The COSAC Chairpersons’ Meeting, the first in a series of events of the parliamentary dimension of the Slovenian Presidency, was aimed at preparing for the November COSAC plenary session and exchanging views on the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU and EU cybersecurity.
The President of the National Assembly, Igor Zorčič, addressed the meeting participants and emphasised the importance of cooperation between member state parliaments, the central representative institutions closest to European citizens. He also underscored the importance of the parliamentary dimension of the presidency, which has the ability to stimulate public interest in politics and restore citizens’ trust in policy-makers.
The Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anže Logar, described today’s meeting as a very important form of inter-institutional cooperation and presented the key priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU to the COSAC chairpersons: strengthening the resilience, recovery and strategic autonomy of the Union; the Conference on the Future of Europe; The Union of the European Way of Life, the rule of law and equal criteria for all, and a credible and secure EU, able to ensure security and stability in its neighbourhood.
Speaking about foreign policy, he especially mentioned EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, the central subject of the EU-Western Balkans Summit in October. An important issue raised by Mr Logar concerns ensuring young people in the Western Balkans can look forward to a positive future.
During the discussion, participants expressed support for the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU, especially for resilience and recovery following the pandemic, EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, migration, re-establishment of the Schengen Area, the Conference on the Future of Europe, and the rule of law in the EU. In the light of the current climate crisis, they also emphasised the importance of the EU “Fit for 55” legislative package.
During the second round-table discussion, the chairpersons discussed the challenges of cybersecurity in the EU, with an emphasis on protecting critical infrastructure and cyber defence. The keynote speakers were the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, Matej Tonin, the Executive Director of the EU Agency for Cybersecurity Juhan Lepassaar, and Director of the Information Security Administration of the Republic of Slovenia, Uroš Svete.
The participants welcomed the legislative efforts of the EU and the Slovenian Presidency aimed at strengthening cybersecurity, especially in terms of critical infrastructure. The identified key challenges include educating and raising awareness among European citizens and other stakeholders about cybersecurity, establishing the development and production of the necessary technology within EU borders, and strengthening the unity of member states in responding to cyber attacks.
The Meeting was co-chaired by the Chair of the National Assembly Committee on EU Affairs, Marko Pogačnik, and the Chair of the National Council Commission for International Relations and European Affairs, Bojan Kekec.