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Interparliamentary Cooperation

The Assembleia da República takes part in multilateral interparliamentary cooperation actions within the framework of information-sharing platforms such as the Conference of European Affairs Committees of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC), the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation (CERDP), the Interparliamentary EU Information Exchange (IPEX), and the Association of Secretaries-General of the Portuguese-Speaking Parliaments (ASG-PLP).

This principle led to the signature of parliamentary cooperation protocols between the President of the Assembleia da República and his counterpart in each of the other Portuguese-speaking parliaments. The first such protocol to enter into force was signed with the National Assembly of Cape Verde in 1995. There followed the National Assembly of São Tomé and Príncipe in 1995, the Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique in1996, the People's National Assembly of Guinea-Bissau in 1997, the National Assembly of Angola in 1998 and the National Parliament of East Timor in 2000.

These Protocols have allowed the Secretaries-General of the respective parliaments to establish specific parliamentary co-operation programmes. These are always preceded by diagnostic missions designed to ensure that the cooperation activities are appropriate to the reality and needs of each counterpart parliament.

In general, the main cooperation activities are common to the various cooperation programmes. In recent years it is particularly worth noting the training sessions that have taken place in Portugal, and a number of technical assistance missions to the counterpart parliaments in the following areas: lawmaking; drafting techniques; the detailed aspects of the legislative procedure; the revision of parliamentary rules of procedure; committee work; libraries; documentation; archives; financial administration; procurement and property; human resource management; public relations; international relations; protocol; and information technology.

These actions are undertaken by Assembleia da República staff, but sometimes also include the participation of Portuguese parliamentarians and other Portuguese specialists in certain areas. In addition, the Assembleia da República also enters into agreements with other institutions, such as the National Institute of Administration (INA) and the Camões Institute, in order to pursue the above goals.                   

The Assembleia da República also donates a variety of resources, such as IT materials, legal libraries and other important works of interest in the parliamentary field.

Within this multilateral context the Assembleia da República has undertaken a number of interparliamentary training actions in which representatives from Portuguese-speaking parliaments share experiences and acquire new skills; it has also hosted delegations to Portugal from European Union candidate countries that want to find out about the Portuguese experience of integration into the Community institutions; and it has organised traineeships and working visits by Members of Parliament and parliamentary officials from countries in Central and Eastern Europe.