Chapter 9 Actor, network, symbol: the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on CFSP/CSDP
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This chapter explores the contribution of the EU’s Interparliamentary Conference (IPC) for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CFSP/CSDP) to policy-making and democratic control of EU foreign, security and defence policy. It reviews the IPC’s institutional set-up and its practices, based on a three-fold typology of the role of interparliamentary institutions in political processes. The analysis shows that the IPC mainly serves as a focal point for the creation of networks among parliamentarians, and contributes to the generation of information and its dissemination to member parliaments. The IPC is also important as a symbol of democratic control as it establishes the presence of member state parliaments in EU foreign, security and defence policy-making and engages members of the EU executive who are rarely exposed to that level of parliamentary scrutiny and control. It thus contributes to the democratic control of CFSP and CSDP, even though it does not figure as an authoritative actor itself that would be able to directly control the EU executive.

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