Guidelines for the International Activity of the Senate in the 14th Legislature

Last revision 02/17/2021

 

A.Official travel.

1.Authorisation of the Bureau of the Senate.

2.Composition of delegations.

2.1.Travel by the Speaker to international conferences and meetings.

2.2.Delegations led by led by the Speaker of the Senate.

2.3.Institutional travel by the Bureau of the Senate.

2.4.Travel by the Committees.

2.5.Other oficial vistis.

3.Duration of the official trip.

3.1.Travel time of less than three hours.

3.2.Travel time of three or more hours.

4.Expenses covered.

4.1.Delegation transport.

4.2.Accommodation.

4.3.Travel allowance.

4.4 Interpreters.

4.5 Official gifts.

4.6 Authorities rooms.

4.7 Accompanying delegations.

B.Official visits.

1.Visits of parliamentary delegations at the invitation of the Senate.

2.Visits by other parliamentary delegations.

C.Friendship groups.

D.Organisation of international meetings by the Senate.

E. Additional provision.

A.OFFICIAL TRAVEL.

1.Authorisation of the Bureau of the Senater.

All international travel of an official Senate delegation requires the authorisation agreement of the Bureau of the Chamber. The agreement must specify, at least, the following details: the destination of the visit, the duration of the official visit and the coverage of expenses, in accordance with the criteria established below.

Any request for authorisation to the Bureau must include justification for the proposed travel and an estimate of the expenses involved.

On completion of the trip, a report must be drawn up on the activity carried out.

2.Composition of delegations.

The Bureau’s authorisation must specify the composition of the official delegations of the Senate.

2.1 Travel of the Speaker to international conferences and meetings.

The attendance of the Speaker or any member of the Bureau of the Senate, at international conferences and meetings is understood to be authorised by this agreement.

International travel is also authorised for the Speaker in the case of institutional visits at the invitation of an overseas Parliament, within the framework of bilateral relations with that country, or where traveling in representation of the Spanish State, at the request of the President of the Government or the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation.

2.2 Delegations led by the Senateof the Senate.

The official delegation shall be comprised of the Speaker of the Senate and the spokespersons of the Chamber as determined. The economic regime shall be based on the principle of reciprocity, except where the economic situation of the country visited makes the application thereof impossible.

She may also lead delegations comprised of members belonging to different committees that, due to the brief thereof, attend bilateral parliamentary cooperation fora with countries of preferential focus.

2.3 Institutional travel by the Bureau of the Senate.

The delegation will comprise members of the Bureau of the Senate as determined.

2.4 Travel by the Committees.

Travel of committees: The Bureau of the Senate shall evaluate the appropriateness of each case. As general criteria, the official delegation shall be comprised of the chair of the committee and four of its members, two of whom should be representatives of the majority parliamentary groupings and the remaining two representatives of one of the other parliamentary groupings on said committee, using a rotation system for subsequent travel.
Unless the agreement of the Bureau establishes other criteria, under no circumstances can non-members of the committee form part of the delegation.

Travel to meetings of the Presidency of the European Union: As far as possible, the official delegation will conform to the criteria set forth in the official invitation.If not specified, the general criterion for travel by the Committees will apply.

For each six-month Presidency, a proposal for authorisation will be raised to the Bureau for all the international activity scheduled for the six-month period, attaching the travel schedule sent by the host Parliament and an estimate of expenses according to the number of parliamentarians who may be attending the meetings, subject to a specific authorisation for each one.

2.5 Other oficial visits

The agreement of the Bureau shall assess, on a case-by-case basis, the suitability, within the framework of bilateral or cooperation relations, and shall specify the composition of the official delegations of the Senate.

3. Duration of the official trip.

The duration of the official trip will take into account the time at which the first meeting or event on the official programme starts and where it is to be held.

3.1 Travel time of less than three hours.

As a guideline, on those visits for which flights do not exceed three hours, if the meeting commences after 3:00 pm and there are flights scheduled in the morning that reasonably allow the delegation to arrive in time, the official delegation shall travel on the same day as the meeting. The return journey shall be made upon completion of the meeting if there is a schedule of flights that reasonably allow for return the same day to Madrid.

3.2 Travel time of three or more hours.

On travel involving flights of three or more hours, the journey may be made on the day before the meeting. The return journey may be made the day after the completion of the official programme. These criteria may be adapted when flight combinations so allow or require, where the Secretariat General will be responsible for said decision.

In any case, the journey will set off from and return to the city of Madrid, unless there is a reasonable combination of flights or trains to or from the city preferred by the Senator and said combination does not significantly increase expenses.

In all cases, the city of Madrid shall be understood as the departure and return point, except where there is a reasonable combination of flights or trains from the preferred city of the member of the delegation and it does not constitute a significant increase in costs.
The advance or delay in the return travel dates at the request of a member of the delegation, on dates other than those established, shall be established at no extra cost for the Chamber.

4. Expenses covered.

The official travel authorisation will include the following items: transport costs (air ticket, train ticket, etc.); hotel expenses (bed and breakfast); travel allowances (to cover costs other than the above, such as transfers to and from the airport, lunches and dinners during the official travel); interpreters, where necessary; official gifts; and, where appropriate, the cost of using the authorities room at airports. Other extraordinary expenses deemed necessary must be authorised specifically. For each trip, a travel health insurance policy will be taken out. In any case, travel expenses must be rational and contained.

