Firstly, many events affecting the nation and the lives of the French people occur or find their origin in the outside world: it is of the utmost necessity to foresee these events so as to better envision their consequences and the means required to aptly face these cases.
Secondly, in the context of a parliamentary diplomacy in expansion, the Senate has a role to play in order to contribute to the development of the influence of our country in foreign countries.
Lastly, the Senate's experience, in the realm of representing territorial entities and defending freedoms as well as, on a larger scale, in the field of legislative action and governmental control, renders it a greatly appreciated interlocutor and partner among foreign Parliaments; the Senate also ranks among the best defender of the bicameral idea in the world.
This outward-looking approach is not only reflected in the upgrading of the standard forms of international activities but also in the development of new initiatives.
international action of the Senate is organised around several
areas : the activity of both the President and the
standing committees, the senators representing natives
established outside France, the action of senatorial friendship
groups, the organization of economic meetings, the technical
interparliamentary cooperation, the participation of senatorial
delegations to the works of international institutions...
Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie
The presidential activity
The President of the Senate devotes a great deal of its schedule to the apprehension of international relations. This activity is marked by a lot of audiences held at the Palace of the Small Luxembourg, foreign trips in answer to governmental or parliamentary invitations and also the reception of parliamentary delegations in the Senate.
The activity of the Senate Committees abroad
The standing committees fully participate in international activities by sending, under the authorisation of the Senate, some of their members in order to study on the spot questions belonging to their scope of competence. Such visits allow senators to have a better knowledge of the situation on the field and to analyse the answers those countries find to certain problems, that also face the national territory.
groups are set up on the initiative of one or more senators to develop
contacts, relations of mutual information, work and friendship with the
political and economic authorities and also with members of parliamentary
assemblies of countries or group of countries, with which
The organisation of international economic meetings
In addition to the traditional activities deployed by senatorial friendship groups, new initiatives are being developed with the support of the International Relations Department to give full justice to economic issues in the senatorial reflection. In that regard, economic gatherings are frequently held since 1997 with the partnership of UbiFrance (former Centre Français du Commerce Extérieur) ( UbiFrance).
The technical interparliamentary cooperation
The Senate is more and more frequently sought to grant its cooperation to the Parliaments of the new democracies or the countries engaged in the process of democratization. The variety of the requests epitomises the referential status, acquired under very different latitudes, of the parliamentary procedure put in place by the Senate and its working and organisational methods as well as the appreciation carried about the skills of the administrative personnel. The two-chamber system is finally a spreading model in the world and the new formed senatorial entities look quite normally, and whatever their composition be, toward the French Senate to benefit from its experience.
Senates of the world
The number of Parliaments made of two chambers rises unequivocally and inexorably: the bicameral scheme has been reproduced in the space of thirty years in thirty countries (from 40 in 1970). This tendency towards the growth of the two-chamber system was worth some thoughts on its foundations, its appraisal and its perspectives. This is why the French Senate took the lead in reuniting the Senates of the world at the advent of a third millenary (in 2000, quite a symbolic year).
The participation to the works of European and international organisms
Some senators join in the activities of the Interparliamentary Union (UIP), the Assembly of French-Speaking Parliaments (APF), the Assembly of the North Atlantic Trade Organisation, the Assembly of the European Council, the Assembly of the Union of Occidental Europe (UEO), the Assembly of the OSCE and the Conference of Specialised Organisms in Community Affairs (COSAC). Most of the time, they publish information reports on the works to which they have been associated on behalf of the Senate and the proceedings of the sessions of these organisms.
The Assembly of French-Speaking Parliamentarians (APF)
The APF, which reunites 70 sections coming from African, American, Asian, Oceanic and European Parliaments, and whose General Secretary is the French Senator Jacques Legendre, implements actions in the fields of interparliamentary cooperation and the reinforcement of democracy. The French section comprises 150 members, namely 90 deputies and 60 senators. The International Relations Department deals with its secretariat..