In the course of each presidency, in line with the COSAC Rules of Procedure, a meeting at the level of chairpersons of European committees of EU national parliaments and representatives of the European Parliament is held every six months (so-called small COSAC). The meeting takes place in the Member State currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and serves as a preparation for the plenary meeting of COSAC which then approves the conclusions and contribution to the issues discussed. In addition, the COSAC chairpersons can deal with current European topics. Each EU national parliament and the European Parliament (EP) is represented at the meeting by a two-member delegation.
The meeting is chaired jointly by chairpersons of the European committees of both chambers of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.
The history and operation of COSAC
COSAC (from the French Conférence des organes parlementaires spécialisés dans les affaires de l’Union des parlements de l’Union européenne) was established in 1989 upon the initiative of the then President of the French National Assembly, Laurent Fabius. As part of the Conference of Speakers of the EU Parliaments held in Madrid, Fabius raised a proposal to elevate the role of national parliaments in the EU decision-making procedures, inter alia, through chairing the COSAC. The Speakers supported the idea and agreed that the Conference should meet at least twice a year in the current presidency country and should discuss issues of common interest. The first meeting took place several months later in Paris and the main theme was enhancing parliamentary control in European affairs. This cross-cutting theme still remains a part of the COSAC conferences.
The operation of COSAC is governed by the Rules of Procedure of 2011, replacing the original Rules of Procedure of 2007. According to their provisions, a preparatory meeting at the level of chairpersons (so-called small COSAC) is held every six months, serving as a basis for the plenary meeting.
COSAC is the most influential platform for exchanging information and good practice among national parliaments and the European Parliament in terms of the practical impact of its decisions. From the viewpoint of primary law, it is the only platform of inter-parliamentary cooperation, explicitly mentioned in Protocol No 1 on the role of national parliaments in the European Union, attached to the Treaty of Lisbon. In line with its Art. 10, COSAC may submit any contribution it deems appropriate for the attention of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. The contributions do not bind the participating parliaments and do not prejudge their positions. Moreover, COSAC should “promote the exchange of information and best practice between national parliaments and the European Parliament, including their special committees”. According to the Rules of Procedure, the Conference is the only one to have a permanent secretariat in Brussels, consisting of officers of the presidency trio parliaments and one permanent member co-financed by all EU national parliaments. They share in the organisation of all meetings and ensure continuity of COSAC activity. Every six months, they draw up a report on activities of the national parliaments in European affairs. In doing that, they draw on answers from a questionnaire they prepare every six months.
Information on previous meetings of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC) is available on the IPEX interparliamentary platform in the section dedicated to the COSAC Conference.
The whole event will be opened on Sunday, July 10 with a dinner reception held in the Waldstein Garden of the Waldstein Palace. The meeting itself will take place on Monday, July 11 in the Plenary Room of the Waldstein Palace, the seat of the Czech Senate.
July 11, 2022
8:00 — 8:45Meeting of the COSAC Presidential Troika
9:00 — 9:25Opening session
- Welcome speech by Mr Miloš Vystrčil, President of the Czech Senate
- Opening remarks by Mr David Smoljak, Chairman of the Committee on EU Affairs of the Senate
- Opening remarks by Mr Ondřej Benešík, Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies
9:25 — 10:00Procedural and other general matters
- Adoption of the Agenda of the Meeting
- Presentation of the results of the COSAC Troika of Chairpersons' Meeting
- Provisional agenda for the LXVIII COSAC Meeting
- Outline of the 38th COSAC Bi-Annual Report
- Letters received by the Presidency
- Procedural items
- Presentation of the outcomes of the COSAC working groups by representatives of the European Affairs Committees of the French Parliament
10:00 — 11:30First session - Presentation of the priorities of the Czech Presidency
Session chaired by Mr Ondřej Benešík, Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies
- Keynote speaker: Mr Jan Lipavský, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Czech Republic
11:30 — 12:00Coffee break and family photo
12:00 — 13:30Second session – Media and Democracy: Current Challenges
Session chaired by Mr David Smoljak, Chairman of the Committee on EU Affairs of the Senate
- Video message: Ms Věra Jourová, Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency
- Keynote Speaker: Mr Othmar Karas, First Vice-President of the European Parliament
- Speaker: Mr Michal Klíma, Commissioner for Media and Counter-Disinformation of the Czech Government
13:30 — 13:45Closing remarks of the Chairs
- Closing remarks by Mr David Smoljak, Chairman of the Committee on EU Affairs of the Senate
- Closing remarks by Mr Ondřej Benešík, Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies
All pictures from the meeting are available on the Czech Senate webpage.
A recording of the meeting is available on the Czech Senate webpage.