International parliamentary institutions (IPIs) are seen as a valid response to the democratic challenges posed by globalization and regional integration.

Following the principles underpinning their national counterparts, IPIs can contribute to democratization by promoting the representation of affected publics and facilitating their incorporation into regional or global governance structures. They can also foster the articulation of popular interests in coherent democratic claims and lead to greater levels of transparency and accountability, and therefore contribute to a greater legitimacy of supranational actors.

With this study UNU-CRIS and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) seek to analyze this emerging phenomenon. The purpose is to critically examine the democratic capacities of IPIs and the way they perform as vectors of democratization. What is the status of democracy in regional integration and cooperation processes? Do IPIs play an important role in promoting democratic practices across regions? How can we strengthen international legislative assemblies? The research aims to answer such questions and to produce tangible policy recommendations for policy makers, practitioners and experts that will enhance the democratic performance of IPIs.


Publication date
01 May 2014
Georgios Papanagnou, Stephen Kingah, Luk Van Langenhove
Number of pages
United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
No (Print)


List of abbreviations

Executive Summary

Policy Recommendations

Part I. From the local to the global

Part II. Assessing international democracy

Part III. Democracy à géométrie variable

1. The European Parliament

2. The Legislative Assembly of the East African Community

3. Parliament of the MERCOSUR

4. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

5. ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly

6. Conclusion


Annex Anchor

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Democracy Building in the Regional Context: Insights from the European Parliament and Beyond

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