The French Assemblée Nationale and the German Bundestag in the European Union: Towards convergence in the ‘old’ Europe?
As two of the six founding member states of the European Community (EC), Germany and France are deeply affected by the process of European integration. Both countries have themselves also had a significant impact on this process. Indeed, their intensive cooperation in Europe has often been described in positive terms as the ‘driving force’ of European integration. German-French cooperation within the European Union (EU) takes actually place at various levels, encompassing both state and society actors. This is also true for the parliaments of both states and, in particular, for their lower chambers, the French Assemblée Nationale and the German Bundestag. The interparliamentary cooperation includes various aspects like the annual meetings of the parliament’s bureaus, the creation of a Franco-German parliamentary prize or joint meetings of the respective committees on foreign affairs.1 Moreover, the cooperation between the Bundestag and the Assemblée Nationale is particularly intensive with regard to EU politics. German and French members of parliament (MPs) meet regularly to discuss EU matters in the framework of joint meetings of their EU-specific parliamentary bodies, the Bundestag’s European Union Affairs Committee (EAC) and the Assemblée Nationale’s Delegation for the European Union (DUE). Parliamentary cooperation was also intensive throughout the entire EU Constitutional Process. The French parliament did not only support the Bundestag’s commitment to establishing a European Convention.2 Both parliaments also declared their common support to the Draft Constitutional Treaty as elaborated by the European Convention in the wake of the upcoming IGC in 2003 by issuing a Joint Declaration.3