At the invitation of the Czech Republic, which holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2022, the Swiss Delegation to the EFTA/EU Parliamentary Committee took part in the chairpersons meeting of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs on 10 and 11 July 2022 in Prague.

The chairpersons meeting of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs (COSAC) took place within the framework of the Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union. In line with the motto chosen by the Czech Republic – ‘Europe as a mission’ – the meeting aimed to reflect on and call for responsibility and action in order to carry out the threefold task of rethinking, rebuilding and reinforcing Europe.

The overall objective of the Czech presidency is to contribute as much as possible to creating conditions conducive to the security and prosperity of Europe, taking into account the European values of freedom, social justice, democracy, the rule of law and environmental responsibility. To achieve this objective, the Czech Republic has identified several priority areas. These include managing the refugee crisis and the recovery of Ukraine, improving energy security, strengthening Europe’s defence capabilities and cyberspace security, as well as enhancing the strategic resilience of the European economy and the resilience of democratic institutions.

At the meeting, Jan Lipavský, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, outlined his country’s priorities. Participants also addressed the theme ‘Media and Democracy: Current Challenges’, following a presentation by the First Vice-President of the European Parliament, Othmar Karas.

The event also provided an opportunity for nurturing contacts between parliaments, and Swiss parliamentarians were able to meet delegations from various EU member states.

The Swiss delegation was represented by its president, Council of States member Benedikt Würth (The Centre, SG), and National Council member Hans-Peter Portmann (FDP, ZH).

Founded in 1989, COSAC has served as a platform for strengthening dialogue between parliaments since its recognition in the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997. Switzerland has been invited as an observer country to the biannual meetings of the presidents of the EU affairs committees since 2015.

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