LXVIII COSAC Plenary Meeting: the future of the European Union lies in total independence from Russia and in a strong strategic autonomy of the EU
Press release, 14 November 2022
On 14–15 November 2022, Marius Matijošaitis, Audronius Ažubalis, and Vytautas Gapšys, Deputy Chairs of the Seimas Committee on European Affairs, as well as Giedrius Surplys, Committee Member, took part in the Plenary Meeting of the LXVIII Conference of Parliamentary Committees For Union Affairs (COSAC) held in Prague.
Photo by the Office of the Seimas Committee on European Affairs
The sessions of the Plenary Meeting of 14 November discussed the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the implementation of the outcomes of the Conference on the Future of Europe, and the debate on the strategic autonomy of the European Union.
Marius Matijošaitis, Head of the Lithuanian delegation, stressed that Lithuania and the Czech Republic were like-minded countries in many areas of the EU agenda. He stressed that Lithuania appreciated the swift response by the Czech Republic to the current EU and international context, including the difficult security, energy and economic situation in Europe. ‘Our aim is to ensure security of supply and the free flow of gas in Europe, while pursuing the common goal of reducing gas demand. We can no longer be dependent on Russia at any level, neither in the energy nor in any other sector. By cutting all ties with Russia, we should ensure the efficient use of existing regional infrastructure and accelerate the development of strategic projects,’ said the Lithuanian representative.
In discussing the outcomes of the Conference on the Future of Europe, Mr Matijošaitis stressed the importance of focusing on solving specific problems affecting citizens, implementing the European Union Strategic Agenda and strengthening the European unity. Mr Ažubalis, Deputy Chair of the Committee, questioned the application of qualified majority voting in the EU Council. ‘Qualified majority voting can indeed result in division and frustration among Member States over certain decisions that do not benefit them in important policy areas such as defence and foreign policy, which could lead to serious strategic challenges for nation states,’ stressed Mr Ažubalis.
When referring to the outcomes of the Czech Presidency, Mr Gapšys, Deputy Chair of the Seimas Committee on European Affairs, stressed the importance of resolving the energy crisis. He said, ‘We have seen the first results, but the expectations of citizens and businesses are even higher. Therefore, on behalf of the Lithuanian delegation, I would like to emphasise that the introduction of the gas price cap should not remain on the sidelines. A fundamental solution to the high energy prices is an essential precondition to ensure that the economies of the European Union are able to ensure a stable growth in the future.’
Mr Ažubalis, Deputy Chair of the Committee, welcomed the proposal, drafted by the European Commission and adopted by the European Parliament, on the protection of Member States from economic coercion by third countries in order to break free from the ongoing dependence on China. The politician asked whether Europe was doing its utmost to develop its military and economic potential and whether Europe had proved that it could defend and protect Ukraine. Mr Ažubalis went on saying that ‘Obviously, our military industry is behind that of the US, but by providing greater economic support for Ukraine we can defeat the Kremlin and this could be an important first step towards the strategic autonomy of the EU or, perhaps, European independence. What Europe needs to do in the first place is play a stronger geopolitical role in its neighbourhood,' the Lithuanian representative stressed.
COSAC is the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union. Regular COSAC meetings enable the national Parliaments and the European Parliament to exchange information and share best practice. COSAC may submit proposals to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission.
The Czech Republic is holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU from 1 July to 31 December 2022.
Aistė Pikiotienė, Adviser, Office of the Seimas Committee on European Affairs, tel. +370 5 239 6864