Welcome to the second session of the 31st COSAC. The draft contributions have been circulated and we will come to them later. The fifth item on the agenda is the discussion on proposals regarding the role of regional legislative assemblies within COSAC. In anticipation of this discussion today, and as directed by the Chairpersons in February, the COSAC secretariat surveyed the views of the participating parliaments on the question of whether representatives of regional assemblies of member' states should be included in the make up of parliamentary delegations.
We have examined the results of the survey and have 20 replies from 15 different parliaments. In nine of the 20 replies, it was stated that there should be some involvement of regional legislative assemblies in COSAC, either as observers or participants in the relevant national delegation. Five supported the idea of having a number of observers appointed, while four delegations suggested that it should be left to the discretion of each national parliament to decide whether it wishes to cede one of its places to a representative from a regional legislative assembly. In ten of the 11 remaining replies, the idea was rejected. Spain responded that it was not in a position to reply.
The results of the survey so far indicate that there is clearly no consensus on the best approach to this problem. A minority of members seem to be of the view that representatives of regional assemblies should be accommodated as observers. The only conclusion the Presidency can draw from the survey on this question is that as there is clearly no consensus, it is not possible at this time to amend the rules and facilitate the attendance of regional assembly members. However, as this does not solve the problem that gave rise to the discussion in the first place, I would like to propose that the working group of chairmen should reconvene under the Dutch Presidency to consider this matter further and to present a compromise proposal to the next COSAC if they can reach one, by which time there may be a complete set of responses to the questionnaire.
The first speaker is Mr. Jansson from Finland, followed by Mr. De Croo from Belgium.