Rules of Procedure of the Government

approved under Government Resolution No 610 of 16 September 1998, Government Resolution No 506 of 22 May 2000, Government Resolution No 913 of 13 September 2000, Government Resolution No 53 of 10 January 2001, Government Resolution No 1161 of 7 November 2001, Government Resolution No 737 of 15 July 2002, Government Resolution No 772 of 7 August 2002, Government Resolution No 180 17 February 2003, Government Resolution No 427 of 28 April 2003, Government Resolution No 590 of 11 June 2003, Government Resolution No 773 of 30 July 2003, Government Resolution No 853 of 3 September 2003, Government Resolution No 538 of 2 June 2004, Government Resolution No 1072 of 3 November 2004, Government Resolution No 1055 of 13 September 2006 and Government Resolution No 57 of 17 January 2007

Consolidated version

Article I

Introductory provisions

(1) The Government, as the supreme executive body, takes decisions pursuant to and within the limits of laws in respect of fundamental matters of national significance, unless such decision-making is in the competence of ministries, other central state administration authorities or their subordinate bodies.

(2) As a general rule, the Government adopts decisions on the basis of written materials presented to it by a member of the Government, and in exceptional cases on the basis of oral information from a member of the Government in urgent matters.

(3) The Government’s decisions are issued in the form of Government resolutions. Government resolutions are binding upon all members of the Government, ministries, other central state administration authorities, other administrative bodies and further entities where thus provided by a separate law.

Article II

Preparation of materials for Government meetings and submission thereof to the Government

(1) With the exception of materials referred to in Annex No 5 to these Rules of Procedure, each document for a Government meeting, prior to the submission thereof to the Government, shall be presented to all ministers, the Deputy Prime Minister (if not charged with the management of a ministry), the governor of the Czech National Bank and the manager of the Office of the Government for their opinion. Material sent to these persons for their opinion shall also be sent to the secretariat of the Prime Minister for information purposes. Materials for Government meetings concerning the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rights of national minorities shall also be submitted to the government commissioner for human rights for his opinion. The time limit for the communication of opinions is ten working days as of the date of delivery of the materials, unless the party sending the materials for an opinion sets a longer time limit. The Prime Minister may permit an exception from the requirement of comment procedure, including the time limit for the communication of opinions, in respect of materials of a non-legislative nature. Materials for Government meetings shall be presented to the heads of other central state administration authorities, the ombudsman, the mayor of Prague, regional authorities and other bodies carrying out state administration for their opinion in cases within their competence. Material for Government meetings shall be submitted for an opinion by the head of the body which drew up the material. Where materials contain a decision of the National Security Council (hereinafter referred to as ‘BRS’) concerning submission thereof to the Government, comment procedure shall be replaced by discussion of the matter within the BRS. Where materials concern European Union affairs and are in the competence of the EU Committee, the comment procedure may be replaced by a discussion thereof within the EU Committee, unless a member of the EU Committee requests that the material pass through comment procedure.

(2) In the production of materials, in the dispatch of materials for comments, in the communication of comments and suggestions, and in the submission of materials to the Government, mandatory use shall also be made of the electronic library of the Office of the Government; the method to be applied in working with this library is laid down in this electronic library.

(3) The party presenting materials for Government meetings shall be a member of the Government or, in cases laid down by law, the president of the Czech Statistical Office, the governor of the Czech National Bank or the ombudsman. The party presenting materials containing a BRS decision shall be the president of the BRS, the vice-president of the BRS, or the party presenting the materials to the BRS. The manager of the Office of the Government may also present materials for Government meetings. Where materials for a Government meeting are drawn up in cooperation with other ministries, members of the Government charged with the management of such ministries shall be co-presenters of the materials. Where materials for a Government meeting are drawn up by a government commissioner, a central state administration authority or an advisory body of the Government, the party presenting the materials shall be the member of the government who is assigned a coordinating role in relation to such bodies or who is the relevant body’s competent person. The head of the central state administration authority, advisory body of the Government, or government commissioner shall be the co-presenter of materials for the Government meeting.

(4) Non-legislative materials for Government meetings shall be sent by the submitting party to the Prime Minister with a request for inclusion on the agenda of the Government meeting. In the request, the party presenting the material shall also propose the inclusion of the material in Part A, Part B or Part C of the agenda of the Government meeting; the basis for this proposal shall be the aspects referred to in Article V(4). The material shall be sent in 50 copies, of which the first three copies shall be signed on the envelope of the material by the presenter or co-presenters. The manager of the Office of the Government may, in warranted cases, set a different number of copies of the material to be sent for Government meetings.

