On 8-9 April, the Speaker Andreas Norlén took part in the Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments in Vienna. Topics of discussion included the EU neighbourhood policy and the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament, as well as cooperation between the national parliaments and the EU institutions.
The current Speaker Andreas Norlén participated in the annual Speakers Conference for the first time. One of the general purposes of the conference is to coordinate interparliamentary cooperation between the EU member states. Prior to the conference, the Speaker had taken the initiative to initiate an update of the guidelines for interparliamentary cooperation. This was also one of the subjects of the Speaker’s contribution during the second session, which dealt with the elections to the European Parliament and the development of cooperation between the national parliaments and the EU institutions.
The conference decided that the EU Speakers Conference will establish more standing conferences or meetings, and that the guidelines for the organisation of interparliamentary cooperation will be updated.
During the session on EU enlargement and neighbourhood policy, the Speaker Andreas Norlén spoke about the EU’s important challenge of contributing to a Europe that continues to be open, which also involves supporting a positive development in the EU’s neighbouring countries. Regarding the neighbourhood policy, the conference considered that the partnership should be based on mutual commitment to the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights, including minority rights.
According to the conclusions of the conference, the EU will focus in particular on countries that have taken a clear stand in favour of integration with the EU through special agreements, and that prioritise the membership perspective.
During the conference, the Speaker Andreas Norlén also had meetings with, among others, the President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble, the Speaker of the Portuguese Parliament Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Dame Rosie Winterton and the President of the Storting Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen.
The Speakers of the parliaments of the EU member states and the European Parliament meet annually for a conference on current issues, the role of the parliaments in EU cooperation and activities and cooperation between the parliaments. The conference takes place in the spring and is hosted by the parliament in the country that held the EU Presidency the previous autumn.