Volume 22 (2016) / Issue 4
This article analyses the blossoming of the initiatives for inter-parliamentary cooperation currently observable in the European Union from a democratic legitimacy perspective. It shows that there exists numerous forms and settings for the cooperation among national parliaments (NPs) and with the European Parliament (EP) outside of the best-known and formalized inter-parliamentary conferences (Speakers’ Conference, Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC), Common Foreign and Security Policy/Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) Conference and Article 13 Conference). There is, indeed, a rapidly growing number of formal and informal forums in which not necessarily all Member States parliaments, or the EP, are invited to participate. It is argued on this basis that while an increased participation of NPs especially to the European integration process can be positive and contribute to bringing ‘Brussels’ closer to the citizens, this evolution is not free of risk. If the number of inter-parliamentary initiatives continues to grow without order or control, their representativeness, legitimacy and in fine their impact is likely to become insignificant. Therefore, a re-recentralization and a strong reinforcement of their visibility and their clarity for the public in general are in order so that the benefits of such an increased parliamentary participation can be preserved.
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