27-28 January 2013

Dublin Castle (view map)

COSAC Chairpersons Conference, 27-28 January 2013

Topic: EU Affairs Committee Chairs discuss enhanced role for national parliaments

28 January 2013: The Chairs of the European Affairs Committees from across EU Member States met in Dublin this morning for a wide-ranging discussion on the role for national parliaments in securing stability and economic growth for the European Union.

The meeting took place in the historic surroundings of Dublin Castle under the chairmanship of Dominic Hannigan TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs. Keynote speakers included Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin TD and Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President of the European Commission with responsibility for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration.

Deputy Hannigan TD says: “A common thread through our discussions this morning was that national parliaments have an indispensable role to play in the future of the European Union, particularly in underpinning the credibility of moves towards genuine Economic and Monetary Union.

“Commissioner Šefčovič emphasised the imperative of public trust not only in the single market, but in the Europe Union itself. He argued that the EU is shifting from crisis management mode to a more proactive approach in order to restore confidence in Europe's capacity to deliver for its citizens, particularly with policy that helps reduce unemployment. We heard the Commissioner argue that national parliaments have a vital role to play in bridging the democratic deficit between Europe and its citizens, in explaining and debating the change with their constituents.”

“Earlier in the morning, Minister Howlin explained that the Presidency Programme was tightly focussed on the objectives of achieving stability, jobs and growth. He said it not only closely matched Ireland’s domestic political priorities but overlapped with the domestic political priorities in most of Member States. Contributors from the floor called for national parliaments to play a greater role in oversight of EU spending and discussed how best to safeguard democratic legitimacy in the European Semester process, an annual cycle of macro-economic, budgetary and structural policy coordination.”

Speeches from the morning are accessible below.  The meeting comes under the auspices of COSAC, which is the conference of the committees from national parliaments dealing with EU Affairs as well as representatives of the European Parliament. A principal purpose of this meeting was also to agree the agenda for the Plenary meeting of the XLIX COSAC, to be held in Dublin from 23 to 25 June. The event is the first in a series of eight meetings being hosted by the Houses of the Oireachtas during the six month Presidency. Details of all eight meetings are accessible here. The next scheduled meeting takes place on 25 Febraury. The Chairpersons of Finance Committees of EU Member States and the European Parliament will discuss “Future strategies for better integration, growth and budgetary control”.

View photos from meeting via Oireachtas flickr page. Follow the EU Affairs Committee Facebook page for updates during the Presidency.

View a recording of the meeting:


For further information please contact:

Paul Hand, P: +353 1 618 4484  M: +353 87 694 9926


Cáit Hayes, Tel: +353 1 6183883 Mob: +353 87 9190300