What place do European issues have in national parliaments?
Sabine Thillaye, French MP (MoDem) for Indre-et-Loire, is French and German and very passionate about the friendship between the two countries. Born and raised in Germany, she became French through her marriage and has since lived in France. Promoting the French-German partnership in the European Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly, which she presides over, is essential in her eyes.
Elected president on the day of Simone Veil’s funeral, Sabine Thillaye felt a strong sense of responsibility. The committee’s role is to monitor, analyse and take a stand on European issues that are intersectional in nature. The 48 members of the committee also sit on standing committees of the National Assembly, which makes them the only French MPs to sit on two committees. Even though the 27 Member States of the European Union all have a European Affairs Committee, they don’t all have the same prerogatives. For example, Finland has a more extensive committee – the “grand committee” - on European Affairs mandating the Finnish Prime Minister on which positions he should defend at the European Council.
Despite the French equivalent being less powerful, it can nevertheless exert an influence by adopting resolutions and giving its opinion in a sustained dialogue with the European institutions. The French European Affairs Committee’s scope spans both internal and external actions, one of its missions being to brief other French parliamentary committees, so they can deal with issues in the best way.
With the French presidency of the European Union coming up next January, the French Commission for European Affairs will have the opportunity to shine by accompanying the presidency whose strong values are “recovery, power, belonging”.