4.1 Delegation transport.

As a rule, business class tickets shall be booked, except where the airline does not offer this class. Train tickets shall be booked for club class or similar. First preference shall be to book flights with the airline Iberia, in accordance with the agreement signed with the Houses of Parliament, and connections shall be avoided where possible.

Flight or train bookings will be made using tariffs that allow for their cancellation or modification at the lowest possible cost.

It shall be preferable to book return journeys with the same airline where possible, except where this involves greater cost. In the event of connections, it should be preferable that the connections are linked to avoid losses arising from cancellation or delay of one of the flights purchased. Also, the most reasonable connection duration should be chosen, where there are several options at a similar cost.

Where a member of the delegation requires a change to the duration of the trip or a change of airline for specific reasons, they will be delivered with the ticket reserved by Senate services for the entire delegation so that all expenses that may arise are incurred by the person making the changes, along with the management of the reservation of other flights.

Transfers for the delegation from the airport to the hotel in the destination city and vice-versa shall be provided by the Embassy of Spain in the destination country where resources allow. Transport should only be charged to the Senate in exceptional cases where the host does not provide it or the Embassy cannot facilitate it and there are security reasons that make it indispensable. Otherwise, the cost of transfers in the destination city shall be charged to the members of the delegation, understood to be included in travel expenses.

4.2 Accommodation.

The official travel authorisation will cover only the costs of accommodation and breakfast. When so required by the establishments, each member of the delegation must provide his/her personal credit card to guarantee any extra expense that may arise.

As a general rule, the rooms will be reserved in the standard category and will be double for single use with breakfast included, unless other accommodation arrangements are advised due to special conditions in the country of destination.

4.3 Travel allowance.

Travel allowances will be calculated always with reference to the departure time of the flights from Madrid airport and the time of arrival at Madrid airport, excluding the time travellers need to be at the airport before their flight. The same criteria will apply when traveling on other means of transport.

The advance or delay in the return travel dates at the request of a member of the delegation for personal reasons, on dates other than those established, shall under no circumstances lead to an increase in expenses.

4.4 Interpreters.

As a general rule, the official travel authorisation will cover interpreting requirements during meetings in the country of destination. The Secretariat General will assess the type of interpretation required in each case in accordance with a criterion of rationalisation and containment in spending.

4.5 Official gifts.

The Department of International Relations of the Senate will establish the criteria for official gifts on official visits by the Chamber, taking into account the official programme and the authorities with whom the meetings are to be held and in accordance with established practices.

4.6 Authorities rooms.

The Department of International Relations of the Senate shall request use of airport Dignitaries Lounges on official delegation visits led by the Speaker of the Senate, by one of the members of the Bureau of the Senate or by the chair of a Senate committee, in accordance with Circular 3/2015-1 of the Presidency of the Government regulating access to the Dignitaries Lounges of Spanish airports.

4.7 Accompanying delegations.

Official delegations shall be accompanied on all trips by personnel of the General Secretariat of the Senate, determined in each case in accordance with the needs of the trip.

B. OFFICIAL VISITS.

1. Visits of parliamentary delegations at the invitate of the Senate.

Official visits to the Senate involving expenses for the Chamber will require a specific resolution by the Bureau.

In principle, there will be a maximum of two per year, one every six months, unless, at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation and according to Spanish interests, the Bureau exceptionally resolves to accept more visits.

Without prejudice to the preference given to the principle of reciprocity, the system for authorised expenses will include a maximum of eight people and accommodation, transfers within Spain, interpreters and the cost of organising the programme, including protocol and courtesy expenses. In any case, the proposal submitted to the Bureau by the Secretariat General will include an estimate by the Department of International Relations of the Senate.

2. Visits by other parliamentary delegations.

Protocol and courtesy expenses arising from the organisation of the programme are understood to be authorised.

C. FRIENDSHIP GROUPS.

The Bureau of the Senate will resolve on the creation and composition of Friendship Groups.

Both the trips and visits will require the corresponding resolution by the Bureau. They will be alternate and will not exceed two a year in any case.

As a general rule, only the members of the corresponding Friendship Group will be able to travel and they may not be substituted.

The system for expenses will comply with the principle of reciprocity and, failing that, the general criteria in place for visits by Speakers of Parliaments.

The expenses regime shall adhere to the principle of reciprocity and, in the absence thereof, the general criteria established for visits of parliamentary delegations invited by the Senate.

D. ORGANISATION OF INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS BY THE SENATE.

The Senate will organise international conferences and forums in which Spain participates when so required and in accordance with the planning of alternative meetings in one country or another, when so required by the rotating presidency of an international organisation or when so recommended by the commitments resulting from the Senate’s international activity within the principles of austerity and efficiency in resource management.

In any case, it will be essential to obtain prior authorisation from the Bureau of the Senate, which will assess whether or not it is appropriate in accordance with the expense estimate submitted by the Department of International Relations of the Senate.

E. ADDITIONAL PROVISION.

The provisions of this agreement shall apply to domestic travel of official Senate delegations where compatible with the nature thereof.

Palace of the Senate, 18 February 2020.