary General of the Bundesrat, shall notify the Chairman of the Mediation Committee of the names of the members and their alternates.

Rule 12 - Election of committee chairpersons

(1) The Bundesrat shall elect the chairpersons of the committees from among their members for each parliamentary year. The committees shall as far as possible be heard before the election.

(2) The committees shall elect deputy chairpersons from among their members.

(3) Should the office of a chairperson or deputy chairperson fall vacant prematurely, a successor shall be elected for the rest of the term.

Rule 13 - Representatives of the Bundesrat in other bodies

If the Bundesrat appoints members to bodies that hold the status of legal person under public or private law, to advisory committees to a Federal Government agency, to administrative boards or to similar institutions, the Bundesrat or its committees may require these members to report on their activities.

Rule 14 - The Secretariat

(1) The Bundesrat shall have a Secretariat to which all staff of the Bundesrat shall belong.

(2) The Secretary General shall head the Secretariat on behalf of the President, with the assistance of the Deputy Secretary General. The Secretary General shall assist the President in the conduct of his official business.

III. Meetings of the Bundesrat

1. Preparation of meetings

Basic Law, Article 52 (2)

The President shall convene the Bundesrat. He shall be obliged to do so if the delegates of at least two Länder or the Federal Government so demand.

Rule 15 - Convening and announcement of meetings

(1) The President shall convene the Bundesrat without delay if a Land or the Federal Government so requests.

(2) The President shall prepare the meetings. In preparation of the meetings the items to be dealt with shall be compiled in draft agendas.

(3) The draft agenda, the items and the reports and recommendations of the committees shall be delivered to the Land representations as early as possible.

(4) If delivery is not possible by the sixth day before the meeting at the latest, the draft agenda, the items and the reports of the committees involved shall be delivered directly and simultaneously to the Land representations and to the Members of the Bundesrat.

(5) The venue, time and draft agenda for each meeting shall be communicated to the Federal Government. Meetings of the Bundesrat shall be announced on the notice board in the building where they are to take place.

Rule 16 - Attendance register

An attendance register shall be available for every meeting of the Bundesrat and participants shall be required to enter their names in this register.

2. General procedure

Basic Law, Article 52 (3), 3rd and 4th sentences

Its [The Bundesrats] meetings shall be open to the public. The public may be excluded.

Rule 17 - Exclusion of the public

(1) Motions to exclude the public from deliberations on particular items on the agenda shall be debated and decided upon in the absence of the public. An announcement shall be made when the meeting moves to open session again.

(2) Non-public meetings shall be confidential unless the Bundesrat decides otherwise.

Basic Law, Article 53, 1st and 2nd sentences

The members of the Federal Government shall have the right, and on demand the duty, to attend meetings of the Bundesrat and of its committees. They shall have the right to be heard at any time.

Rule 18 - Participation in debate

(1) The Rapporteur of the Mediation Committee and the State Secretaries of the Federal Government may also take part in debates of the Bundesrat. Other persons may do so only with the permission of the President.

(2) Representatives of the Länder and the Federal Government may be called in to assist the Members of the Bundesrat and the Federal Government as well as other participants in the debates.

Basic Law, Article 53, 3rd sentence

The Bundesrat shall be kept informed by the Federal Government with regard to the conduct of its affairs.

Rule 19 - Right to question members of the Federal Government

(1) Any Member of the Bundesrat may question the Federal Government or its members on any item on the agenda during its meetings.

(2) Each Land may furthermore question the Federal Government on matters not connected with an item on the agenda. Such questions shall be communicated by letter to the President at least two weeks before the meeting in which the reply is to be given. The President shall communicate these questions to the Federal Government and place them on the agenda.

(3) Questions pursuant to paragraph (2) shall be dealt with at the beginning of the appropriate meeting. The Land tabling the question may give an oral substantiation of its question. At the request of that Land the President shall establish whether the question is supported by the majority of the Bundesrat.

(4) Where the question relates to a matter about which the Federal Government is required under Article 53, third sentence of the Basic Law to keep the Bundesrat informed, the President shall, at the request of the Federal Government, exclude the public for the duration of the debate on that question. Rule 17 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(5) A question shall not be dealt with at the meeting if the Land concerned has agreed to accept a written reply. The reply of the Federal Government shall be communicated to all Länder.