(5) Legislative materials for Government meetings (draft general principles of laws, bills, draft governmental orders, draft government opinions on bills not presented by the Government) are submitted in accordance with the Government Legislative Rules.

(6) In addition to materials for Government meetings, members of the Government may present the Government with materials which do not incorporate a draft government resolution and which are labelled ‘For the information of members of the Government’. The purpose of these materials is to acquaint members of the Government with politically, economically and socially important matters which, however, are in the competence of a member of the Government or head of another central state administration authority. For the information of members of the Government, the Prime Minister also shall place on the agenda of Government meetings those materials which, in accordance with the relevant laws, are sent by state authorities to the Government for its information.

Article III

Preparation and approval of mandates for the Government member’s attendance of meetings of the Council of the European Union and the Council of Europe and the presentation of information from these meetings

(1) For the preparation, discussion and approval of mandates for Government members’ attendance of meetings of the Council of the European Union and the Council of Europe (hereinafter referred to as ‘mandate’) which are presented to Government meetings for approval, a special procedure is set where other provisions of the Rules of Procedure shall be applied subsidiarily unless provided otherwise by this article.

(2) A materially competent member of the Government shall present the draft mandate to the Government after discussion by the EU Committee. The discussion by the EU Committee shall replace comment procedure. Where a draft mandate concerns the competence of multiple ministries, the mandate shall be presented by the member of the Government whose competence the predominant part of the agenda of the given meeting of the Council of the European Union concerns or who is the coordinator of the given formation of the Council of the European Union, or if mandates are submitted for each coherent part separately (e.g. in the case of the Justice and Home Affairs Council), they shall be presented by a member of the Government designated by the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs. This designated member of the Government shall submit each such mandate by agreement with other materially competent members of the Government responsible for positions related to items on the agenda of the Council of the European Union in their competence.

(3) The Minister for Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, shall submit draft mandates for meetings of the European Council.

(4) A proposal for the discussion and approval of the mandate by the Government shall be operatively placed on the agenda of the next Government meeting; if necessary, the Prime Minister shall convene an extraordinary Government meeting. The time limits for the submission of proposals to the Government in accordance with Article V(1) shall not apply.

(5) If, after the approval of a mandate, there is a significant change in the agenda of the relevant meeting of the Council of the European Union or of the Council of Europe, where necessary after discussion with the materially competent members of the Government, the presenter shall forthwith inform the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic’s draft opinion on the new significant items on the agenda. In less significant matters, the presenter shall be empowered to amend the mandate himself where necessary after discussion with the materially competent members of the Government.

(6) An explanatory report on materials for Government meetings regarding a Government member’s attendance of meetings of the Council of the European Union or the Council of Europe shall not be drawn up.

(7) A member of the Government who attends any meeting of the Council of the European Union or Council of Europe shall present the Government with information about the meeting within ten days of that meeting of the Council of the European Union or Council of Europe. If no tasks are forthcoming from the meeting, the material shall be presented to the Government with the proposal that it take due note of such material.

(8) For materials submitted by the EU Committee to the Government, paragraphs (1), (2), (4) and (6) shall apply accordingly in other respects.

Article IV

Particulars of materials for Government meetings

(1) In all cases, materials for Government meetings shall contain

a) an envelope (a specimen can be found in Annex No 1 to these Rules of Procedure),

b) a draft government resolution (a specimen can be found in Annex No 2 to these Rules of Procedure),

c) an explanatory report and

d) the written documentation regarding the matter; if it is a simple matter, the written documentation regarding the matter may be replaced by the explanatory report, in which the necessary information is cited.

(2) A draft resolution has the following parts:

a) approval,

b) imposition of tasks and

c) another part or only one of these parts.

(3) If the Government, by means of a Government decision, is to exercise powers laid down under the law, the wording used in the approval part of the draft Government resolution must comply with the wording of the relevant provisions of the law. If the Government approves a legislative draft (the draft general principle of a law, a bill, a draft governmental order, a draft Government opinion on a bill not presented by the Government), this shall be expressed with the word ‘approves’. If the subject of the approval part cannot be expressed concisely and precisely directly in the relevant paragraph of the draft Government resolution, this subject shall be specified in an annex to the draft Government resolution and the relevant paragraph of the draft Government resolution shall make reference to that annex.

