The Chairperson of the European Integration Committee Elvira Kovacs and Committee member Nemanja Joksimovic took part in the virtual 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 parliamentary dimension of Slovenia’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, on 19 July 2021.
The meeting was attended by the chairpersons of the committees for EU affairs of the parliaments of EU member states, parliaments of EU candidate countries, special guests and representatives of EU institutions.
Igor Zorcic, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, Marko Pogacnik, Chairman of the Committee on EU, and Bojan Kekec, Chair of the National Council’s Commission for International Relations and European Affairs, gave keynote addresses at the opening of the meeting.
Within session I, dedicated to the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council, the attending were addressed by Slovenian Foreign Minister Anze Logar who said that the main priorities of Slovenia’s Presidency would be the Union’s resilience to crises, debate on the strategic autonomy of the EU and the recovery of the European economy based on the digital and green transition. He stressed that the Presidency's support for the Western Balkans on the path to European integration is equally important.
The Chairperson of the European Integration Committee Elvira Kovacs expressed satisfaction that after a long time, the issue of enlargement was among the priorities of the presidency of the Council of the European Union. She pointed out that EU membership is the result of a strong commitment to the basic ideas, values and achievements the European Union is based on. She said that the intensive work done on the adoption of four negotiating positions, resulted in Serbia's being ready to open Cluster 3 - Competitiveness and inclusive growth, and Cluster 4 - Green Deal and sustainable connectivity. At the end of her presentation, she asked whether additional political dynamics and important steps could be expected during the Slovenian Presidency, which would represent concrete progress of the Republic of Serbia and the Western Balkans in the process of accession to the European Union, and whether, in addition to economic support – through an undeniably important economic-investment plan that would ensure the socio-economic recovery of Serbia and the region, a political consensus of the member states can be expected for the opening of clusters 3 and 4 as a strong impulse and unequivocal support for the reforms conducted by the Republic of Serbia.
Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Matej Tonin, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, Juhan Lepassar, Executive Director of the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity, and Uros Svete, Director of the Information Security Administration of the Republic of Slovenia, were the keynote speakers in session II: "Cybersecurity in the EU - Strengthening the Resilience of Critical Infrastructure and Cyber Defence”. They explained that, with the development of digitalisation, cybersecurity has become one of the most important components of global security. In the EU, secure cyberspace has become a key building block of digital and green Europe. High-tech threats are becoming increasingly problematic, causing more and more damage, which is why the EU will have to continue to respond to these challenges through mechanisms and measures focusing on the following six key areas: enhancing cyber resilience and capacity; protecting critical infrastructure; fighting cybercrime; boosting cyber diplomacy; reinforcing the military aspect of cyber defence and funding research and innovation into cybersecurity. Amendments to two important directives regulating the security of the information system, in the field of cyber security, were announced, as well as the establishment of a Joint Cyber Unit.