Parliamentary Cooperation and Diplomacy in EU External Relations
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Parliamentary Cooperation and Diplomacy in EU External Relations

An Essential Companion

Edited by Kolja Raube, Meltem Müftüler-Baç and Jan Wouters

In today’s increasingly complex and interdependent world, the role of parliaments in external affairs remains a relatively under explored topic of research. The multiple patterns of global governance are mostly dominated by the executive branches of government, with parliaments relegated to the sidelines. This insightful book aims to challenge this dominant perspective and demonstrate the increased networking of parliaments both within the EU and with external actors outside the EU. It not only sheds light on EU parliamentary cooperation and networking, but also reveals the growing scope and role of parliamentary scrutiny, control and conflict mediation.
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Chapter 7: Emerging interregional parliamentarism: the case of the Baltic Assembly

Robert M. Cutler and Alexander von Lingen

Abstract

The Baltic Assembly (BA) is an international parliamentary institution (IPI) on the European Union’s geographic periphery. It originated as the Baltic Parliamentary Group, an international parliamentary-societal institution (IPSI) founded in 1989, while the Baltic States were still republics of the Soviet Union. The chapter treats the BA’s parliamentary cooperation and diplomacy as a subregional IPI in the field of external relations. It thus produces a new understanding of the role of a relatively new type of parliament Europe, in a context of multi-level governance, in EU external action. The BA cooperates with the Nordic Council (NC) in the context of the ‘Nordic-Baltic Eight’ (NB8) framework, as well as with interparliamentary forums of the Visegrád group, the Benelux group and the GUAM group. Such cooperation helped to overcome obstacles that had earlier blocked the BA’s organizational development. The explanation of how the BA could reinvigorate its organizational development since 2008 also produces a new conceptual understanding of IPI institutionalization. Distinctions between IPIs and IPSIs, and also other hybrid IPI types, are set out in the context of differentiating between IPI studies and studies of parliamentary diplomacy (PD). The significance of the BA’s particular evolutionary path for the sociological theory of the development of international communities is explained. Implications of subregional IPIs for the multi-level architecture of EU governance are discussed. Lessons are drawn from the analysis for future studies of parliamentary cooperation in the field of external relations, and of the role of parliaments in Europe on different levels in EU external action.

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