Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 199

199 Arctic Yearbook 2015 Two more categories of cooperation can be distinguished by analyzing the international activity of different national parliaments: prescribed (when the activity stems from the provisions of an international treaty defining the participants’ roles in a given international entity) and optional (when the activity stems from the sovereign decisions of the parliamentarians) (Florczak-Wątor & Czarny 2012: 60). In presenting this typology, it is also worth noting that inter-parliamentary cooperation can be self-generated (autonomous) or complementary (incorporated into the operations of a given organization) (Florczak-Wątor & Czarny 2012: 60). It can also be either consistent and institutionalized or temporary and provisional (Florczak-Wątor & Czarny 2012: 61). As shown above, the evolution of the international activity of parliamentary institutions is a highly complex process, which renders its evaluation difficult and the effectiveness of the institutions themselves problematic (Supranational parliamentary and interparliamentary assemblies in 21st century Europe 2007; Supranational parliamentary and interparliamentary assemblies in 21st century Europe 2007; Šabič 2008: 261). At this juncture, I will focus on the most important of the many currents that come under this ‘transnational parliamentarianism’ (Marschall 2007) – one which manifests itself in international parliamentary institutions, otherwise known as parliamentary assemblies. Its origins can be traced to the creation of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 1899, though it was not until the 1940s and 1950s that it entered the phase of dynamic growth in which it remains today (Tedoldi 2014). The 1980s and 1990s saw a significant increase in the overall number of parliamentary assemblies, which derived both from the end of long-standing Cold War rivalries and from accelerated European integration (Herranz 2005) coupled with the march of globalization. Marschall points out that modern-day parliamentary assemblies, despite their European heritage, exist across the world, and will continue to proliferate even more dynamically outside of Europe in tandem with increasing regionalization and democratization (Marschall 2007: 3-4). Today, two of the basic qualities of parliamentary assemblies are the fact that they are composed of delegations from different national parliaments, and the fact that they pursue a consistent and institutionalized agenda, typically outlined in a charter or statute. Many parliamentary assemblies lift institutional approaches (e.g. in structure or manner of operation) that work effectively on the national level (Marschall 2007: 12). A large majority of assemblies are affiliated (though in different ways) with intergovernmental organizations, and many of them additionally form an integral part of the structures of other transnational institutions (Marschall 2007). This ‘tethering’ has an important effect on the range of issues they undertake, the effectiveness of their policy decisions, and the sway they hold over decision processes on both the national and international level. Marschall clarifies, however, that the real clout of parliamentary assemblies is manifested in their contribution to the development of multilevel parliamentarism (Marschall 2007), which is gaining importance in governance as it is envisioned by modern international relations (Jancic 2014; Crum, Fossum 2009). To round out these considerations on the various forms of international activity of parliamentary institutions, it should be noted that the legislatures of the Nordic countries have always played an active role in their development (Götz 2009, 2005). Close collaboration among the Nordic parliaments has been ongoing since the end of the 19th century, and in 1907 this collaboration was formalized in Łuszczuk