for arrangements for inter-parliamentary scrutiny of the EU Common
Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence
Policy (CSDP) after the ending of WEU
A proposal is presented below on the basis of the
following two texts:
- Article 10 of Protocol 1 to
the Treaty on European Union and Treaty on the Functioning of
the European Union on the role of national parliaments in the
European Union, as amended by the Lisbon Treaty:
A conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union
Affairs may submit any contribution it deems appropriate for the
attention of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission.
That conference shall in addition promote the exchange of information
and best practice between national Parliaments and the European
Parliament, including their special committees. It may also organise
inter-parliamentary conferences on specific topics, in particular
to debate matters of common foreign and security policy, including
common security and defence policy. Contributions from the conference
shall not bind national Parliaments and shall not prejudge their
- Contribution of COSAC (Conference
of European Affairs Committees of Parliaments of the EU), 25 October
COSAC stresses the need for parliamentary scrutiny
of both CFSP and CSDP.
(i) Parliamentary oversight of CFSP and CSDP should
involve both national Parliaments and the European Parliament;
(ii) The mechanism of parliamentary oversight of
CFSP and CSDP should represent value for money and should add
value to the work that Parliaments already do in this area;
(iii) There should be no new institutions or bodies
(iv) Parliamentary oversight should involve Members
specialising in foreign affairs, defence and European Union affairs.
As a result, COSAC wishes that the new mechanism
for parliamentary oversight of the CSDP be put in place during
The EU Speakers' Conference should invite COSAC (the
Conference of European Affairs Committees of Parliaments of the
EU) to use its power under Article 10 of Protocol 1 of the EU
Treaties to resolve, at its next meeting (29-31 May 2011 in Budapest),
to organise a biannual inter-parliamentary conference on CFSP,
including CSDP. The conference should be called the EU Inter-parliamentary
Conference on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security (COFADS).
COFADS should take the place of the Conferences of Foreign Affairs
Committee Chairpersons (COFACC) and Defence Committee Chairpersons
(CODCC) in the EU inter-parliamentary cycle. It should be governed
by rules along the following lines.
1. There is a need for parliaments to meet to
exercise oversight of EU foreign, defence and security policies.
2. COFADS should add value to the work that each
parliament does on its own to oversee these policy areas.
3. These arrangements are inter-parliamentary,
in conformity with the inter-governmental nature of CFSP and CSDP.
They are not autonomous.
4. Costs will be kept to a minimum.
Purpose and subject matter
5. COFADS may consider any aspect of CFSP and
6. COFADS will deal primarily with substance
(e.g. EU policies, initiatives, missions), rather than
process (e.g. how each parliament conducts scrutiny).
7. COFADS may hear, debate and respond to presentations
from, amongst others, government ministers, the High Representative
for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, EU Special Representatives,
the European External Action Service, the Commission, the Council
(including the Political and Security Committee, the EU Military
Committee and the EU Military Staff), and any others as relevant,
including non-EU and non-official bodies.
8. COFADS is able, but not obliged, to adopt
Conclusions relevant to the debates held. These Conclusions may
invite formal responses from the High Representative, Council,
Commission or others. Conclusions will be agreed by consensus
and are not binding on participants or their parliaments.
Structure and practical arrangements
9. All EU national parliaments and the European
Parliament, and only those parliaments, have full membership of
COFADS. Parliaments of official EU candidate countries are invited
10. No other body will have a standing invitation
to COFADS. Any additional invitations are ad hoc and at
the discretion of the troika country parliaments.
11. Delegations will consist of a maximum of
six delegates per parliament including the European Parliament
(three per chamber for bicameral parliaments). The composition
of delegations is a matter for each parliament, but delegations
might be expected to include Members specialising in foreign affairs,
defence and EU affairs.
12. COFADS will meet once in every Presidency.
13. Meetings will last no more than one and a
14. Meetings will, as a general rule, be held
in Brussels, in the Council building or other suitable premises,
or in the Presidency country, but not in the European Parliament.
15. There will be no committees.
16. Organisational responsibility will be borne
by the parliaments of the troika countries.
17. The parliaments of the troika countries will
be responsible for scheduling the meetings, proposing the agenda
(in consultation with the High Representative), chairing the meetings
and drafting any Conclusions. Brussels-based national parliament
representatives will be used to facilitate practical arrangements
and share views on draft Conclusions in advance of the meetings.
Staffing and administration
18. Secretariat functions will be performed by
staff from the troika country parliaments, with support from the
permanent member of the COSAC Secretariat and national parliament
representatives in Brussels.
19. The secretariat may engage temporary specialist
support to aid in drafting conclusions or providing written briefing
or background information in advance of debates.
20. Translation and interpretation costs will
be kept to a minimum, by adopting aspects of the regime used by
the Speakers' Conference.
21. Costs (other than delegate accommodation,
and base language interpreters as per the previous point) will
be borne by the troika country parliaments.
22. Neither staff support nor funding will be
sought from the European Parliament.
10 Currently Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic
of Macedonia (FYROM), Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey. Back
The WEU Assembly has also been attended by the following: Associates:
Albania and Norway (the remaining European NATO Members); Partners:
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro,
Russia, Serbia, Ukraine (NATO partners); Observers: NATO Assembly,
OSCE Assembly. The other non-EU NATO partner countries are Belarus,
Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan
and Uzbekistan. Back
The COSAC Secretariat consists of one person from each troika
parliament, one person from the European Parliament and the permanent
member (who is funded by national parliaments). Back
During the meetings of the Conference, simultaneous interpretation
is provided from and into official EU languages upon request according
to the following:
· The technical facilities for
the interpretation are provided and covered by the presiding parliament.
· Other practicalities, including
languages to be used as base languages for translation, are defined
and organised by the presiding parliament.
· Parliaments are entitled to bring
their own interpreters. Those not bringing their own interpreters
may request the presiding parliament to provide interpreters for
them at their own cost.
· All parliaments choosing to use
the languages provided by the presiding parliament share equally
the cost of interpreters for all these languages.
Written papers are circulated in French
and English. A translation into other languages may be provided
by the parliament concerned. Back