Interparliamentary conferences and other permanent forums for interparliamentary cooperation are blossoming in the European Union. Following more or less lengthy negotiations between national and European parliamentarians, two new conferences and a new joint parliamentary scrutiny group for Europol have been created since 2012. Against this background, this article examines to what extent the Joint parliament scrutiny group is comparable to the previously existing interparliamentary conferences. Beyond that, it asks the question as to whether any better-defined guidelines or procedures could be adopted to rationalise the process of creation of new forums for interparliamentary cooperation. It makes some concrete proposals in that direction.
The European integration process has long been characterised by the predominance of national executive powers. National parliaments were recognised as European actors after several decades only, in the Maastricht Treaty first and to an even larger extent in the Lisbon Treaty. Parliaments were hence long dependent on national constitutional, legal and administrative arrangements to be able to participate in EU affairs. This paper analyses how national parliaments (and their members) have reacted to the challenge the European integration process has represented for them while it also takes due account of the role other institutions, such as constitutional courts, have played in this field. It is argued that while these arrangements may have been successful in allowing national parliaments to play a greater role in this field, they should remain temporary for they are characterised by uncertainty and instability and make it generally difficult for citizens to follow up on national parliaments’ actions and to be fully informed.