Rule 20 - Chair

(1) The President shall chair meetings of the Bundesrat.

(2) Should the President and the Vice Presidents be unable to preside over a meeting, the oldest head of a Land government shall assume this responsibility.

Rule 21 - Participation of the President in the debate

Should the President wish to speak in the debate he shall relinquish the chair for the duration of his involvement in the debate.

Rule 22 - Disciplinary authority of the President

(1) Participants in meetings who are not Members of the Bundesrat and visitors shall be subject to the disciplinary authority of the President.

(2) Anyone in the gallery who expresses approval or disapproval or is in breach of decorum may be removed immediately by order of the President. In the event of a disturbance the President may order the gallery to be cleared.

3. Procedure in the Bundesrat

Rule 23 - The agenda

(1) At the beginning of the meeting the President shall announce any changes in the composition of the Bundesrat.

(2) Prior to the debate the Bundesrat shall adopt the agenda. Rule 19 (2), third sentence, shall not be affected.

(3) If a Land has invoked its rights under Rule 15 (1), and requests at least two weeks prior to the meeting that a matter be placed on the agenda, its request must be complied with unless the Land forgoes a debate during that meeting.

(4) If the item, the draft agenda or the recommendations of the committees concerning a matter on the agenda have not, as provided for in Rule 15 (3), been delivered at the latest on the sixth day before the meeting, the matter shall not be put on the agenda if one of the Länder objects to this, unless a statutory time limit for the Bundesrat decision elapses in less than seven days or the matter is urgent within the meaning of Rule 45 d (1).

(5) Matters not on the agenda shall not be debated and decided upon if any Land objects to this.

Rule 24 - Debates

The President shall seek to ensure that in debates on matters of general interest or special significance, irrespective of committee reports, the reasons are stated which are of importance for the decision on committee recommendations or any other motion.

Rule 25 - Reports

(1) At meetings of the Bundesrat the committees shall present oral reports on important matters under discussion.

(2) The reports shall present an unbiased summary of committee debate and be restricted to results of political significance. With the permission of the President an oral report on deliberations concerning technical or legal questions and the outcome of such deliberations may be waived in favour of a written report without oral presentation.

Rule 26 - Motions and recommendations

(1) Each Land has the right to submit motions to the Bundesrat.

(2) The Presidium may submit motions on internal affairs of the Bundesrat.

(3) The committees shall submit recommendations to the Bundesrat on any matter referred to them. If a committee recommends that the Bundesrat amend or reject a bill it must state the reasons for its recommendation.

Basic Law, Article 51 (2)

(2) Each Land shall have at least three votes; Länder with more than two million inhabitants shall have four, Länder with more than six million inhabitants five, and Länder with more than seven million inhabitants six votes.

Rule 27 - Number of votes

The number of votes each Land is entitled to under Article 51 (2) of the Basic Law shall be established according to the results of the official updating of population statistics where no results of an official census are available.

Basic Law, Article 52 (3), 1st sentence

Decisions of the Bundesrat shall require at least a majority of its votes.

Rule 28 - Quorum

(1) The Bundesrat shall form a quorum if the majority of its votes is represented.

(2) If there is no quorum the President shall terminate the meeting and announce the date and time of the next meeting.

(3) In the event of a decision by the Bundesrat pursuant to Article 37, Article 84 (3) and (4) or Article 91 (2) of the Basic Law, the Land in question shall have the right to vote.

Basic Law, Article 51 (3), 2nd sentence

The votes of each Land may be cast only as a unit and only by Members present or their alternates.

Rule 29 - Voting

(1) Voting shall be by show of hands. At the request of one Land a roll-call vote of the Länder shall be taken. The Länder shall be called in alphabetical order.

(2) If no vote on committee recommendations has been requested and no contradictory recommendations submitted, and if no motions have been made and the floor has not been asked for, the President may determine that the Bundesrat has decided as recommended by the committees; he may have several matters voted on simultaneously. The first sentence shall apply mutatis mutandis to the adoption of the agenda pursuant to Rule 23 (2).

