Meetings during the recess
When does the House return from recess?
As a rule, there are no debates in the House during a recess. Yet, MPs keep monitoring the current issues. It is always possible to hold a debate during the recess. If a majority of the MPs deems it important to discuss a matter with the government without delay, a recess debate can be scheduled. Through an e-mail consultation or a procedural meeting the House can decide to hold a committee meeting, a so-called general committee debate. Such a debate was held, for instance, on Thursday 16 July 2015 about the financial situation in Greece. The members of the standing committee on Finance returned from recess for this debate. The debate is held according to the same pattern as a debate outside the recess. Messengers, clerks, official reporters and security staff are also present.
Sometimes one or more MPs wish to continue the debate in the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives, for instance because they want to put forward a motion. This is not allowed during a general committee debate. According to section 46 of the Rules of Procedure thirty members can request the President of the House in writing to call a sitting. A plenary sitting can only begin if at least 76 MPs (the quorum) are present in the building of the House.
In previous years the House returned from recess several times to discuss urgent issues. In the 2014 summer recess, flight MH17 crashed over Ukraine. Subsequently, the House scheduled two committee debates with the government, on Friday 25 July and Tuesday 29 July 2014. In 2011, like in 2015, financial trouble in Europe caused the House to return from recess. The last plenary debate during a recess took place on 19 August 2015. On 22 October 2011 the House even held a plenary recess sitting on Saturday, about the crisis in the euro zone. Before that, the House had held a plenary debate about the same subject on 17 august 2011.