2009-EC-Dublin-Irish-DelegationThe OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's 2009 Economic Conference concluded on 29 May with a call from OSCE PA President Joao Soares for strong political action by participating States to address the current world financial crisis.

"Our responses must be broad in their approach, and cannot be successful if only enacted on a national level," Mr. Soares said in his concluding statement. "Growth is not a zero-sum commodity; within the OSCE PA and beyond, we must work to fight protectionism and ensure that short-sighted national patches do not replace internationally co-ordinated efforts and an open and transparent dialogue."

Pointing to a "crisis of confidence among our populations," Mr. Soares emphasized that although we are faced with a bleak picture, "this current crisis must be seen as an opportunity to make far-reaching improvements and create a sustainable financial system." In particular, sub-prime mortgage loans, off-shore tax havens and "casino economies" are indicative of a sick system and must be dealt with through decisive action.

Riccardo Migliori (Italy), Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly's First Committee, led the OSCE PA Delegation at the 2009 Annual Security Review Conference in Vienna 23-24 June.

Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, was the special guest of this year's Conference.

"The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has been actively involved in addressing the pressing security threats that affect the OSCE region today," said Mr. Migliori when addressing the Conference. "Since last August, the PA has held two special debates to discuss recent security developments, during its Toronto and Vienna meetings."

Mr. Migliori added that, "the Parliamentary Assembly will continue to drive the political dialogue among participating States in order to build trust and find peaceful solutions to the conflicts that affect our region."

The Italian Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly hosted a seminar in Rome on 25 March 2009 under the theme, The Present and Future Role of the OSCE in the European Security Architecture.

At the invitation of the Head of the Italian Delegation, Riccardo Migliori, the seminar aimed to promote an exchange of views among representatives of governments and parliaments from the OSCE participating States as well as scholars and experts.

In his address, OSCE PA President Joao Soares emphasized that the OSCE is the most appropriate forum for discussions on the European security architecture to take place. He commended the Italian delegation for organizing the timely seminar and emphasized the importance of the OSCE as a flexible organization where the majority of the resources are committed to work in the field missions. The President also reiterated the need for increased transparency in the OSCE governmental side's work. He highlighted the Assembly's role as a forum for open dialogue, and stressed the lead role that parliamentarians play in OSCE election monitoring activities.

2007-Troika-Belgrade-Battelli-DulicPresident of the Serbian Parliament Oliver Dulic and MP Roberto Battelli.The over 70 participants in the seminar on Parliamentary Oversight of the Budget, which took place in the Serbian National Parliament in Belgrade on 11 June 2007, all agreed that parliamentary co-operation must continue in order to meet important challenges in the region. Participants stressed that parliamentary oversight over the budget is crucial for transparent, accountable and truly democratic administrative structures.

The seminar, which was organized by the OSCE PA in its capacity as chair of the Parliamentary Troika of the Stability Pact on South East Europe, in cooperation with the OSCE Mission in Serbia, was addressed by a number of senior officials, including: the recently elected President of the Serbian Parliament, Oliver Dulic; the Chairman of "Working Table I - Democracy", former Serbian Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic and Bulgarian MP Yovko Yokov, representative of the Bulgarian Chairmanship of the South East Europe Co-operation Process.

EC-2007-AndorraThe OSCE Parliamentary Assembly held its fifth Economic Conference from 24 to 26 May 2007 in Andorra la Vella, Andorra. The conference focused attention on the theme of Strengthening Stability and Co-operation through International Trade.

At the invitation of the Consell General (Parliament) of Andorra, around one hundred parliamentarians from over 30 OSCE countries participated in the conference, which was inaugurated by the President of the Andorran Parliament, Joan Gabriel I Estany, and OSCE PA President Goran Lennmarker. The Prime Minister of Andorra, Albert Pintat, also addressed the participants.

A parliamentary seminar was held at the Belarusian National Library in Minsk on 15 March 2007. The seminar was a joint venture between the OSCE PA and the Belarusian National Assembly. It drew attention to a variety of views from within the European Union, including new EU Member States and neighboring countries, as well as a variety of views from within Belarus.

"The topic of our joint Seminar represents an issue of vital interest to Belarus and all its citizens. We hope this to be the first of a series of steps to be taken by Belarus to review its relationship to European standards and its own OSCE commitments" - commented Ms. Zapf, Chair of the OSCE PA Working Group on Belarus.