(3) The President may postpone the vote on an item on the agenda or on motions concerning that agenda item until the end of the meeting at the latest. The vote must be postponed if at least two Länder so request.

Rule 30 - Voting rules

(1) In the legislative process pursuant to Articles 76 to 78 of the Basic Law, questions put to the vote shall be worded in such a way that the vote shows conclusively whether the Bundesrat has decided with a majority

to present a bill to the Bundestag (Article 76 (1) of the Basic Law),
to comment on a bill of the Federal Government and the substance of that commentary (Article 76 (2) of the Basic Law),
to consent to a bill adopted by the Bundestag (Article 78 of the Basic Law),
to request that a bill adopted by the Bundestag be referred to the Mediation Committee (Article 77 (2), first sentence, of the Basic Law),
to object to a bill adopted by the Bundestag or withdraw that objection (Article 77 (3), first sentence, and Article 78 of the Basic Law).

In all other cases where the consent of the Bundesrat is required, the vote shall likewise show clearly whether the Bundesrat has given its consent with the majority of its votes. The vote to grant consent shall also be a vote on any motions to refuse consent.

(2) If several motions have been entered on the same matter a vote shall first be taken on the motion that proposes the most extensive amendment. The degree to which a motion diverges from the item shall be decisive. In case of doubt the Bundesrat shall decide. With regard to bills requiring the consent of the Bundesrat, motions pursuant to Article 77 (2), first sentence, of the Basic Law shall be put to the vote before a decision on consent is taken.

(3) Paragraph (1), first sentence, and paragraph (2) shall apply mutatis mutandis to committee recommendations.

Rule 31 - Procedure regarding decisions pursuant to Article 77 (2), 1st sentence, of the Basic Law (Referral of bills to the Mediation Committee)

With regard to the procedure pursuant to Article 77 (2), first sentence, of the Basic Law the President shall first call for a vote to determine whether there is a majority in favour of convening the Mediation Committee if several different motions pertaining to convening the Mediation Committee have been entered. If a majority is in favour of convening the Mediation Committee, he shall call for the various motions to be debated and voted upon. He may, after a further debate, take a vote on whether the Mediation Committee should be convened to examine the issue in question on the basis of all the individual motions adopted; he shall do so if any Land so requests.

Rule 32 - Effective date of decisions

Decisions of the Bundesrat shall become effective at the end of the meeting. If debate has been concluded upon a particular matter, this matter may not be further debated and voted upon if any Land objects.

Basic Law, Article 43 (2)

(2) The Members of the Bundesrat and of the Federal Government as well as their representatives may attend all sittings of the Bundestag and meetings of its committees. They shall have the right to be heard at any time.

Rule 33 - Attendance at sittings of the Bundestag

The Bundesrat may instruct its Members to uphold its decisions in the Bundestag and its committees. Bundesrat committees may submit proposals in this regard.

Rule 34 - Reports

(1) Verbatim reports shall be made of meetings of the Bundesrat.

(2) The reports shall be confidential in so far as the debate itself is confidential (Rule 17 (2)). The Bundesrat may decide that no report shall be made of a meeting from which the public are excluded.

(3) The report shall be deemed approved if no objection has been lodged with the President within two weeks of publication. If the President does not allow the objection, a decision shall be made by the Bundesrat.

Rule 35 - Simplified procedure

In the case of items transmitted to the Bundesrat for information only, the recommendations of the committees involved that the Bundesrat take note or raise no objections shall be deemed to be the position of the Bundesrat in so far as no Land requests before the next meeting that the bill be debated by the Bundesrat.

IV. Committee Procedure

Rule 36 - Referral of bills

(1) The President shall refer items to the appropriate committees and decide which committee shall be the lead committee. As few committees as possible shall be involved. The President may authorize the Secretary General of the Bundesrat to refer items and determine the lead committee.

(2) The President shall place a bill entered by a Land directly on the draft agenda of the Bundesrat at that Land's request.

Rule 37 - Venue, public, attendance register

(1) The committees shall hold their meetings at the seat of the Bundesrat. Exceptions shall require the prior approval of the President. Rule 15 (5) concerning the announcement of meetings shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) Committee meetings shall not be held in public. They shall be confidential unless the committee decides otherwise.

(3) For every committee meeting there shall be an attendance register which participants must sign.

Rule 38 - Convening, chairperson, agenda

(1) The chairperson shall convene the committee. It must be convened without delay at the request of a member of the committee. The chairperson shall prepare the meetings of the committee and preside over them.

(2) The agenda shall be delivered to the Land representations as early as possible, at the latest on the sixth day before the meeting. If it cannot be delivered within this period it shall be transmitted to the Land representations and, simultaneously by fax/telex, to the committee members.

(3) If the committee is not the lead committee, the agenda shall indicate why the matters in question have been referred to the committee in question.

Rule 39 - Debate in committee

(1) The committees shall prepare the decision of the Bundesrat.

(2) The President may instruct the committees to present an advisory opinion.

(3) Committees may hold joint meetings. If a matter under debate is of equal importance to several committees, the President may order a joint meeting.

(4) The committees may appoint sub-committees.

(5)The committees should conclude their debate by the eighth day before the next meeting of the Bundesrat.

Basic Law, Article 53, 1st and 2nd sentences

The members of the Federal Government shall have the right, and on demand the duty, to participate in meetings of the Bundesrat and of its committees. They shall have the right to be heard at any time.

Rule 40 - Attendance and the right to ask questions

(1) Members of the Bundesrat and representatives of the Land governments who are not committee members, as well as representatives of the Federal Government, may attend meetings of the committees and sub-committees but may not vote.

(2) In the meetings committee members and representatives of the Land governments may question the members of the Federal Government and its representatives.

(3) The committees may conduct hearings of experts or of other persons as they deem necessary.

Rule 41 - Rapporteurs

The committee shall if necessary appoint a rapporteur for matters under debate. Reports shall be presented orally unless the committee decides otherwise.

Rule 42 - Decisions

(1) The committees shall only form a quorum if more than half of the Länder are represented.

(2) Each Land shall have one vote in all committees.

(3) The committees shall adopt their decisions with a simple majority of votes.

Rule 43 - Written vote

Should the chairperson consider that the oral discussion of an item can be dispensed with, members shall be asked to submit their opinions in writing. The written voting procedure should leave sufficient time for any Land to request that a meeting be convened.

Rule 44 - Minutes

(1) The committee secretary shall draw up minutes of every meeting. The minutes shall contain at least the names of those present, the motions, the result, and, where decisions are made, indicate the result of the voting and how each Land voted. In the sub-committees, the indication of how each Land has voted may be dispensed with if the sub-committee so decides in a particular case.

(2) The minutes shall be confidential unless the committee decides otherwise pursuant to Rule 37 (2), second sentence.

(3) The wording of committee decisions and their explanations may be made public unless the committee decides otherwise.

Rule 45 - Committee recommendations

The secretary of the lead committee shall compile the committee recommendations on each item and transmit them to the Land representations.

IV a. Procedure in Matters concerning the European Union

Basic Law, Article 23 (2), (4), (5) and (6)

(2) The Bundestag and, through the Bundesrat, the Länder shall participate in matters concerning the European Union. The Federal Government shall keep the Bundestag and the Bundesrat informed, comprehensively and at the earliest possible time.

(4) The Bundesrat shall participate in the decision-making process of the Federation in so far as it would have to been competent to do so in a comparable domestic matter or in so far as the subject falls within the domestic competence of the Länder.

(5) Insofar as, in an area within the exclusive competence of the Federation, interests of the Länder are affected, and in other matters, insofar as the Federation has legislative power, the Federal Government shall take the position of the Bundesrat into account. To the extent that the legislative powers of the Länder, the structure of Land authorities, or Land administrative procedures are primarily affected, the position of the Bundesrat shall be given the greatest possible respect in determining the Federation’s position consistent with the responsibility of the Federation for the nation as a whole. In matters that may result in increased expenditures or reduced revenues for the Federation, the consent of the Federal Government shall be required. .

