This article reviews the Interparliamentary Conference (IPC) on the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) since its establishment in 2012. In light of the increasing cavities and skewed power balances between executives and legislatures in the policy domains of foreign affairs, security and defence, compounded by the loss of institutional influence experienced by national parliaments as a result of the European integration process, interparliamentarianism within the EU has seen significant growth over the past number of years. One of the most recent creatures of this new interparliamentary phenomenon relates to the EU's foreign policy—the IPC on the CFSP/CSDP. This article contends that the IPC has a long way to go to become a proper forum for democratic and parliamentary oversight of the EU's foreign policy, and also questions whether such interparliamentary activity in its current state is worth the effort at all. Nonetheless, the paper concludes that given the extremely weak position the Oireachtas finds itself in when it comes to oversight and scrutiny by parliamentary committees, Irish members of the IPC on the CFSP/CSDP could learn much from how other EU member state national parliaments play a meaningful role in relation to their respective foreign policies. An increased level of participation in this sectoral area by Irish members of the IPC could spark the potential to implement the best practices and procedure than seen elsewhere in the EU, back at home in Leinster House.
Irish Studies in International Affairs, 2015, Vol 26, p. 163-186
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Political Studies Association of Ireland: 2014 Postgraduate Conference