The European Parliament and the European Political Cooperation. The search for a proper role in the Community’s first foreign policy

Umberto Tulli


The article focuses on the European Parliament and the development of the European Political Cooperation (EPC), the first attempt to harmonize EC member states’ national foreign policies into a single European framework. Being an intergovernmental policy, developing outside of the Treaties, the European Parliament had no official role in the development of the EPC. Yet, it challenged member states’ monopoly over foreign relations through some autonomous initiatives and forced them to accept small increase in the Parliament’s powers of scrutiny over the EPC. Once the European Council accepted the introduction of direct elections, the European Parliament could legitimately claim a greater role on the development of the EPC: being the only elective institution it could assure a democratic oversight over the EPC. By assuring a (limited) role to the European Parliament, the EPC remained an intergovernmental field of actions, although it now contemplated some supranational features.


European Parliament, European Political Cooperation, Supranationalism, direct elections

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