The Swiss delegation to the EFTA/EU Parliamentary Committee has accepted an invitation from France to take part in the plenary meeting of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs, which will be held in Paris from 3 to 5 March. France holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2022. Council of States member Benedikt Würth (The Centre, SG), the president of the delegation, will be joined by delegation vice president Thomas Aeschi (SVP, ZG), as well as Eric Nussbaumer (SP, BL) and Hans-Peter Portmann (PLR, ZH), all members of the National Council.

The plenary meeting of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for European Affairs (COSAC) will take place during the French presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). French Prime Minister Jean Castex will open the conference with a first assessment of the French presidency.

The European recovery plan and the exit from the crisis will be on the agenda, along with climate change and the energy transition. In line with the motto of its EU Council presidency – ‘Recovery, strength and a sense of ownership’ – France aims to foreground the sovereignty agenda, as well as the adoption of legislation on digitalisation, the green transition and minimum wages. Participants will have the opportunity to assess the objectives that have been set and to identify possible improvements, thanks in particular to the participation of members of the European Commission, such as Valdis Dombrovskis and Kadri Simson, as well as various representatives of the European Parliament and the business community.

The Conference on the Future of Europe, a concept allowing European citizens to debate Europe's priorities and challenges, will also be discussed. The COSAC working groups – one on the role of national parliaments in the EU, and the other on the central role of European values in a sense of belonging to the EU – will furthermore present the progress of their work. The presidents of COSAC set up these groups at their meeting last January. Finally, given the particular circumstances, the participants will address the current developments with regard to Ukraine.

The event also provides an opportunity for parliaments to stay in contact. Swiss parliamentarians will meet with delegations from various EU member states.

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 also been invited as an observer country to the biannual meetings of the presidents of the EU affairs committees since 2015.