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Introductory Remarks


Dear Friends,

Since the inception of the European Communities back in the 1950s, European-US relations have stood out as the most important bilateral relationship in the world and served as a key component for global stability. The European Parliament and the US Congress, conscious of this vital relationship, have kept a transatlantic legislative dialogue going since 1972 making it the longest and most intensive legislative dialogue in the history of the European Parliament.

These are particularly crucial times for the developing relations between American and European legislators. As staffers of the European Parliament, we are proud to play our part in strengthening transatlantic legislative cooperation. The European Parliament Liaison Office (EPLO) with the U.S. Congress is the only Office of the European Parliament set up outside of the territory of the European Union. This reflects the common values and vital interests our citizens share. It also highlights the wideranging powers of the European Parliament in adopting EU legislation, the budget, and ratifying international agreements.
In these respects, Congress and the European Parliament have a lot in common. The powers delegated to the Congress through the Constitution are similar in broad terms to the powers delegated to the European Parliament through the Founding Treaties. The European Parliament also elects the President of the European Commission, and has to agree on the team and the programme of the Commission President before his or her term of office can begin.

When it comes to the inner-workings of the legislative process, both Congress and the European Parliament rely on Committees to prepare votes on all matters, and for this reason, we at the EPLO try to facilitate understanding and cooperation among the members and staff of Committees in both institutions. Although our constitutional framework is quite different, we all live in democratic, open societies that are constantly evolving in response to generational and demographic changes, as well as shifting political environments, both at home and on a global level.

The European Parliament is a remarkably pluralistic body and this brochure explains how this relatively young institution is developing and exercising its role and powers.

We are proud to play our part in this challenging and inspiring task and we are happy to work with all those in Washington, and beyond, who can help us rise to these challenges.

Antoine Ripoll

European Parliament Liaison Office with the U.S. Congress