Rome, Italy

Parliaments of Europe: foreign policy and democracy promotion

when 14 July 2015 - 24 July 2015
duration 2 weeks
credits 6 EC
fee EUR 1000

Taught by world-renowned academics and experts, this summer school applies research-based knowledge to the practical contexts that European Parliament and national parliaments face nowadays as international players. The faculty will create a teaching and seminar environment that is likely to foster experiential learning and to allow participants to debate new concepts, ideas and challenges while working together through seminars and group work.
The course is divided in two weeks, which are closely inter-connected. Students can opt for the two week or one week course.

The first week, from 14 to 17 July 2015, on 'The foreign policy of national parliaments and the European Parliament', is more 'political science-oriented' and is divided into five sessions addressing the following subject areas:

- Parliaments in regional integration processes
- EU foreign policy and its democratic legitimacy
- The European Parliament and the US Congress dealing with foreign policy
- The European Parliament and the agreements with non-EU countries
- Parliaments and war

The second week, from 20 to 24 July 2015, on 'The role of national parliaments and the European Parliament in democracy promotion ', is more 'law-oriented' and is divided into seven sessions addressing the following subject areas:

- Parliamentary 'soft' diplomacy
- Parliaments, NGOs and multilevel governance
- Political constitutionalism and the role of international human rights conventions
- Open parliaments and challenges arising from internationalisation
- Parliamentary Speakers and Parliamentary Administrations in Democracy Promotion
- Parliaments, constitutional transitions and the Venice Commission
- National parliaments and the European Parliament as watchdogs for the protection of fundamental rights

Each week will start with an opening lecture and will end with a closing lecture by prominent academics and practitioners.

Participants will also have a first-hand experience during a visit to the Italian Chamber of Deputies (first week) and Senate (second week) where they will meet staff members of the Committees for European Union Policies.

The draft programme is available here:

Finally, the best papers prepared by the participants will be published by LUISS School of Government as part of its Working Paper Series.

Course leader


School of Government Director
Sergio Fabbrini (Full Professor of Political Science and International Relations and Director of the Master Programme in “International Public Affairs”, LUISS Guido Carli)

Summer school (JM module) Direc

Target group

The beneficiaries of this intensive learning experience are:

- graduates, doctoral students and junior researchers who are active in the field of parliamentary and European Union studies and want to test their current knowledge and experience with a world-class faculty and senior professionals;
- civil servants from European institutions and bodies, from international organizations, and from national and subnational institutions in Member States and from Third countries, who want to advance and share their hands-on experience with other colleagues and scholars;
- lobbyists and public affairs professionals who want to acquire advanced knowledge on the way to have access to the EU decision-making process and, therefore, be better prepared to the new challenges, after the Treaty of Lisbon and the reform of the economic governance.

Course aim

Globalization, the intensification of international relations, and ongoing regional integration processes have called Parliaments in Europe, that is national parliaments and the European Parliament, to adjust their traditional functions, organization and role to deal with these phenomena. Moreover, these parliaments have increasingly strengthened their oversight role on foreign policy and to promote democracy at an international level.

Parliaments have been usually marginalized in foreign policy, a traditionally exclusive domain of the executive branch. Yet, since the end of WWII and the beginning of the European integration process – and even more so since the fall of the Berlin wall – national parliaments and the European Parliament have start to play an important role in the international scene, which is acknowledged by Treaties, constitutions and legislation.

Such a role can be direct, when parliaments take part in the international or supranational decision-making through ad hoc bodies set up within regional organizations or when they operate as real actors in foreign policy, for example in order to expedite crisis resolutions. The European and national parliaments can also play an indirect role through the oversight and scrutiny of the executive, for instance regarding the conclusion of international agreements and the protection of fundamental rights.

While, especially in Europe, this new international dimension of parliamentary activity is deemed to enhance the democratic legitimacy of intergovernmental procedures, at the same time it poses a series of challenges. It must be ascertained, for example, whether parliaments are really effective in this field compared with courts and executives; whether there is an added value deriving from parliamentary 'diplomacy' and interparliamentary institutions; if and to what extent parliaments can interfere with foreign policy.

This summer school untangles these issues and provides its participants with a map of the current state of democracy on a global scale, under the perspective of the parliaments of Europe, by looking at their powers, functions, and inter-institutional relations in the field of foreign policy and democracy promotion.

Participants will be provided with knowledge and expertise that will allow them to understand and interpret the complex and fascinating role of these institutions. The need to combine theory with practice in understanding the future of Europe's democracy and the role of the European Union as a global actor is reflected in the Faculty, which includes world-class academics and experienced officials from European and national institutions.

This Summer School has been awarded as a Jean Monnet module co-financed by the European Commission in 2013, 2014, 2015.

Credits info

6 EC
4 ECTS: class participation and successful evaluation of a research paper presented during the one week course
6 ECTS: class participation and successful evaluation of a research paper presented during the two week course
Participants who will undertake this evaluation will receive an official transcript detailing the awarded credits. LUISS School of Government awards a certificate of participation upon successful completion of the Summer School to all students.

Fee info

EUR 1000: One week course (1st or 2nd week), accommodation in 3*** hotel breakfast included (Sunday to Saturday), social activities, visit to the Italian Chamber of Deputies/Senate
EUR 1500: Two week course, accommodation in 3*** hotel breakfast included (Sunday to Saturday), social activities, visit to both Chambers of the Italian Parliament


Not available - 20% discount for Summer School's alumni and students of the Summer School's partners: LUISS CESP, CEUR Foundation, IPSA, PADEMIA, SciencesPo - Centre d'études européennes, ULB, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, European Parliam