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Multilayered International Parlamentarism: The Case of EU-Brazil Relations

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Challenging the predominant scholarly focus on international parliamentary
institutions as the sole and sufficient object of inquiry into the global role of parliaments, this
article argues that international interparliamentary relations do not occur merely within isolated
forums, but may and do de facto evolve in layers of overlapping forums whenever circumstances
allow it. This article conceptualises multilayered international parliamentarism as developing in
webs of formal and informal linkages between the same parliamentary institutions in a variety
of bilateral and multilateral frameworks regarding the same region. To this end, I conduct an
in-depth case study of bilateral and multilateral relations between the parliaments of the EU
and Brazil through the lens of institutional arrangements as well as by examining the reaction
of the Brazilian and certain other Latin American parliaments to the EU’s Returns Directive.
The analysis shows that intensified international contacts among parliamentarians accentuate
the deliberative function of parliaments and foster their ‘diplomatic’ actorship in foreign affairs
in a concerted attempt to counterbalance globalisation-propelled ‘negotiated democracy’
nurtured by intergovernmental and transgovernmental ways of doing politics and making law.
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