This paper has sought to discuss the relationship between both the Executive and the EU, as well as Parliament and the EU, comparing and contrasting these relationships with other multilateral organizations such as the UN and AU.
It has also attempted to set out four potential diplomacy models for relations with the EU. While all of these models have various benefits and disadvantages, it is suggested that the Ad Hoc Parliamentary Diplomacy Model may be the best vehicle for establishing more structured relations with the EU. By setting up an Ad Hoc Committee or Focus Group in the Office of the Speaker comprising of various Members of Portfolio and Select Committees, one may be able to develop an instrument with a select group of individuals who are particularly interested in EU-SA relations.
The instrument will also have the necessary political weight attached to it if chaired by a Presiding Officer of Parliament. Furthermore, there will be little or no need for additional resources to fund this instrument. If at a later stage relations with the EU intensify even further, a more structured instrument may be developed.
More generally, it is also submitted that the Sub-Committee on International Relations, would be a good vehicle to drive and monitor relations with other Parliaments and multilateral organizations. Serious thought may therefore need to be given to reconstituting this instrument.
1 “‘Parliamentary Diplomacy:’ Some Preliminary Findings” Jean Monnet Working Papers in Comparative and International Politics (November 2002)
2 Ghebali V “The Conferences of the IPU on European Cooperation and Security, 1973-1991” The Contribution of Parliamentary Diplomacy to East-West Détente (1993)
3 Patry B “Parliamentary Diplomacy: The Emerging Role of Parliamentarians in Diplomacy” Paper presented at the Canadian Symposium on Parliamentary Diplomacy, Ottawa (29 April 2002)
4 Ambassador Matjila’s support for the establishment of the South African Parliamentary Group on Relations with the EU is contained in his letter dated 27 August 2004 addressed to Mr D J Sithole, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs (Annexure 1). This support was once again confirmed in a telephone interview with Thabo Thage from the Brussels Mission (24 January 2005).