Monday, June 17, 2013

European Parliament-Organizational Assessment

Working under MEP Peter Stastny at the European Parliament, his office mainly focuses on International Trade; specifically, my work thus far has consisted of economic partnership agreements (EPA) with ACP (African, Caribbean, and Pacific) countries and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. The constraints of the organization can be divided into two general categories: the parliamentary level and the MEP level. The latter level is a small office with four people trying to do everything which can lead to mild chaos at times; there are numerous conferences and events to keep track of and to ensure that the MEP must be prepared for that it is easy to get confused if one is disorganized.

On the European Parliament level, the main struggle is trying to convince everyone that the MEP’s views are valid enough that the majority will vote according to those views. Mr. Stastny is a member of the Christian Democrats and so far has been in agreement with the majority of the Parliament on the matters of international trade. These past two weeks I have been working on speeches for the ACP conference that Mr. Stastny will be attending and during my research I found with the EPA that it is particularly difficult for this policy to be implemented due to the instability in certain ACP countries that Mr. Stastny focuses on: Mali, Central African Republic, and Guinea. The EPA proposes that it will aid in development for these countries by opening the European market up to them but without domestic security in place the EPA will not work for these countries at the moment; the security issues are definitely a constraint on allowing this policy to see fruition.  In this case, it is up to the Parliament and the Commission to decide if they are to involve themselves in the security matters of these countries. More discussions are occurring this week about security in these countries and hopefully I will be to see how this will impact future negotiations for an EPA in ACP countries.

There is an addition level to policy making in the European Parliament which is the state level but so far that has not had much of an impact in my office. However, after hearing a few speeches at different meetings I see that the state has an important role in policy making just as the institutions that make up the European Union.


  1. A good post, Rachel -- I like the way that you've highlighted how security and trade are intertwined when it comes to the question of EPAs for the ACP states. Being a Christian Democrat, I suspect that MEP Stastny sits with the European People's Party (EPP) fraction in the EP?

    Given your work so far, what is your prognosis for the capacity of the EP/EU to solve the security concerns you note such that the EPAs could be extended to the ACP states?

    1. Yes MEP Stastny is with the EPP. From some of the meetings and the research I have done it seems the EU is mainly focuses on Mali; the EU is giving Mali 500 million euro to help rebuild the state. The other ACP countries that I have done research for Mr. Stastny (Central African Republic and Guinea) have been discussed as second fiddle to Mali. There was much talk on what should be done to ensure security in these states but I did not hear any plan of action to provide security (or the capacity for the citizens to provides its own security) so that an EPA can be successfully established.

      As for Mali, I always question the intentions of donations because the problem lies in which programs the donor wants to allocate the money; often the implementation and consideration of ALL citizens is mismanaged or overlooked. The state may hoard the money if the donor does not put certain conditions on the money and ignore the citizens causing the cycle of greed, violence, and injustice to continue. I think if the EU places clear conditions on its donation and creates a plan of action for the CAR and Guinea then the EPAs will be able to foster in these countries.

  2. Excellent -- thanks for the reply, Rachel.