The history of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly (DEPA)

On 6 May 2009, the European Parliament named all new delegations to be established for the seventh legislature (2009-2014). For the first time, the list included a delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly (PA).

The Assembly itself had been proposed by the Parliament two years before, as a forum for discussions between representatives of the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine - the EU's Eastern neighbours. It convened for the first time in 2011.

A significant delegation

In September 2009, the European Parliament resolved that its Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly would count 60 members. This number - which made the Euronest delegation one of the largest in the house - has been maintained in the current, eighth legislature (2014-2019).

The Euronest's partner delegations count 10 MPs each from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Belarus does not currently have a delegation to the Assembly. If the country does one day send a delegation to the Euronest PA - a scenario that depends on the country's democratic reforms - its 10 members would bring the representation of the Eastern Partnership countries to the same number as the European Parliament's members.

The impetus for the Assembly

The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly was conceived as the parliamentary extension of the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood policy, which aimed to bring the EU's Eastern neighbours closer to the EU while avoiding new dividing lines on the continent.

As the EU negotiated far-reaching Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, the Parliament proposed a forum for representatives from all the Eastern neighbours. A resolution from November 2007 stated that the Parliament:

"Considers it important to enhance the parliamentary dimension of the political partnership between the European Parliament and the countries involved in the eastern part of the ENP; suggests, therefore, the setting-up of an EU-Neighbourhood-East Parliamentary Assembly (EURO-NEST), following the example of the multilateral parliamentary assemblies already established with the participation of the European Parliament, and involving the Parliaments of Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as pro-democracy observers from Belarus."

Sequence of plenary sessions

One constituent and seven ordinary sessions of the Euronest PA have been held to date:
  • the constituent session was held in May 2011 in Brussels,
  • the first ordinary session was held in September 2011 in Strasbourg,
  • the second was held in April 2012 in Baku (Azerbaijan),
  • the third was held in May 2013 in Brussels,
  • the fourth was held in March 2015 in Yerevan (Armenia),
  • the fifth was held in March 2016 in Brussels,
  • the sixth was held in October-November 2017 in Kiev (Ukraine),
  • the seventh was held in June 2018 in Brussels,
  • the eighth was held in December 2019 in Tbilisi (Georgia).

At each session, apart from the first, the Assembly has adopted resolutions.

Delegation meetings and conferences

In addition to its inter-parliamentary activity, the DEPA delegation has met regularly on its own in Brussels and Strasbourg. The delegation has also organised several conferences related to its area of focus.

Delegation meetings address administrative matters, such as the election of Chair or Vice-Chairs and the preparations for Euronest PA sessions, as well as matters of substance, such as the political and economic situation in the EU's eastern neighbourhood and the bilateral relationship.

Conferences have been aimed at a wider audience, and have often been co-organised with a partner, such as the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, the EP Sub-Committee on Human Rights or the Open Society Foundation.

For conferences as well as delegation meetings, the delegation regularly invites outside experts to make presentations or discuss relevant topics. Staff from the EU Commission's DG NEAR and from the European External Action Service (EEAS) have, for example, contributed their expertise.

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