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The European Parliament – a rising star?

On Thursday, the 23th of November, a lecture entitled “The European Parliament – a rising star?” was held by Felix Dane, head of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Ramallah. The lecture is part of the module „THE EUROPEAN UNION: UNIQUE PHENOMENON OR RELEVANT MODEL?“ within the course „International Studies“, offered by the Ibrahim Abu Lughod Institute for International Studies (IALIIS) . The module is organized in collaboration between IALIIS and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, aiming at strengthening the knowledge of future Palestinian diplomats on the EU and its institutions.

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In his three-part lecture, Mr. Dane spoke about the European Parliament (EP) as an institution vis a vis other institutions of the European Union (EU), the role of the parliament as an international actor and the possibilities of influencing the parliament.

The first part aimed at both giving a general overview of the formal and structural aspects of the EP as well as highlighting the influence it gained over time by using its budgetary power.

Dane explained why the ongoing development process of the European Union, which has often been criticised, can also be seen as something positive, as it allows the EU to adapt to changing realities.

In the second part of his lecture, Dane talked about the role of the EP as an international actor, explaining the collaboration of the EP with and the support of non-member states and their respective parliaments. Thereby he mentioned the formal powers the parliament has on the European External Action Service as well as its decisive role on the EU’s trade agreements with non-member states. Dane also highlighted the advantages of EU’s Election Observation Missions, taking as an example the 2005 elections in the Palestinian Territories and Ruanda in 2008.

At last, a closer look at the EU’s lobbying scene and its structures, measurements and outcome was taken. In this context, Dane highlighted the strict transparency rules and the code of conduct applied on the lobby work at the EP that limits possibilities of corruption and fraud in the EPs decision making process. In order to show the diversity of lobbying at the EU, Dane explained the methods of private commercial interest groups as well as Governments in delivering their messages. Dane also gave the audience examples of how the Palestinian Authority as well as individual interest groups could improve their methods of influencing the EP for Palestinian interests.

A lively discussion started after the third part between Dane and the students about various contents and aspects of the lecture.

Approximately 30 students and guest auditors participated in the lecture.

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Abu Lughod 23-11-2011 KAS Ramallah 2011


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