(6) When legislative powers exclusive to the Länder concerning matters of school education, culture or broadcasting are primarily affected, the exercise of the rights belonging to the Federal Republic of Germany as a member state of the European Union shall be delegated by the Federation to a representative of the Länder designated by the Bundesrat. These rights shall be exercised with the participation of, and in coordination with, the Federal Government; their exercise shall be consistent with the responsibility of the Federation for the nation as a whole.

Law on Cooperation between the Federal Government and the Länder in Matters concerning the European Union Section 2

Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 2 of the Act of 27 July 1957 on the Treaties of 25 March 1957 establishing the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community (Federal Law Gazette, Part II, p. 753), the Federal Government shall inform the Bundesrat comprehensively and at the earliest possible time of all initiatives within the framework of the European Union which may be of interest to the Länder.

Rule 45a - Referral to the committees of information on initiatives within the framework of the European Union

(1) On the basis of the information on initiatives within the framework of the European Union, the President shall decide, , which initiatives should be debated in the Bundesrat and shall refer these to the appropriate committees. The President may delegate the task of selection and referral to the Secretary General. Each Land and committee may demand that further such information be referred to the committees.

(2) Referral of such information shall be confined to as few committees as possible. This shall apply especially to information the urgency of which is already apparent at the time of its referral to committee (Rule 45d (2)).

(3) The matter shall remain in committee until the completion of the initiative in the European Union. Where several committees are involved they should where possible draw up a coordinated timetable for their debates on recommendations to the Bundesrat or the Chamber for European Affairs.

(4) During the decision-making procedure in the institutions of the European Union the committees involved shall advise the representatives of the Länder, provide the Bundesrat with feedback on its comments, and submit proposals for any necessary follow up decisions.

Basic Law, Article 52 (3a)

For matters concerning the European Union the Bundesrat may establish a Chamber for European Affairs whose decisions shall be considered decisions of the Bundesrat; the number of votes to be uniformly cast by the Länder shall be determined by paragraph (2) of Article 51.

Rule 45b - The Chamber for European Affairs

(1) The Bundesrat shall form a Chamber for European Affairs whose decisions shall be deemed decisions of the Bundesrat.
(2) Each Land shall delegate a member or alternate member of the Bundesrat to serve as a member of the Chamber for European Affairs. The other members and alternate members of the Bundesrat shall be alternate members of the Chamber for European Affairs.

(3) The governments of the Länder shall notify the President in writing which persons have been designated members of the Chamber for European Affairs and from what date, as well as the date on which their membership ends. This information shall be communicated to the Chamber for European Affairs.

Rule 45c - The Chairperson of the Chamber for European Affairs

(1) The Bundesrat shall without debate elect from among the members of the Chamber for European Affairs the Chairperson as well as the First and Second Vice Chairperson for a period of one year.

(2) Should the term of office of the Chairperson or Vice Chairperson end prematurely, a successor shall be elected for the remainder of that term.

Law on Cooperation between the Federal Government and the Länder in Matters concerning the European Union, Section 3

Prior to adoption of a negotiating position by the Federal Government concerning an initiative of the European Union, the Federal Government shall, in a timely manner, give the Bundesrat an opportunity to submit an opinion within an appropriate deadline if the interests of the Länder are affected by the initiative in question.

Section 4 (1)

Insofar as the Bundesrat would have been competent to participate in the decision-making process of the Federation or insofar as the subject falls within the domestic competence of the Länder, the Federal Government shall involve representatives of the Länder designated by the Bundesrat in deliberations to establish the negotiating position in respect of this initiative.

Section 5

(1) Insofar as, in an area within the exclusive competence of the Federation, interests of the Länder are affected, and in other matters, insofar as the Federation has legislative powers, the Federal Government shall take the position of the Bundesrat into account in establishing its negotiating position on an initiative.

