Blogging on Issues of International and European Security

Parliamentary scrutiny of CSDP : creation of a new Inter-Parliamentary Conference



by Philip Worré, former Executive Director, ISIS Europe

Following the decision by WEU Member States to denounce the Modified Brussels Treaty and the consequent dissolution of the WEU Assembly in 2011, the Conference of Speakers of the European Union Parliaments was tasked with establishing a new concept for inter-parliamentary scrutiny of CSDP.  Until then, the WEU Assembly had exercised de facto oversight on CSDP.

During discussions in 2011 on the best solution to ensure oversight for CSDP both at the Conference of Speakers and at the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC), it emerged that a major hurdle was the size of the European Parliament’s delegation in terms of percentage of seats.

The Conference of Speakers met in Warsaw on 20 and 21 April 2012 and reached an agreement on the creation of an Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), composed of both EU national parliamentarians and MEPs. The main points are as follows:

  • Each National Parliament can send 6 Members (the same number of delegates for uni- and bi-cameral systems). The European Parliament can send 16 Members, for a total number of 178 parliamentarians. The intergovernmental nature of CSDP is thus underlined, as National Parliaments have over 91% of seats, against 9% for the European Parliament.
  • National Parliaments of candidate countries and non-EU European NATO members can each send 4 Members of Parliament.
  • This new structure, officially set up “in the spirit of the new parliamentary dimension of the Lisbon Treaty” will meet every six months and will be chaired by the country holding the rotating Council Presidency.
  • The Conference’s secretariat will be provided by the Member State holding the Presidency, in cooperation with the European Parliament, and the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will be invited to attend meetings “in order to set out the outlines and strategies of the common foreign and defence policy of the European Union.”
  • The Inter-Parliamentary Conference will be able to adopt non-binding conclusions by consensus.
  • The Inter-Parliamentary Conference will also replace the meetings of the Chairpersons of Foreign Affairs Committees (COFACC) and of the Conference of Chairpersons of Defence Affairs Committees (CODACC).

The next step is the drafting of rules of procedure and working methods. A review will take place two years after the Inter-Parliamentary Conference‘s first meeting, scheduled on 9-11 September 2012 in Cyprus.

The full text of the Presidency Conclusions of the Conference of Speakers of the European Union Parliaments, Warsaw, 20-21 April 2012, can be found here.


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This entry was posted on 27/04/2012 by in Opinions and tagged , .


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