MPs do not only take part in national debates, but participate in international networks as well. One of these is the Parliamentary Assembly of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), consisting of 257 parliamentarians from the 28 NATO member states. This year, the States General are organising the Autumn Session, which is to be held from 21 to 24 November in the World Forum convention centre in The Hague.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly acts as a watchdog on NATO and aims at transparency of NATO policy. Every year the NATO Parliamentary Assembly publishes some 15 reports, following extensive debates among the parliamentarians. In these reports the NATO Parliamentary Assembly presents its view on NATO security issues. There are no formal relations between the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and NATO, neither financially nor on the basis of the treaty. In actual practice however, good work relations have developed with the alliance's Secretary General engaging in a debate with the Assembly a couple of times per year.

The Autumn Session
At the November session the parliamentarians will discuss current security issues, for instance the relation with Russia in view of the problems with Ukraine. The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan will also be discussed, since NATO wants to discontinue the ISAF-mission by the end of 2014. From that moment on the Afghans will be responsible for their own security. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly sessions provide parliamentarians with the opportunity to get in touch with parliamentarians from abroad and to gather new information. This can help them sharpen their opinion and gain new insights, which can be important for the decision making by the House of Representatives.

Dutch representation
The States General have seven seats in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, with each member having an alternate member. Nine of these are from the House of Representatives (five members and four alternate members) and five from the Senate (two members and three alternate members). Within the NATO Parliamentary Assembly the Dutch delegation has the reputation of being critical and active. Together with the delegation from the UK the Dutch delegation advocates greater transparency in NATO's finances, for instance.
Read more about the NATO Parliamentary Assembly

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