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Re-engaging in parliamentary dialogue with the United States

Resolution 1772 (2010)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 12 November 2010 (see Doc. 12420, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Lindblad).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly reaffirms the importance of the partnership between Europe and the United States, based on shared values, interests and responsibilities. In the aftermath of the Second World War, this partnership played a key role in post-war reconstruction and made it possible for European nations to develop into stable and prosperous democracies. In this new millennium, it continues to be of utmost importance for international stability and security and democratic development in Europe and worldwide.
2. Referring to its Resolution 1421 (2005) on relations between Europe and the United States, the Assembly notes with satisfaction that the negative trend in transatlantic relations now seems to be reversed. It welcomes the renewed commitment to multilateralism and respect of international law declared by the United States Administration under President Barack Obama, which has created new possibilities for co-operation between Europe and the United States to tackle the many challenges of the modern world.
3. Parliamentarians from both sides of the Atlantic should actively contribute to shaping and strengthening this co-operation. Parliamentary dialogue is a necessary element of a genuine partnership and an important channel of political communication which provides opportunities to openly discuss concerns, interests and differences, and to jointly anticipate and address new challenges.
4. In this connection, the Assembly regrets that its readiness to engage in a series of comprehensive dialogues with the United States Congress, as expressed in Resolution 1421 (2005), has come to nothing, and that there has been virtually no contact with the Congress for many years.
5. The Assembly notes that members of the United States Congress participate in transatlantic parliamentary exchanges in various forms, including in the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue with the European Parliament and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Parliamentary Assembly and its Parliamentary Transatlantic Forum, as well as on a bilateral level.
6. However, it believes that establishing working relations between the United States Congress and the Assembly, which is the leading European parliamentary forum on democracy, human rights and the rule of law, would contribute to the protection and promotion of these common values, thus enhancing international stability and security. The existing differences on some issues, including the abolition of the death penalty, should not prevent dialogue between European and American parliamentarians. On the contrary, they make it even more necessary. The Assembly hopes that contacts between European and American lawmakers will not be further complicated by the new restrictions on foreign travel for members of the Congress enacted in May 2010.
7. The Assembly is therefore eager to renew efforts to revive, in a pragmatic way, parliamentary dialogue with the United States Congress. With this aim in mind, the Assembly:
7.1 recalls that representatives of the United States Congress have the right to take part, as fully fledged participants, in the annual debates on the activities of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and encourages the Congress to use this opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny of this organisation;
7.2 resolves to regularly inform the United States Congress of its activities, in particular its resolutions on issues which may be of interest or are related to the United States, and encourages the Congress to also share relevant information with it;
7.3 encourages its relevant committees, in particular its Political Affairs Committee, to establish an exchange of information and, where possible, working relations with counterparts in the United States Congress, including contacts between rapporteurs, possible joint discussions via videoconferences and, when appropriate and feasible, participation in hearings;
7.4 intends to make more effective use of the participation of its representatives in meetings organised by the OSCE and NATO parliamentary assemblies by making substantial contributions to these meetings reflecting its activities and positions, and through contacts and dialogue between its representatives and United States congressmen in the framework of the regular activities of these assemblies;
7.5 invites its Bureau to explore the possibilities for the Assembly to be associated with the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue.