National Assembly Deputy Speaker and Chairperson of the European Integration Committee Elvira Kovacs took part in the meeting of the Chairpersons of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC), held under the auspices of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, on 10 and 11 July 2022 in Prague. At the beginning of the meeting, the organisers were asked to remove the status symbols and to present the representatives of Pristina in a status-neutral manner, which was met.
The meeting was opened by the President of the Senate of the Czech Parliament Milos Vystrcil, Chairperson of the Czech Senate’s Committee on EU Affairs David Smoljak, and the Chairperson of the Committee on EU Affairs of the Czech Chamber of Deputies Ondrej Benesik. Having adopted the agenda, they presented the results of the Troika meeting, as well as the results of the Working Group formed during the previous presidency by the Parliament of France.
Session 1, entitled "Presentation of the priorities of the Czech Presidency of the EU", was presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Jan Lipavsky who said that the Czech Presidency of the EU, under the slogan " Europe as a task: rethink, rebuild, repower ", with an emphasis on partnership with Africa, included in the focus of its priorities: managing the refugee crisis and post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, energy security, strengthening European defence capabilities, resilience of the European economy and democratic institutions. Great many of the participants reiterated the importance of preserving the Western Balkans expansion policy, financial support for the region, as well as strengthening the Eastern Partnership.
European Integration Committee Chairperson Elvira Kovacs pointed out that though each EU presidency sets different priorities, it is important to make sure that the rule of law and respect for international principles remain in force. "We must bear in mind that the security and cooperation of all actors at the EU level is vital for the stability of democracy, and in this sense, it is important that the enlargement policy is not neglected, meaningless, and that it is evaluated based on the individual progress of each EU candidate country ", Ms Kovacs pointed out. “The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia is aware that the accession process is defined by numerous obligations and decisions we must make, which require strong political will and the implementation of legal reforms. Also, the European Union must be a credible partner that, through various engagement and access mechanisms in the region, including financial support, enables the states in the region to fulfil their obligations more quickly and efficiently”, Ms Kovacs stressed. At the end of her presentation, Ms Kovacs expressed her hope that the EU would successfully solve the challenges it is faced with and that the enlargement policy would not be called into question.
Session 2 focused on the current challenges in the field of media, as well as challenges to democracy, i.e. protection of the rule of law and the legal state. The participants were addressed via video message by the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova, as well as the First Vice President of the European Parliament Othmar Karas and the Commissioner for Media and Counter-Disinformation Michal Klima. A strong media is very important in order to avoid manipulations and contribute to the strengthening of democracy. Committee Chairperson Kovacs had several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the COSAC meeting.
The COSAC meeting was attended by members of the parliaments of EU member states, as well as the candidate countries who participated in the status of observers, including, for the first time, the parliaments of Ukraine and Moldova, while the other participants had the status of special guests. The COSAC plenary K meeting will be held from 13 to 15 November 2022 in Prague.