Time to unlock the potential of bi-parliamentarism: The Franco-German model

The inception of the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly in January 2019 marked an important step towards the institutionalization of Franco-German relations on a parliamentary level. The Assembly provides a forum for binational debate and democratic scrutiny, and has the potential to strengthen Franco-German cooperation and leadership at EU level by fostering practical compromises and solutions bilaterally before they are being brought to Brussels. The Assembly nevertheless falls short of its potential. In their policy brief, Henriette Heimbach and Thu Nguyen assess the Assembly’s shortcomings and provide suggestions for improvement. Apart from enhancing the transparency of its work, the Assembly should focus on addressing concrete bilateral problems and channeling them into concrete demands. At the same time, the Assembly should act as coordination forum for Franco-German positions at EU level to foster common positions. The authors conclude that despite its shortcomings, the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly can serve as a role model for other member states to establish and institutionalize similar forms of bi-parliamentarism.


Image: CC Adolfo Félix, Source: Unsplash