(2) Insofar as legislative powers exclusive to the Länder are primarily affected or to the extent that the legislative powers of the Länder, the structure of Land authorities, the position of the Bundesrat shall be given the greatest possible respect in determining the Federation’s negotiating position; in all other cases paragraph (1) shall apply. This shall be done in a manner consistent with the responsibility of the Federation for the nation as a whole, including responsibility for matters pertaining to foreign, defence and integration policy. Should the opinion of the Federal Government differ from that of the Bundesrat, efforts shall be undertaken to reach an agreement. With a view to achieving such agreement, further discussions shall take place between the Federal Government and representatives of the Länder. If it is still not possible to reach an agreement and if the Bundesrat confirms its standpoint with a two-thirds majority vote, the standpoint of the Bundesrat shall prevail. In matters that may result in increased expenditures or reduced revenues for the Federation, the consent of the Federal Government shall be required.

Section 6 (1), 1st sentence, and (2), 1st and 2nd sentences

(1) Insofar as the Bundesrat would have been competent to participate in the decision-making process of the Federation or insofar as the subject falls within the domestic competence of the Länder or insofar as the interests of the Länder are affected, the Federal Government shall, upon request, invite representatives of the Länder to participate in the negotiations in the organs of the European Commission and the European Council where possible .

(2) In the case of initiatives which essentially affect the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of the Länder in the areas of school education, culture or broadcasting, the Federal Government shall appoint a representative of the Länder to lead its delegation in the organs of the Commission and the Council and at ministerial-level meetings of the Council. The Bundesrat may designate only one member of a Land government with ministerial rank for such Council meetings. The exercise of rights by the Länder representatives shall occur with the participation of and in agreement with the representative of the Federal Government. Should the situation change in the course of negotiations, agreement shall be reached with the representative of the Federal Government in keeping with the rules and criteria that apply to decision-making domestically. For ministerial-level Council meetings addressing proposed initiatives that do not primarily affect the competences of the Länder in the areas of school education, culture or broadcasting, but which affect other exclusive legislative competences of the Länder, the Bundesrat may appoint members of the Land governments of ministerial rank as Länder representatives, who shall be entitled to submit declarations; such declarations shall be agreed upon in conjunction with the representative of the Federal Government. If an initiative affects exclusive legislative competences of the Länder, but does not primarily concern the areas of school education, culture or broadcasting, the Federal Government shall conduct the negotiations in the various fora in the Commission and Council and at ministerial-level Council meetings in agreement with the Länder representatives.

Section 7

(1) The Federal Government shall, at the request of the Bundesrat and without prejudice to the rights of the Länder to bring actions of their own, use the scope for judicial proceedings provided for in the Treaty on the European Union insofar as the Länder are affected by an act or omission of organs of the Union in areas falling within their legislative jurisdiction and insofar as the Federation has no right to legislate. In this connection the responsibility of the Federation for the country as a whole, including responsibility for foreign affairs, defence and integration policy, may not be diminished.

(2) Paragraph (1) of this Section shall apply mutatis mutandis if the Federal Government has the opportunity to state its position in proceedings before the European Court of Justice.

(3) With regard to the conduct of proceedings before the European Court of Justice, the Federal Government shall, in the cases referred to in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Section, as well as in the event of proceedings concerning infringements of the Treaty to which the Federal Republic of Germany is a party, reach agreement with the Bundesrat to the extent that the legislative jurisdiction of the Länder is affected and the Federation has no right to legislate on the matter in hand.

Rule 45d - Competences of the Chamber for European Affairs

(1) The Chamber for European Affairs shall in matters which have been referred to it and which require urgent or confidential treatment represent the Bundesrat in European Union affairs.

(2) A matter shall be deemed urgent if a decision by the Bundesrat cannot be postponed until its next scheduled meeting in view of the progress of the debate in the organs of the European Union.

(3) A matter shall be deemed to require confidential treatment especially where

  1. provision for such confidential treatment is made in relevant legislation of the European Union;
  2. the Federal Government has declared such confidential treatment to be necessary;
  3. a Land or a committee has requested that the matter should treated confidentially.

(4) If the President finds that the Chamber for European Affairs is the competent body he shall refer the matter to it, unless he convenes the Bundesrat. The President may delegate the Secretary General to refer matters to the Chamber for European Affairs in agreement with the Chairman of the Committee on European Union Affairs.

(5) Until a decision is taken by the Chamber for European Affairs, referral of a matter to the Chamber for European Affairs shall not preclude deliberations in the committees or a debate and decision on the matter by the Bundesrat.

