Committees of the Federal Council
Preliminary Deliberations in the Federal Council Committees
As is the case in the National Council, decisions in the Plenary of the Federal Council have in principle to be preceded by preliminary deliberations in a committee. This is to ensure that competent Members of the Federal Council can discuss and negotiate substantive issues in a restricted circle.
The final decision rests with the Plenary of the Federal Council, but it rarely deviates from the result achieved by the committee, since the composition of the committees in terms of parliamentary groups reflects, on a smaller scale, that of the Plenary.
Kinds of Committees
Expert Committees of the Federal Council
A separate committee is elected for each major field of interest, such as the Judicial Committee of the Federal Council or the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Committee for Specific Parliamentary Tasks
A second type of committee deals with specific parliamentary tasks: Examples are the Incompatibility Committee or the EU Committee, which exercises the rights of participation of the Federal Council in matters of the European Union. A special case is the Standing Joint Committee under Section 9 of the Finance Constitution Act, which is composed of Members of both the National and Federal Councils. It mediates in conflicts between the Federal Government and a Provincial Diet on the admissibility of new provincial or local taxes and rates.
Committee Sittings not open to the Public
With the exception of the deliberations in the EU Committee, sittings of the Federal Council committees are not open to the public.