On 1-2 October, EIPA delivered a seminar in the Portuguese Parliament on The EU Agenda in 2021. Preparing for the Parliamentary Dimension of the Portuguese Presidency.
Inter-Parliamentary meetings chaired by Portugal
The sessions reviewed the roles of national Parliaments in the EU, and discussed the likely agendas of the Inter-Parliamentary meetings that will be chaired by Portugal during the Portuguese Presidency:
- notably the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC)
- the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy
- the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union
- the Meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol
EIPA presentations were complemented by comments from parliamentary advisers of the relevant committee staff in the Portuguese Parliament.
Key issues on the agenda of the Portuguese Presidency
EIPA experts also discussed some of the key issues on the agenda of the Portuguese Presidency focusing on:
- the Conference on the Future of Europe
- the Recovery Plan and the Social Pillar
- the proposal for a new EU Pact on Migration and Asylum
- the latest developments in the Economic and Monetary Union, EU’s external action and CFSP/CSDP
The seminar was delivered in a hybrid form. Its core was provided by a face-to-face meeting held, with all due COVID-19 restrictions, in the old Senate room of the Parliament. Two EIPA experts travelled to Lisbon, while other contributions were made online from Maastricht, Paris, Brussels and Luxembourg. The seminar was attended by nearly 50 Portuguese officials, around 40 of whom participated online.
Edward Best of EIPA and Maria Teresa Paulo of the Portuguese Parliament in the opening session of the Seminar
EIPA, the Presidency, and the roles of national Parliaments
This collaboration with the Assembleia da República is the latest step in the institute’s longstanding work both on the rotating Presidency and on the roles of national parliaments.
It was in fact in Portugal, back in 1991, that EIPA conducted its first training programme for a country preparing to hold the Council Presidency. Since then, EIPA has been a regular provider of specialised services to help reinforce the knowledge of public officials and politicians on the practice of EU policy processes as well as the skills necessary for the successful management of the EU Presidency. EIPA has participated in various national programmes; has been responsible for large-scale training contracts in recent years; and has delivered specialised courses for many member states. Most recently, in 2020, EIPA has delivered courses for the German Permanent Representation and is presently engaged (for the second time) in delivering a major training programme for Slovenia.
Collaboration with national Parliaments
EIPA has been working on the role of national Parliaments almost since they created COSAC in 1989, in response to the challenges posed to their influence and prerogatives. Furthermore, EIPA staff continue to contribute to various comparative research projects, addressing not only continuing concerns over subsidiarity but also the new challenges for Parliaments in EU economic governance.
The Parliamentary Dimension and the various forms of Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation are discussed in an EIPA Briefing by Edward Best and Nora Vissers.
EIPA looks forward to further collaboration with individual Parliaments, as well as to help provide fora for cross-national learning. To this end, EIPA has recently been working in association with IPEX (InterParliamentary EU information eXchange) to offer a common European training seminar for officials of national Parliaments, ‘National Parliaments and the EU: Improving Scrutiny and Cooperation’.