An Essential Companion
Edited by Kolja Raube, Meltem Müftüler-Baç and Jan Wouters
Chapter 11: The parliamentary dimension of the EU rotating presidency: bringing back national concerns through the “backdoor”?
The Lisbon Treaty introduced major reforms regarding, inter alia, the common foreign and security policy of the European Union (EU). As a consequence, the role of the rotating EU Council Presidency has been downgraded, making way for a more centralized, Brussels-located core to not only represent the EU in the international arena but also to take the lead in initiating foreign policy proposals (an exclusive prerogative of the member state holding the Presidency in the pre-Lisbon era). Yet, the post-Lisbon EU foreign policy environment also appears to be creating a window of opportunity for a more pronounced parliamentary involvement in EU external affairs. Within this context, the national parliaments of the member states have acquired extended powers and duties regarding their participation in EU policy-making. These new provisions respond to a demand for a more democratic and transparent Europe and guarantee, to a certain degree, parliamentary oversight in EU foreign policy. Drawing on empirical data from the Inter-Parliamentary Conference (IPC) on the Common Foreign and Security Policy/Common Security and Defence Policy (CFSP/CSDP) that took place during the 2014 Greek EU Council Presidency, the analysis addresses the complex dynamics of the rotating Presidency’s parliamentary dimension. This chapter argues that the IPC on CFSP/CSDP could be ‘used’ by the member state at the helm of the Council Presidency as a means to (re-)introduce national concerns on the CFSP agenda, in spite of the Lisbon Treaty’s provisions for more supranationalism.
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