OSCE Parliamentary Assembly saddened by passing of former President Ilkka Kanerva

OSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva right and OSCE PA Secretary General elect Roberto Montella pass a destroyed bridge near Slovyansk 12 NovFormer President Ilkka Kanerva and Secretary General Roberto Montella pass a destroyed bridge near Slovyansk, 12 November 2015
COPENHAGEN, 16 April 2022 – Former OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva, a Finnish Member of Parliament, has passed away. He was 74.

Upon hearing the news, OSCE PA President Margareta Cederfelt and Secretary General Roberto Montella issued statements of condolences to Mr. Kanerva’s family and expressions of gratitude for his longstanding service to the Parliamentary Assembly.

“The OSCE family mourns the loss of our longtime colleague and friend, Ilkka Kanerva. He will always be remembered as strong supporter of interparliamentary dialogue, and of the role politicians can play at home and in international fora. His political skills, his knowledge and experience have been very valuable to our work and leave now a big void,” said President Cederfelt. “The dedication and the commitment Kanerva showed to the OSCE principles, also as Co-chair of the Helsinki+40 project, is admirable and I hope it will serve as an example to all of us. My deepest sympathies go to his loved ones.”

“Ilkka was an inspiration for the parliamentarians and the people of his country and the whole OSCE region, for all those who believe in the power of parliamentary diplomacy, dialogue and democracy,” said Secretary General Montella. “He was an inspiration for me as well. Without him I wouldn’t be where I am today. He was more than a colleague; he was a dear and true friend. His legacy lives on in us. My deepest condolences go to his family and friends, his colleagues, and the staff who had the opportunity to work with him. May he rest in peace.”

Ilkka Kanerva delivers opening address at the Winter Meeting in Vienna 25 Feb. 2016Former President Kanerva delivers opening address at the Winter Meeting in Vienna, 25 February 2016Kanerva served as President of the Assembly from July 2014 to July 2016. He was the first person to have served as both OSCE PA President and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in the Organization’s history. He has also served as Head of the Finnish Delegation to the OSCE PA, Vice-President of the Assembly (2013-2014), President Emeritus (2016-2020), and as Co-Chair of the OSCE PA’s Helsinki +40 Project. Kanerva attended 14 Annual Session, plus eight Autumn Meetings and 14 Winter Meetings. He served as leader of seven election observation missions and carried out numerous official visits to OSCE participating States in his different capacities in the Assembly.

First elected to his national legislature in 1975, Kanerva was the longest serving member of the Finnish Parliament. He has held a wide variety of posts in government and parliament, including Minister of Transport, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and Chair of the Parliamentary Defence Committee. 



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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