Firstly, many events affecting the nation and the lives of the French people occur or are entrenched in the outside world: it is of the utmost necessity to foresee such events so as to better anticipate their consequences and the means required to deal with them correctly.
Secondly, in a context in which parliamentary diplomacy is of growing importance, the Senate has a role to play in order to foster and extend our country’s influence abroad.
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 partner among foreign parliaments. The Senate also ranks among the best defenders of bicameralism around the world.
The international action of the Senate is organised around several areas.
This outward-looking approach is not only reflected in the enhancement of the standard forms of international activities but also in the development of new initiatives.
Many stakeholders are contributing to the Senate’s international action: first of all, the President of the Senate ; the "Bureau" of the Senate (executive committee) and its delegation for international affairs and interparliamentary friendship groups ; the standing committees - especially the committee for Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armes Forces - and the committee for European Affairs ; the 81 interparliamentary friendship groups ; the Senate's delegations to european and international assemblies ; the senators representing French citizens living abroad in their specific mission of representing French expatriates.
Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie
The presidential activity
The President of the Senate devotes a great deal of its schedule to international relations. This activity is marked by many hearings held at the Luxembourg Palace, foreign visits in response to governmental or parliamentary invitations as well as hosting parliamentary delegations in the Senate.
The Senate Committees' activities 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 in the field topics of their scope of competence. Such visits allow senators to acquire a better knowledge of the situation in the field and to analyse the solutions certain countries come up with to deal with issues they have in common.
Interparliamentary friendship groups
friendship groups are set up on the initiative of one or more senators to develop
contacts, exchange of information, work and friendship relationships with the
political and economic authorities as well as with members of parliamentary
assemblies of countries or groups of countries, 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 and Protocol Department to provide valuable insights on business and economic matters to senators, experts and the public. In that regard, economic gatherings have frequently been held since 1997 with the partnership of Business France (former UbiFrance) ( UbiFrance).
The delegations to interparliamentary assemblies
The Senate contributes with the National Assembly to the activities of 8 interparliamentary assemblies: the Interparliamentary Union (IPU), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC), the Parliamentary Assembly of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO-PA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Assembly of the OSCE, and the Parliamentary Assembly - Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM). French delegations to interparliamentary assemblies are composed by senators and deputies, appointed by their own assembly.
The technical interparliamentary cooperation
The Senate is more and more called upon to grant its cooperation to the Parliaments of countries which are undergoing or have recently experienced democratisation. The variety of the requests illustrates the fact that the Senate's parliamentary procedure, its working and organisational methods as well as the skills of its administrative staff are highly valued around the world. The two-chamber system appears to be spreading internationally and the recently formed senatorial entities quite naturally turn towards the French Senate to benefit from its experience and counselling.
Senates of the world, Senates of Europe
The number of Parliaments made of two chambers rises unequivocally: more than 70 countries today have a bicameral system whilst only 40 countries where concerned in 1970. This growth of the two-chamber system led the French Senate to organize a major forum of the the Senates of the world at the dawn of the third millenium, on March 14th 2000, to discuss the role and functions of Senates and Upper Houses as well as to strengthen ties between them.
Furthermore, the Association of European Senates was founded in November 2000, on the initiative of the President of the Senate, with the aim of developing the relationships between it members, of promoting bicameralism and of strengthening European identity and awareness. The XXth meeting of the Association was held at the French Senate from 13th to 15th of June 2019.