Domestic versus foreign affairs – an outdated dichotomy?

Traditionally, governments enjoyed exclusive competence over foreign affairs and parliaments were reduced to holding them to account ‘after-the-fact’. However, one of the consequences of the increasingly globalised world of the 21st century is that decisions made in the international context impact far more on a country’s domestic. This challenges the classic dichotomy of ‘domestic’ versus ‘foreign’ affairs which leads to a parliament losing its traditional role as the key forum for debate and decision-making. With its decisions on the European Stability Mechanism, the German Constitutional Court seemed to have tried to halt that trend by using the Parliament’s budgetary control powers to limit the Government’s foreign policy prerogative. However, this paper will argue that the cases illustrate precisely why the traditional theoretical framework is flawed and will explore how a more radical change could result in greater accountability and thus decrease popular distrust of government.