Page last updated at 09:53 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 10:53 UK

A key position within the European Parliament, rapporteurs are appointed by committees of the European Parliament to write reports into a particular piece of legislation.

It is therefore the rapporteur who issues the opinion on whether or not the Parliament should approve or reject laws.

Rapporteurs will also draw up so-called "own initiative" reports, which can be a request for a new piece of legislation, or an opinion on a pressing topical issue.

There are also subject-specific rapporteurs, such as the Parliament's rapporteur on relations with Ukraine, who will draw up reports and lead debates on the issue.

Rapporteurs are assisted within committee by a team of shadow rapporteurs, from differing political groups.

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