Increasing Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation in the European Union: Current Trends and Challenges

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Series Details Vol.22, No.4, December 2016, p749-772
Publication Date December 2016
ISSN 1354-3725
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European Public Law is an English language journal edited at the Institute of European Public Law at the Law School, Hull University. A forum for the discussion of issues in the development of public law, the journal traces the public law of the Member States as it is shaped by the law of the European Union as well as by the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Human Rights.

European Public Law provides a detailed analysis of constitutional and administrative law at a crucial stage of European integration and legal development. In its articles, authorities in the field investigate the extent to which the separate systems of public law in each Member State are, notwithstanding their distinct historical and cultural backgrounds, developing a European Public Law in tandem with the law of the European Union Treaty. The journal also examines the public law systems of new Member States.

Without neglecting the more traditional concerns of constitutional and administrative law, the journal explores the emerging constitution of the European Union and the interplay between law and politics. It is concerned with the identification, examination and control of public power as public and private become ever more intertwined. Public law is given a wide interpretation, including the structure of government, judicial review, the conduct of regulatory bodies, redress of grievance through ombudsmen and administrative bodies, protection of human rights and protection against discrimination, openness and transparency, fiscal and monetary policy, and the role of regulation in the contemporary state and the European Union.

In short, the journal embraces the operation and control of government and government agencies, regulation of economic and commercial affairs and relationships between the state and individuals.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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