German parliament urges the government to examine a UN Parliamentary Assembly

Secretariat, 9. March 2016

Parliament adopts joint motion of coalition parties CDU/CSU and SPD

Jürgen Klimke (CDU) speaks during the panel debate
Image: Deutscher Bundestag / Achim Melde

In a joint motion of the governing coalition parties the German parliament urged the government under Chancellor Angela Merkel to support efforts to reform the United Nations that aim at making the world organization more efficient and more transparent. The democratic legitimacy of the UN needs to be guaranteed through modernization, the motion says. "This includes to examine the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly," the parliament stated.

The motion was adopted after a governmental statement by foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on "70 years United Nations" on 14 October of the previous year. During the plenary debate the chairman of the conservative CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the parliament's subcommittee on United Nations, globalization, and international organizations, Jürgen Klimke (CDU), said that it was necessary to think about a parliamentary assembly at the UN.

"On the basis of our parliamentary decision I expect from the federal government to examine this issue in a serious way. A parliamentary assembly at the United Nations would support parliamentary oversight and the democratic quality of the United Nations and enhance its transparency as well. The parliamentary assembly of the OSCE could be an example to draw upon," Mr. Klimke said in a statement to the international campaign for a UNPA.

The chairman of the Social Democratic group in the parliament's subcommittee on UN issues, Josip Juratovic, said that in dealing with crises, the system of the UN Security Council was failing 70 years after the establishment of the United Nations. "That's why I explictly endorse the establishment of a parliamentary assembly at the United Nations. When governments fail to come to agreement, citizen-elected representatives may succeed," the member of parliament stated.

Josip Juratovic (SPD)
Image: J. Juratovic

The vice-chair of the subcommission, Egon Jüttner (CDU), welcomed the parliament's decision "extraordinarily." "The democratic legitimacy of the UN and its decision-making needs to be improved and needs to become much more transparent. As the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, where I am a substitute member, shows, such a body is an important institution that can call for and establish transparency and internal democracy. In addition, I hope that the creation of a parliamentary assembly will strengthen the perception of the UN as a global player in international politics within the German population," he said.

Three years ago the German government was already urged by the German United Nations Association to present proposals for the establishment of a UNPA. "It is good that the German parliament has taken up the idea of a UN Parliamentary Assembly in its decision on the United Nations. Together with other European countries Germany should introduce the experiences with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe into the UN system," the chairman of the assocation, Detlef Dzembritzki, declared.

On the occasion of a resolution of the European Parliament, around 40 German civil society organizations wrote to the federal government and asked it to endorse a UNPA in the UN General Assembly.

Top image: Deutscher Bundestag