LXII COSAC, the conference of the committees of Member State parliaments dealing with EU affairs, as well as of representatives of the European Parliament, ended in Helsinki earlier today. The conference sessions held on Monday and Tuesday covered topics such as the Finnish EU Presidency, strengthening of the rule of law and citizens’ fundamental rights, as well as EU climate action.
The participants also exchanged views on topical issues based on speeches from Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Michel Barnier, Head of the Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom.
Based on the discussions, COSAC adopted the Contribution of the LXII COSAC, covering issues such as the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), fundamental rights and the rule of law, EU climate action, and the EU’s future relationship with the United Kingdom.
Regarding the MFF, COSAC hopes for significant progress at the December 2019 European Council, draws attention to ensuring, for example, that all Member States’ nominal budget targets are balanced against the expected benefits of mutually agreed investments in the future, as well as stresses the need for new mechanisms to protect the financial interests of the Union, for example, when they are jeopardised by disrespect for the rule of law. COSAC recalls that late adoption of the MFF means delayed implementation of the related programmes.
According to the COSAC Contribution, the principle of the rule of law is fundamental to the EU’s legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens. As all Member States have committed to uphold the rule of law, they all should also accept transparent and impartial monitoring and peer review of the condition of the rule of law in the Member States.
With respect to the EU climate strategy, COSAC calls upon the European Commission and the European Council to maintain the EU’s established role as a front-runner in climate policy and to step up the EU’s ambition level in this regard. According to the COSAC Contribution, the EU should raise its climate objective so that the EU can achieve carbon neutrality before 2050.
Regarding the EU’s future relationship with the UK, COSAC notes that as the transitional period following Brexit day agreed in the withdrawal agreement is very short, it is important that all parties commit to negotiate on the future relationship with the maximum of efficiency and good will. Furthermore, COSAC hopes for the closest possible future relationship between the UK and EU that is compatible with both the integrity of the Union and the interests of both parties.
The COSAC Contribution is available in English and French