(4) The part of the draft Government resolution imposing tasks shall contain a specification of the body to whom the Government sets the tasks, the specifically expressed task, and the date by which the task is to be accomplished. If no deadline is set, the task is to be accomplished within 30 days.

(5) A further part of the draft Government resolution may stipulate that the Government takes due note of a particular fact, recommends certain procedures, or requests something.

(6) In all cases, the explanatory report shall contain

a) a concise specification of the reason why the material is being presented to the Government meeting; if the Government is to exercise powers pursuant to a specific legal provision, this provision shall be cited,

b) concise characteristics of the content of the written documentation regarding the matter,

c) an evaluation of the current situation and the impacts of the proposed solution in relation to the equality of men and women, if the proposed solution concerns the status of natural persons; the evaluation shall include an explanation of the reasons for any differences, the expected impacts or expected developments, with the use of statistical or other information structured for men and women, if such figures are available,

d) an overview of bodies to whom the material has been sent for an opinion, the date on which the material was distributed and the time limit set by the presenting party for the communication of an opinion, the results of comment procedure, including information that the material is presented without any disagreement or with a description of any disagreement which has not been resolved even by members of the Government; the results of comment procedure (with the exception of unresolved disagreements) shall be expressed in a separate part of the material, with a specification of the bodies expressing comments, their comments, and the presenting party’s opinion on such comments.

The conclusions contained in the explanatory report shall be materially correct and shall contain an evaluation of any impacts on individual types of public budgets in the forthcoming three years, of the impact on the business environment in the Czech Republic and, where the nature of the conclusions requires, of compliance with the law and international treaties binding upon the Czech Republic. Where the conclusions contained in the explanatory report place financial requirements on the national budget, the material for a Government meeting shall contain the specific source from which these requirements will be covered (a shift within the scope of the budget of the relevant heading or a reduction in the expenditure of another national budget heading, etc.). In exceptional cases only, the Ministry of Finance may propose imposing a general task to ensure financial coverage of the proposed measure or, outside the regime of discussions on the draft national budget by the Government, to reflect financial coverage in the draft national budget for subsequent years. In cases of conceptual material concerning the environment, the explanatory report shall contain the opinion of the Ministry of the Environment.

(7) Where material contains a decision of the BRS (a resolution of the BRS), this decision shall constitute an annex to the draft Government resolution, and the explanatory report shall include information about the results of discussions of the draft at a BRS meeting.

(8) In cases where the material for a Government meeting or for the information of members of the Government contains classified information, it shall be labelled with the relevant classification level based on the list of classified information, further to the relevant law. The presenter of the material shall be responsible for determining the classification level.

Article V

Preparations for a Government meeting

(1) Materials for a Government meeting which the presenter wishes to be included on the agenda of the next Government meeting shall be submitted by 2:00 p.m. on the seventh day prior to the Government meeting.

(2) Government meetings shall be convened by the Prime Minister or, in the event of his absence from the Czech Republic or for other serious reasons, by the First Deputy Prime Minister or another Deputy Prime Minister delegated by the Prime Minister. A Government meeting is convened in such a manner that the Prime Minister sends the agenda of the Government meeting to members of the Government with a specification of the date and venue of the meeting no later than six days before the date of the Government meeting. Materials placed by the Prime Minister on the agenda of the Government meeting shall be sent to members of the Government, no later than the said date, together with the agenda.

(3) In exceptional and particularly urgent cases, the Prime Minister may send the agenda of a Government meeting, or an appendix thereto, and materials for a Government meeting in a time limit shorter than six days before the date of the Government meeting.

(4) Unless the Prime Minister decides otherwise, material shall be placed on the agenda of the Government meeting only if it is presented to the Government both in physical form and in a computerized format via the electronic library of the Office of the Government.

(5) The agenda of a Government meeting shall be structured as follows:

a) Part A, covering material of a non-legislative nature which exclusively concerns the Czech Republic’s role in the European Union;

b) Part B, covering material which does not belong to Part A or Part C;

c) Part C, covering material of a non-legislative nature which is submitted to the Government without disagreements, which does not propose imposing tasks on members of the Government or the heads of other central state administration authorities other than the party presenting the material, which has a content that is not of fundamental significance economically, politically or socially, and it can therefore be assumed that the Government is able to approve it without debate; examples of such material can be found in Annex No 5 to these Rules of Procedure. Materials containing BRS decisions shall also be included in Part C.

