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Speaker Vanhanen opened the COSAC meeting in Helsinki

Monday, 2 December
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Speaker Vanhanen opened the COSAC meeting in Helsinki

Matti Vanhanen, Speaker of the Finnish Parliament, opened COSAC, the conference of the committees of Member State parliaments dealing with EU affairs, as well as of representatives of the European Parliament, in Helsinki earlier today.

Vanhanen reminded the participants of the important role of parliaments when referring to the discussion about the conference on the future of the EU proposed by Ursula von der Leyen, the new President of the European Commission:

‘An extensive conference or convention would be in a position to draft a proposal based on comprehensive preparation, while the power and democratic legitimacy would still remain in the hands of those elected by the citizens, i.e. the European Parliament and Member State parliaments, who are responsible for overseeing government operations.’

Vanhanen would also like to see institutional issues on the agenda of the conference on the future of Europe. However, he thinks that such issues should be handled cautiously and with patience. 

According to Vanhanen, even when planning positive changes to the institutional organisation, it is necessary to consider how much time and energy the EU can allocate to the related processes without compromising the management of financial, employment, climate or other important substance matters.

‘In the eyes of the citizens, the legitimacy of the European Union is ultimately based on the content of its action, i.e. whether the EU is capable of guaranteeing internal security, well-being and stability. This is something we must strive to enhance every day. If we must, we may have to accept some imperfections in our institutional organisation if the organisation is otherwise sufficient to produce the maximum added value to the citizens.’

A live streaming of the COSAC sessions is available from parleu2019.fi, the official website of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.