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11 July 2016
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Lajčák on the role of national parliaments in reinforcing the EU

Bratislava (11 July) – The ambitions of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union were introduced today by Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajčák to the chairmen of Parliamentary Committees for EU Affairs from the member and partner countries at their meeting at the National Council (Parliament) of the Slovak Republic in Bratislava.

“Inter-parliamentary cooperation represents a key part in building a more transparent and responsible European Union. It increases its legitimacy and decreases democratic deficits,” stated Minister Lajčák before dozens of MPs from throughout Europe. 
 
The Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC) is one of the main events the Parliament of the EU country organizes during its Presidency. In the case of Bratislava, this has been one of the first major Slovak Presidency events so far and the first COSAC in Slovakia ever.
 
“Slovakia has overtaken the reins of the Presidency of the Council of the EU at a time when enthusiasm for the Union membership is giving way to weariness from enlargement and euro skepticism.  We are experiencing an increase of fragmentation and individual approaches instead of unity and a joint approach. Radicalism and extremism, with their simplified solutions for complex problems, put pressure on standard political parties,” warned Minister Lajčák. He said the formidable and unprecedented challenge for our Presidency has been abetted by Britain´s decision to leave the EU.
 
“All this are serious issues but we must keep calm and act in unison. Not only Brexit but all the current crises remind us that we cannot take the EU and its advantages for granted," he stressed. Then he introduced the guests to the philosophy of the Slovak Presidency, which Slovakia would like to carry out pragmatically and with the focus on European unity and the citizens´ needs. He also detailed four priority areas the Slovak Republic would like to promote during its six-month period at the head of the Council of the EU.
 
“I would like to assure you that when promoting our priorities, we will be a sincere and impartial intermediary. In doing so, I also hope for the support of the national parliaments.  Because only in close cooperation with representatives of the legislative bodies can we achieve our common goal – a better European Union,” said Minister Lajčák.
 
The Presidency COSAC in Bratislava hosts chairmen of Parliamentary Committees for EU Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union, European Parliament MPs, representatives of the European institutions (European Commission, Council of the European Union, COSAC Secretariat), representatives of the parliaments from the candidate countries and other partner states.

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