Article VI

Principles of decision-making, proceedings and the chairing of Government meetings

(1) The Government adopts decisions as a collective body at a Government meeting. As a rule, Government meetings are held once a week.

(2) Government meetings shall be chaired by the Prime Minister or, in his absence, by the First Deputy Prime Minister or another member of the Government delegated by the Prime Minister (the ‘chairperson’).

(3) The Government has a quorum if an absolute majority of all its members are present. If the Government does not have a quorum, the chairperson shall set the date, time and venue of the next Government meeting and shall close the Government meeting; absent members of the Government shall also be informed of this.

(4) The Government shall proceed in accordance with the agenda of the Government meeting set by the Prime Minister. A member of the Government may propose that material placed on the agenda of the Government meeting under Part B be transferred to Part C or vice versa. The agenda of the Government meeting may be supplemented with a discussion of urgent matters and oral information; in these cases the proposing party, as a rule, shall submit at least a draft Government resolution and the matter shall be discussed by means of the procedure laid down for Part B of the agenda of a Government meeting. A member of the Government may also propose that material labelled by the presenting party as ‘For the information of members of the Government’ and listed as such on the agenda of the Government meeting be included in Part A or Part B of the agenda of the Government meeting; in this case the Prime Minister shall determine whether and in what time limit the material shall be discussed in comment procedure, and shall set a time limit in which the presenting party shall complement the material with a draft Government resolution and with the results of any comment procedure.

(5) If, in exceptional cases, a member of the Government is unable to attend a Government meeting, he shall inform the Prime Minister in advance of the reason for his absence and of the name of the deputy or other delegated person who will attend the Government meeting on his behalf. The deputy (delegated person) shall deliver the opinion of the member of the Government he is representing, and shall provide other information on the discussed matter; however, he may not vote on behalf of the member of the Government.

(6) Government meetings are attended by persons stipulated in the Constitution of the Czech Republic, a constitutional act or another act, the president of the Czech Statistical Office, the manager of the Office of the Government, a representative of the Office of the President of the Republic, the Government registrar and other persons designated by the Prime Minister.

(7) Government meetings may also be attended by a co-presenter of material who is not a member of the Government; in this respect, he shall attend that part of the Government meeting discussing the material concerned.

(8) If a member of the Government considers the attendance of any other person at a Government meeting to be expedient, he shall notify the chairperson of this on commencement of the discussion of the corresponding item on the agenda of the Government meeting. The Government’s approval is required for the attendance of such persons at a Government meeting. These persons shall attend the Government meeting only for the duration of the discussion about the item on the agenda of the Government meeting for which they were invited.

(9) In respect of material included in Part A of the agenda of a Government meeting, with the exception of material which the Government is only to take due note of in a resolution, and in respect of material included in Part B of the agenda of the Government meeting, the chairperson may grant the opening statement to the party presenting the material. In the opening statement, the party presenting the material shall concisely characterize the content of the material and justify the conclusions proposed in the material. After replies have been given to enquiries, a debate is held on this item on the agenda of the Government meeting. At the end of the debate, the chairperson shall propose the conclusions of the discussion, including any changes to the presented draft Government resolution. In respect of material included in Part A which the Government is to take due note of, as a rule the Government shall adopt the Government resolution in the version proposed without a debate, unless a debate is opened on that material at the proposal of a member of the Government.

(10) In respect of materials included in Part C of the agenda of the Government meeting, as a rule the party presenting the material shall not deliver an opening statement and no debate is held. The Government shall adopt a Government resolution on such material in the version proposed.

(11) The chairperson shall have votes cast on the draft conclusions of the Government meeting. The approval of an absolute majority of all members of the Government is required to pass a Government resolution.

(12) The Government shall make decisions on draft conclusions for all materials included in Part C of the agenda of the Government meeting by means of a single vote. Government resolutions on these individual materials are then adopted by the same ratio of votes.

(13) If material is withdrawn from the agenda of a Government meeting or during a Government meeting by the presenter thereof, or if the discussion of material is adjourned, the party presenting the material shall propose a date on which the material will be re-submitted to the Government or, if the material has been withdrawn from the agenda of the Government meeting or during the Government meeting, the party presenting the material shall explain the reasons why the material will not now be discussed by the Government. If the party presenting the material does not notify a new date for the submission of the material, it shall be accepted that the material will be submitted within 30 days.

