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February 2011

 File n°62 

The Participation of the National Assembly in International Institutions







    Key Points

    The National Assembly participates in the work of several international parliamentary assemblies.

    To do so, it sets up delegations, mostly made up of M.P.s and Senators, which are provided with an administrative secretariat which is serviced by parliamentary civil servants and funded by financing allotted by the Questeurs. This funding enables the delegations to finance the involvement of their members in the work of the international parliamentary assembly.

See also file 59



    1. – The interparliamentary union (ipu)

    The Interparliamentary Union, which is the world organization of the Parliaments of sovereign States, is the oldest international organization of a political nature. It was, in fact, set up in 1889.

    The French group of the IPU is comprised of 50 M.P.s and 50 Senators. The President of the Senate and the President of the National Assembly are, jointly, chairmen by right, of the French group. Nonetheless, in practice, the chairmanship of the group is carried out by an executive chairman who is alternately an M.P. and then a Senator, appointed by the general assembly of the group.

    The positions on the steering committee are divided equally between the National Assembly and the Senate with both assemblies covering half the operational costs.

    From a statuary point of view, the group’s remit is to represent the French Parliament at the Inter-parliamentary Union (in particular at its two annual plenary conferences) and to contribute to the carrying-out of its objectives.

    2. – The Parliamentary assembly of francophone countries (apf)

    The Parliamentary Assembly of Francophone Countries was set up in Luxembourg in 1967 under the name of the International Association of Francophone Parliamentarians. It brings together parliamentarians from 65 member Parliaments or from associated or member inter-parliamentary organizations, and from 18 observer Parliaments.

    The French branch of the APF has 150 members, 90 M.P.s and 60 Senators, who are distributed proportionally according to the size of their political groups in each assembly. The chairmen of the friendship groups with French-speaking countries, both in the National Assembly and the Senate, are members by right. The President of the National Assembly is Chairman, by right, of the French branch, which is, in practice, chaired by a Deputy Chairman, whom he appoints from among the M.P.s. The operational costs of the branch are covered equally by the two assemblies, with the National Assembly taking care alone of the expenses linked to the everyday running of the APF (mail, telephone etc.).

    The French branch is represented on the different bodies of the APF (bureau, committees, AIDS network, female parliamentarian network) and participates annually in the two meetings of the Bureau, as well as in the plenary Assembly and in the parliamentary seminars organized by the APF. As the APF is divided up into four geographical regions, the French branch is a member of the European region.


    1. – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council Of Europe (pace)

    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was the first European assembly in the history of our continent, and is made up of 318 Representatives (and as many substitutes) from 47 countries.

    The French Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has 36 members (i.e. 18 Representatives and 18 substitutes). Out of these, 24 are appointed by the National Assembly and 12 by the Senate. The Chairman is elected by the delegation at the beginning of each Parliament. The budget of the delegation is made up of contributions from the two assemblies (two thirds being covered by the National Assembly and one third by the Senate).

    The members of the delegation participate in the four annual plenary sessions of PACE which take place in Strasbourg, as well as the meetings of the ten general committees. The delegation is also represented at the meetings of the Standing Committee (four per year) and of the Bureau.

    2. – The assembly of the Western European Union (weu)

    The Assembly of the Western European Union, which was set up in 1954 by the modified Treaty of Brussels, has its seat in Paris. It sits twice a year in plenary session but can also hold extraordinary sessions and organize meetings in its member countries. Generally speaking, the Assembly discusses all questions which come under the modified Treaty of Brussels. It has thus eased the carrying-out of certain projects in many fields, e.g. space observation. Following the transfer of operational activities from the WEU to the European Union in 2000, it acts as the Inter-parliamentary European Security and Defence Assembly, focusing on the European Security and Defence Policy.

    The French delegation to PACE is the same as that which represents the French Parliament at the Assembly of the Western European Union. On top of the two plenary sessions, it also participates in meetings of the bodies of the Assembly (Bureau, the Presidential Committee and the standing Committee) and of the six committees.

    The WEU is set to hold its final session in 2011 before its dissolution.

    3. – The NATO Parliamentary Assembly (nato-pa)

    The NATO Parliamentary Assembly brings together delegations of parliamentarians from the 28 member countries of the Atlantic Alliance and from 14 associated parliaments. It has five standing committees and meets twice a year in plenary session. It ensures the link between the legislative assemblies and the international organization so as to facilitate democratic debate on the orientations and the policies being implemented in the framework of the Alliance.

    The French delegation has 18 full members (11 M.P.s and 7 Senators) and as many substitutes. Each assembly covers the expenses relating to the travel arrangements of its representatives.

    4. – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (osce-pa)

    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe was set up by the Madrid Conference of April 2 and 3, 1991. According to the provisions of its Rules of Procedure, it must fulfil several remits: the assessment of the implementation of the objectives of the organization, the debating of subjects dealt with by the Ministerial Council and the meetings of Heads of State and of Government, the development and promotion of mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflict and the strengthening and consolidation of democratic institutions in the member States. It has 320 parliamentarians.

    The French delegation has 13 members (8 M.P.s and 5 Senators). Each assembly covers the expenses relating to the travel arrangements of its representatives. It participates in the three annual meetings (the five-day July meeting in a town in a member State, the four-day autumn meeting, given over, amongst other things, to the Mediterranean Forum and the two-day winter session in February, in Vienna) as well as those of the three committees.

    5. – The euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (empa)

    The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly brings together delegations from the parliaments of the thirty-seven members of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership which was founded by the Conference of Euro-Mediterranean foreign ministers in Barcelona on November 27-28, 1995. The Assembly which was born after the transformation of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum, created in 1998, held its inaugural session in Athens in March 2004.

    It is made up of 240 members equally representing the parliaments of the European Union and those of its partner states in the Mediterranean. The ten partner states (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey) are represented by 120 members. The national parliaments of the twenty-seven countries of the European Union are represented by 75 members and the European Parliament by 45 members.

    The French delegation, which has three members (two M.P.s and one Senator), participates in the two annual plenary sessions and in the meetings of the three committees and working groups which deal with three dimensions of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership: politics, economics and culture.

    6. – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (pam)

    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean was born from the Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean (CSCM) which was a subsidiary body of the Interparliamentary Union and which operated from 1992 to 2005. The PAM was formally set up in February 2005 at Nafplio (Greece) by the 4th and final plenary CSCM and it held its inaugural session at Amman in September 2006.

    It includes 22 countries, of which 19 border on the Mediterranean and three which are assimilated (Jordan, Macedonia and Portugal).

    The object of the PAM is to develop cooperation between its members by dealing with questions of common interest so as to foster confidence between the states of the Mediterranean, to contribute to regional stability and security as well as encouraging harmonious development of the Mediterranean countries in a spirit of partnership.

    Each national delegation to the PAM is made up of 5 parliamentarians. By agreement between the Presidents of the two assemblies, it was decided that the seats for the French delegation to the PAM would be divided as follows: 3 seats for the National Assembly and 2 seats for the Senate. The payment of the national contribution would be divided along similar proportions.

    6. – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea

    The National Assembly also participates as an observer in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea.