U.S. Congress and the European Parliament: Evolving Transatlantic Legislative Cooperation [March 20, 2012] [open pdf - 410KB]
"The United States and the European Union (EU) share an extensive, dynamic, and for many a mutually beneficial political and economic partnership. A growing element of that relationship is the role that the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament (EP)-a key EU institution-have begun to play, including in areas ranging from foreign and economic policy to regulatory reform. Proponents of establishing closer relations between the U.S. Congress and the EP point to the Parliament's growing influence as a result of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, which took effect in December 2009. The Lisbon Treaty has increased the relative power of the EP within the EU, and in some cases, with significant implications for U.S. interests. Consequently, some officials and experts on both sides of the Atlantic have asked whether it would be beneficial for Congress and the EP to strengthen institutional ties further and to explore the possibility of coordinating efforts to develop more complementary approaches to policies in areas of mutual interest. The Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue (TLD), the formal exchange between Congress (actually the House of Representatives) and the European Parliament, was launched in 1999, although semi-annual meetings between Congress and the EP date back to 1972. The TLD's visibility increased somewhat following the 2007 decision to name it as an advisor to the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), which seeks to 'advance the work of reducing or eliminating non-tariff barriers to transatlantic commerce and trade.' [...] This report provides background on the Congress-EP relationship and the role of the TLD. It also explores potential future options should an effort to strengthen ties between the two bodies gain momentum."
CRS Report for Congress, R41552