(14) Government meetings are private. The Government may decide that a certain item on the agenda shall be discussed without the participation of persons who are not members of the Government in a closed Government meeting. In these cases, the Government shall also decide whether a sound recording will be made of the discussion of that item on the agenda of a closed Government meeting.

Article VII

Coordinating role of the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs

The Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs shall be responsible for coordinating Government activities

a) in the preparation and implementation of the Czech Republic’s presidency within the Council of the European Union,

b) in the harmonization of the Czech Republic’s positions in the European Union,

c) in discussions on the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe,

d) in the preparation of the concept of European policy.

Article VIII

The coordinating role of the Minister Responsible for Legislation

The Minister Responsible for Legislation shall coordinate the Government’s activities in the preparation and production of draft legal regulations.

Article IX

Advisory bodies and Government Commissioners

(1) The Government may set up advisory bodies comprising members of the Government and other experts. As a rule, the Government’s advisory bodies shall be headed by a member of the Government or by a Government Commissioner. The activities of the Government’s advisory bodies shall be governed by their Government-approved statutes.

(2) The Government may empower a person who is not a member of the Government – a Government Commissioner – to carry out specific activities for the requirements of the Government.

Article X

Government resolutions, sound recordings and written minutes of Government meetings

(1) The correctness of the formulation of a Government resolution, prior to the signing thereof in accordance with paragraph (4) of this Article, shall be verified by that member of the Government or those members of the Government whom the resolution concerns. If a member of the Government disagrees with the formulation of a Government resolution presented to him for his approval, he shall notify this fact in writing to the Prime Minister. If this disagreement cannot be remedied, the member of the Government raising the disagreement shall present it to the Government for assessment and a decision at the next Government meeting.

(2) If a member of the Government (or a person delegated by a member of the Government) fails to communicate an opinion within 24 hours, it shall be accepted that he agrees with the draft Government resolution. Any time falling on days which are not working days shall not be included in this time limit.

(3) Written minutes shall be drawn up of Government meetings. These minutes shall state, in particular, the title of the discussed item on the agenda of the Government meeting, a concise description of the debate, the conclusions of the discussion, including the result of the vote, and if the Government arrives at the conclusion that it will not adopt a resolution on a submitted material, this fact shall be stated in the minutes together with the conclusions. In verifying the correctness of the formulation of individual points in the minutes of Government meetings, the procedure shall be the same as that laid down in paragraph (1) of this Article.

(4) The minutes of Government meetings and Government resolutions, signed by the Government registrar, shall be signed by the chairperson (the Prime Minister or his delegated Deputy Prime Minister or other member of the Government) or by the Deputy Prime Minister delegated by the chairperson. Members of the Government shall receive minutes of a Government meeting and Government resolutions no later than before the next meeting of the Government, except in cases where a disagreement cannot be remedied in accordance with paragraph (1) of this Article. Minutes of Government meetings shall be distributed in accordance with a distribution list drawn up by the manager of the Office of the Government.

(5) For members of the Government, the heads of other central state administration authorities and other bodies (e.g. courts), officially certified copies of Government resolutions and minutes of Government meetings may be made in warranted cases. The Government registrar carries out official certification by means of a certification stamp containing the date of certification and his signature.

(6) As a rule, a communiqué concerning Government meetings is issued by the Government spokesperson.

(7) A sound recording shall be made of Government meetings. The rules for making, handling, archiving and making copies of such recordings shall be laid down in the Principles for Making Sound Recordings of Government Meetings and Usage Thereof, constituting Annex No 3 to these Rules of Procedure.

Article XI

Final provisions

(1) The Government’s Legislative Rules shall apply to the preparation, discussion and submission of legislative materials for Government meetings; in cases not regulated by the Government’s Legislative Rules, these Rules of Procedure shall apply.

(2) The Government’s Guidelines for the negotiation, national discussion, implementation and termination of international treaties shall apply to the preparation, discussion and submission of materials with proposals for the negotiation or termination of international treaties for Government meetings; in cases not regulated by those Guidelines, these Rules of Procedure shall apply.

(3) These Rules of Procedure shall enter into effect on 23 September 1998.