The European Parliament and EU-US Relations: Revamping Institutional Cooperation?
In: A Transatlantic Community of Law: Legal Perspectives on the Relationship between the EU and US Legal Orders, by Elaine Fahey and Dierdre Curtin (eds), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp. 35-68.
34 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2013 Last revised: 29 Sep 2016
Date Written: 2014
This chapter carries out a fourfold analysis. First, we conduct a theoretical conceptualisation of the international activities of the European Parliament that fall under the politico-legal phenomenon of ‘parliamentary diplomacy,’ because the bulk of transatlantic interparliamentary collaboration substantively falls under this category. Second, we inquire about the legal and institutional framework for the European Parliament’s cooperation with the United States Congress, as the EU’s key strategic partner. Not only do we examine the way transatlantic interparliamentary relations were formalised, we also analyse the prerogatives and outreach of the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue as the main format for transatlantic parliamentarism. Third, we inquire whether forums for the European Parliament’s collaboration with national parliaments, such as the Interparliamentary Conference for CFSP and CSDP and, much less so, COSAC as the Conference of European Affairs Committees can add any value in shaping EU parliamentary input in Euro-American relations. Fourth, we analyse the incentives and disincentives for the ‘diplomatic’ activities of the European Parliament in general and towards the United States in particular. It is submitted in this chapter that the political practice of transatlantic parliamentarism contributes to an informal, incremental shaping of the European Parliament’s legal competences in foreign affairs. This argument views MEPs’ external action as part of the EU’s living constitution, whereby the meaning, content and exercise of foreign affairs powers evolve over time closer or farther away from their written fundament.
Keywords: European Parliament, US Congress, transatlantic affairs, EU-US relations, EU foreign affairs, democracy, diplomacy
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