Parliamentary control of CSDP: the case of the EU’s fight against piracy off the Somali coast

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Series Details Vol.23, No.4, December 2014, p430-448
Publication Date December 2014
ISSN 0966-2839
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Parliamentary involvement remains a key tool for the democratic control of executive policies. This article explores the web of parliamentary involvement in decision-making on European Union (EU) military operations, using insights gained in an in-depth case study on the EU's anti-piracy mission Atalanta. We find that parliaments at all levels became involved only after key political decisions had already been made. At the member state level, we find highly uneven involvement with only some parliaments being very well informed and closely monitoring, if not influencing government policy. The European Parliament became active only after the launch of the mission but then scrutinised it intensely, profiting (in contrast to national parliaments) from its access to top military officials and key decision-makers. Finally, transnational parliamentary assemblies as well as more informal networks provided opportunities to transmit information across the boundaries of individual parliaments and party-groups thus potentially enhancing the ability of parliamentarians to scrutinise government policies.

This article is part of the forum 'The EU's Common Security and Defence Policy and the Challenge of Democratic Legitimacy beyond the Nation-State'.

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