Rule 45e - Preparations for meetings of the Chamber for European Affairs

(1) Meetings of the Chamber for European Affairs shall be prepared by the committees where time allows.

(2) The Chairperson shall convene the Chamber for European Affairs as necessary. Any Land may request that a meeting of the Chamber be convened to debate a matter referred to it.

(3) Meetings shall be convened with a week's notice. In urgent cases this period may be reduced if this is necessary in the light of the issue to be examined. The meeting shall be convened by sending a copy of the draft agenda to the members.

Rule 45f - Public meetings

(1) Meetings of the Chamber for European Affairs shall be public. The public may be excluded. Where the Chamber's competence derives from the confidentiality of the matter in hand it shall decide whether the public should be excluded. In all other respects Rule 17 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) Decisions of the Chamber for European Affairs and explanations of such decisions shall be published unless the Chamber decides otherwise.

Rule 45g - Participation in meetings

Members and representatives of the Federal Government and representatives of the Land governments may participate in meetings of the Chamber for European Affairs; other persons may attend only with the permission of the Chairperson.

Rule 45h - Decisions

(1) The members and alternate members of the Chamber for European Affairs are entitled to vote in the Chamber for European Affairs.

(2) The Chamber for European Affairs shall be considered quorate if the majority of votes are represented. If a quorum is not attained the Chairperson shall cancel the meeting.

(3) The Chamber for European Affairs shall adopt its decisions with the majority of its votes.

Rule 45i - Written procedure

(1) Should the Chairperson consider that oral deliberations on draft EU legislation may be dispensed with, a decision may be taken on the basis of the written procedure. A report shall be drawn up on the written procedure.

(2) If a meeting of the Chamber for European Affairs is suspended because the Chamber is not quorate, the Chairperson shall initiate the written procedure.

(2) With the exception of the situation provided for in (2), each Land may object to the decision taken via the written procedure.

Rule 45j - Reports on meetings

Minutes shall be kept on meetings of the Chamber for European Affairs. The minutes must contain at least the names of the participants, the motions and the result of the deliberations. The report shall be confidential in so far as the negotiations themselves are confidential (Rule 45 (1), second to fourth sentences).

Rule 45k - Application of procedural rules

Rule 15 (3) and (5), Rules 16, 18 (2), Rules 22, 23 (2), first sentence, and (5), Rule 26 (3), Rules 29, 30 and 32 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Rule 45l - Representatives of the Länder

(1) Where the Bundesrat designates representatives for negotiations on initiatives within the framework of the European Union, those representatives shall be bound by the decisions of the Bundesrat. The Land providing the representative shall seek further decisions should this prove necessary in the light of the progress of the negotiations. Any other Land may likewise request further decisions. Similar recommendations may also be made by a committee to which the matter in hand has been referred.

(2) Immediately after a meeting of the organ concerned, the representatives shall report on aspects of particular interest to the Länder. As a general rule such reports shall be submitted in writing. The representatives shall also report if further debate is considered necessary in the light of the negotiations, or if a Land or committee so requests.

V. Final Provisions

Basic Law, Article 51 (1)

(1) The Bundesrat shall consist of members of the Land governments, which appoint and recall them. Other members of those governments may serve as alternates.

Basic Law, Article 52 (4)

(4) Other members or representatives of Land governments may serve on committees of the Bundesrat.

Rule 46 - Alternate members

Within the meaning of these Rules of Procedure, alternate members of the Bundesrat and of its committees shall be treated as members.

Rule 47 - Interpretation of the Rules of Procedure

(1) The President shall decide on any divergent interpretations of the Rules of Procedure arising in the course of a meeting.

(2) In other cases decisions shall, at the request of the President or of a Land, be made by the Bundesrat.

Rule 48 - Derogations from the Rules of Procedure

Should the Bundesrat wish to derogate from the Rules of Procedure in a particular case, a unanimous decision shall be required.

Rule 49 - Entry into force

These Rules of Procedure shall enter into force on 1 October 1966. The Rules of Procedure of the Bundesrat adopted on 31 July 1953 (Federal Law Gazette Part II, p. 527) shall cease to have effect on the same day.

Glossary