The European Parliament’s delegations maintain relations and exchange information with parliaments in non-EU countries. Through its delegations, the European Parliament helps to represent the European Union externally and to promote in third countries the values on which the European Union is founded, namely the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.
Promoting these values, as well as maintaining and strengthening relations with parliaments that are traditional partners of the EU are main tasks of the delegations.
At present there are 44 delegations at the Parliament, which consist of from 8 to even 78 members.
Inter-parliamentary meetings take place once or twice a year in turns at the Brussels Parliament building, Strasbourg Parliament building and at the place proposed by a given partner country within its borders.
I am a member of two delegations: the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific—European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly (ACP-EU) and the Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
This multilateral assembly consisting of representatives of various countries aims at creating the parliamentary forum for cooperation between the EU and the ACP countries. The Assembly is composed of 78 Members of the European Parliament (not taking into account deputies) and 78 members of parliaments of the ACP countries. Both parties have got 12 Vice-presidents, who constitute a presidium. At present, the Assembly’s presidents are Louis Michel (ALDE, Belgia) representing the EU and Netty Baldeh (the Gambia) representing the group of ACP countries.
The partnership is based on the Cotonou Agreement (the Agreement concerning partnership between the ACP and the EU).
The goals of the Assembly are as follows:
establishing firm cooperation between the ACP countries and the EU
enhancing the quality of life and the level of economic development in the ACP countries
promoting human rights and democracy values
The Parliamentary Assembly’s activity is based on the work of three standing committees: Committee on Political Affairs, Committee on Social Affairs and the Environment, Committee on Economic Development, Finance and Trade.
Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
This delegation maintains relations with ten countries of Southeast Asia being members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as with the ASEAN itself. Every year members of the Delegation participate in working missions in the Southeast Asian region and inter-parliamentary meetings of the European Parliament and the ASEAN countries’ parliaments. Furthermore, the delegation members regularly host members of the ASEAN countries’ parliaments in Brussels and Strasbourg in order to conclude on state of affairs both in individual states and the region as a whole.
The Delegation members represent the European Parliament on annual meetings of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), during which the Parliament holds the observer status.
The Delegation is composed of 48 Members of the European Parliament. The Delegation for ASEAN regularly organizes sittings both in Brussels and Strasbourg to analyse such issues as present social-economic and political situation in the region within the centre of the Delegation’s activity. The main subject of such sittings is usually connected with issues essential for both regions. These include, among other things, negotiations between the EU and the ASEAN countries concerning the free trade agreement, regional integration or analysis of the state of affairs in a given country with the participation of the representatives of the milieus of politics, diplomacy, trade unions or civil society. Apart from political, social and economic situation in given ASEAN countries the most important subjects in disputes with the delegation are human rights, financial and economic crisis’ consequences and climate change. Other topics embrace food safety, energy safety and threats posed by terrorism.
The last quantum leap forward defining the Delegation’s activity in years 2013-2017 was accepting the Bandar Seri Begawan Plan of Action, which implies cooperation between the EU and the ASEAN in following areas:
- politics and safety
- promotion of cooperation of the regions in order to ensure peace, safety and stabilisation
- human rights
- economy, trade and investment
- small and medium-sized enterprises
- food, agriculture and forestry
- energy safety
- socio-cultural issues
- education, health and citizens’ relations
- gender equality, situation of women, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities and labour migrants
- science and technology
- natural disasters prevention
- environmental protection