Tsereteli Sobotka 26012018VIENNA, 26 January 2018 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President George Tsereteli (MP, Georgia), met today with the newly elected President of the “Austrian Nationalrat”, the Austrian Parliament, Wolfgang Sobotka, for talks that focused on challenges to the OSCE area and Austria’s contributions to the OSCE and the Parliamentary Assembly. While in Vienna Tsereteli also met with the OSCE’s Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, to discuss work in the field of media freedom issues.

After signing the guest book of the Nationalrat, Tsereteli expressed the Assembly’s gratitude to the Austrian government and parliament for its ongoing support, including through supporting the International Secretariat Liaison Office in Vienna. Contributions such as this make Austria one of the largest contributors to the Assembly in real terms, the President noted.

The sides also discussed issues related to the crisis in and around Ukraine, unresolved conflicts in the South Caucasus, humanitarian concerns, migration and terrorism, with President Tsereteli highlighting the work being done within these fields by OSCE parliamentarians.

Sobotka underlined the importance for parliaments of defending the rule of law in an environment characterized by a populist personalization of politics.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will gather for its 17th annual Winter Meeting on 22-23 February in the Hofburg Congress Center in Vienna, Austria. The meeting held every year in Vienna provides an opportunity for debate among parliamentarians on major topical issues, as well as for OSCE parliamentarians to be briefed by high-level OSCE officials.

Tsereteli Desir 25012018The members of the Austrian Delegation in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly are among the most active, as demonstrated by the fact that two Austrian Members of Parliament have previously served as President of the Assembly. Austrian parliamentarians also participate and contribute actively and continuously to election observation missions deployed by the OSCE PA.

Meeting with the OSCE’s media freedom representative, Harlem Desir, on 25 February, President Tsereteli reiterated the Parliamentary Assembly’s support for the Representative’s office. The two discussed opportunities for further co-operation and ways to strengthen the impact of the OSCE’s work in the field of media, including related to strengthening of legislation and protection of journalists.