Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC) is a conference of the committees of the national parliaments of the European Union member states dealing with the European Union affairs as well as representatives of the European Parliament.
COSAC meetings usually take place in the capital of the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Within a semi-annual presidency, a meeting of chairs of the committees dealing with European affairs and COSAC plenary meeting are organised.
History of COSAC
COSAC was established in May 1989 at a meeting in Madrid, where the speakers of the parliaments of the EU member states agreed to strengthen the role of national parliaments in relation to the Community matters by bringing together their Committees on European Affairs. The first meeting of COSAC took place on 16-17 November 1989 in Paris.
COSAC was formally recognised in a Protocol on the Role of National Parliaments in the European Union of the Treaty of Amsterdam that was concluded by the Heads of State or Government in June 1997. The Protocol came into force 1 May 1999.
According to Article 10 of Protocol (No 1) on the Role of National Parliaments in the European Union of the Treaty of Lisbon, COSAC (Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs) "may submit any contribution it deems appropriate for the attention of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. The Conference shall in addition promote the exchange of information and best practice between national Parliaments and the European Parliament, including their special committees. It may also organise interparliamentary conferences on specific topics, in particular to debate matters of common foreign and security policy, including common security and defence policy. Contributions from the Conference shall not bind national Parliaments and shall not prejudge their positions."
The Treaty of Lisbon came into force on 1 December 2009.
COSAC Rules of Procedure was adopted at the XLV plenary meeting of 29-30 May 2011, in Budapest, and it has substituted the Rules of Procedure adopted in 2007.
ORGANISATION OF MEETINGS
COSAC plenary meeting takes place during every presidency, taking into consideration various parliamentary practices of member states, election periods and national holidays of member states. The datum of the next meeting is determined and published at the latest on the day of the previous meeting. At these meetings, each parliament is represented by six members from one or several committees dealing with European affairs. The European Parliament is represented by six MPs.
Meeting of chairpersons
Preliminary meeting of chairpersons of committees dealing with European affairs and a representative of the European Parliament is held ahead of every COSAC plenary meeting, in agreement with Presidential Troika. Each delegation comprises two members of the parliament.
Observers from parliaments of the EU candidate countries
The national parliaments of the EU candidate countries are invited to participate with three observers each to plenary and extraordinary COSAC meetings. Two members of each candidate country are invited to participate, as observers, in the meetings of chairpersons of committees on European affairs.