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Press Office

Athens, 14 January 2022

Meeting of Chairpersons of Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of EU (COSAC)

On Friday 14 January the Meeting of the Chairpersons of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of the Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC) took place under the French Presidency. The Hellenic Parliament was represented by the 1st Vice-President and Chairman of the European Affairs Committee Nikitas Kaklamanis and the Vice-Chairman Dimitris Kairidis.

During the first session, the priorities of the French Presidency of the EU Council were presented by Clément Beaune, Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, responsible for European Affairs.

Mr Kaklamanis commenting on the priorities of the French Presidency, welcomed the emphasis on European coordination and European solidarity, noting that the challenges of our time – such as addressing the pandemic and the migrant issue – can only be dealt with at EU level. Regarding the issue of strengthening European Democracy, he recognised that the Conference on the Future of Europe has been an ambitious idea that sought to engage European citizens in shaping European policies and restoring their trust towards the EU, expressed, however, reservations regarding the way it has been conducted, pointing out the side-lining of national parliamentarians and the ineffective so far functioning of the Conference’s Plenary, in coordination with the objective difficulties due to the pandemic. Finally, he expressed interest regarding the proposal to establish a common European constituency, noting the specific rules will need to ensure democratic proportionality, especially for small and medium-sized stated.

The COSAC Chairpersons Meeting closed with a debate on the future of the single currency, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the euro into European economies as the single currency and a keynote speech by the President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde.

In his statement, Mr Kairidis asked for the assessments of the President of the ECB regarding the growth prospects of the eurozone and particularly the countries of the South, such as Greece, which had deviated from the European average during the previous decade, but also regarding the performance of the eurozone overall in dealing with “anaemic growth”, something that Mrs Lagarde had criticised in the past as Head of the IMF. He also asked for her view on inflation and interest rates in 2022 and the ECB’s position on strengthening the fiscal component of the eurozone and, more specifically, transforming the Recovery Fund into a more permanent settlement.

Mrs Lagarde noted that the common European response to the pandemic crisis demonstrated what the EU could achieve when working together. She expressed the conviction that Europe can come stronger out of this crisis, with a solid foundation on which to build a sustainable future, focusing on three axes: stability, increasing supply and strategic autonomy.

Mrs Lagarde, recognising citizens’ concern regarding the rise in prices, repeated the ECB firm commitment to price stability and measures to meet the 2% inflation target in the medium term. Lastly, she noted that the exceptions that were applied during the pandemic cannot be maintained forever, but will need to be replaced. 


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