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National parliamentary patterns of oversight in the EU: the case of civilian and military CSDP missions

Open Panel

Abstract

This paper considers legislative-executive patterns in a ‘delegation’ perspective, based on theoretical work steaming from principal-agent theoretical assumptions. In doing so, the paper takes a comparative perspective and examines the daily parliamentary oversight practices over Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) civilian and military missions. Based on a new set of data, the paper explores the behaviour of the 27 national parliaments during the early stages of the CSDP decision-making. The paper compares parliamentary behaviour in respect to two civilian missions, EUPM Bosnia and Herzegovina and EUBAM Rafah, and two military missions, EUFOR Althea and EUTM Somalia, the latter launched after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. It examines whether national parliaments undertake to influence the domestic decision-making process and the formulation of national positions on CSDP missions. It also explores whether national parliaments try to mandate the government for negotiations at the European level. It argues that the higher the domestic political stakes (i.e., the domestic importance of the geographical region where the mission is to take place) attached to individual missions, the higher the incentive of parliaments to closely oversee the early stages of the CSDP decision-making process. Conversely, it concludes that the lower the domestic political stakes attached to individual missions, the higher the incentive of parliaments to ‘delegate’ to the executive in CSDP.