BAKU, 2 July 2014 – Ilkka Kanerva, the former Foreign Minister of Finland and former Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, was elected President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on the final day of its 2014 Annual Session in Baku.
“It is my wish and personal ambition to recall the spirit of Helsinki,” said Kanerva, referring to the OSCE’s founding document, the Helsinki Final Act of 1975.
“And above all, it is our responsibility to turn words into concrete action,” he added, urging parliamentarians to redouble their efforts toward fostering comprehensive human security ahead of the 40th anniversary of the Final Act next year.
Kanerva, who also currently heads Finland’s Delegations to both the OSCE and NATO Parliamentary Assemblies, is longest standing member of his national Parliament. He has served as a Vice-President of the OSCE PA since 2013.
Kanerva is also a co-leader of the OSCE PA’s Helsinki +40 project, an initiative designed to evaluate the OSCE's past and chart concrete lines of action for the future. The project will consist of seminars at top think-tanks in Russia, the United States and Europe before culminating in a final colloquium in the Finnish capital on the sidelines of the OSCE PA’s 2015 Annual Session.
In his acceptance address, Kanerva also urged OSCE parliamentarians to maximize the capacity of dialogue in addressing a rapidly changing security environment.
He pledged to push for increased transparency in the OSCE and to better include all Delegations in the work of the Assembly, in particular smaller participating States.
Kanerva thanked his predecessor, Ranko Krivokapic of Montenegro, for his hard work and devotion to the Assembly.
He will serve for a term of one year, with the possibility of re-election to a second term.
Three open OSCE PA Vice-President posts were also filled during the Annual Session. Kent Harstedt, the Deputy Head of Sweden’s Delegation to the OSCE PA, and Christine Muttonen, the Deputy Head of Austria’s Delegation to the OSCE PA, were both elected. Emin Onen, the Head of Turkey’s Delegation to the OSCE PA, was re-elected Vice-President.
OSCE PA Vice-Presidents whose terms did not expire this year continue their work.
Vice-President Doris Barnett (MP, Germany) met on 1 July with the Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament, Ogtay Asadov. The two agreed that a political solution must be found not only to the conflict in Ukraine, but also to the territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. They discussed in particular the mediating role which could be played at the parliamentary level.
The leadership of the OSCE PA’s three General Committees was also chosen in Baku.
Asa Lindestam (MP, Sweden) was elected Chair of the Committee on Political Affairs and Security, while Azay Guliyev (MP, Azerbaijan) and Pia Kauma (MP, Finland) were reappointed Vice-Chair and Rapporteur, respectively.
Roza Aknazarova (MP, Kyrgyzstan) and Nilza Sena (MP, Portugal) retained their respective posts as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, while Marietta Tidei (MP, Italy) was chosen Rapporteur.
There were no changes in the leadership of the Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, as Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal) retained her post as Chair, Sevki Kulkuloglu (MP, Turkey) retained his post as Vice-Chair and Gordana Comic (MP, Serbia) retained her post as Rapporteur.
All three OSCE PA General Committees are now headed by women and seven of nine committee positions are filled by women.