Swedish parliamentarian Margareta Cederfelt elected Assembly President at OSCE PA Remote Session

Cederfelt Henriksen 060721Kari Henriksen (right) congratulates Margareta Cederfelt on her victory, 6 July 2021COPENHAGEN, 6 July 2021 – The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly today elected a new President along with several new Bureau members. Former PA Vice-President Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden) was elected Assembly President, and new Vice-Presidents include Pia Kauma (Finland), Daniela de Ridder (Germany), Askar Shakirov (Kazakhstan), Reinhold Lopatka (Austria), and Irene Charalambides (Cyprus). Also newly elected were Pere Joan Pons (Spain) and Gudrun Kugler (Austria) to serve as Chair and Rapporteur of the economic and environmental committee, and Sereine Mauborgne (France) and Johan Buser (Sweden) to serve as Chair and Rapporteur of the human rights committee.

The results were announced at the closing plenary of the OSCE PA’s 2021 Remote Session, which concluded several days of debates, reports and speeches. Also today, the Assembly heard from Swedish Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ann Linde, and adopted three items of urgency dealing with matters related to Belarus, Ukraine, and rising hate and intolerance in the OSCE region.

“As Chairperson-in-Office I have seen first-hand the important contributions made by the Parliamentary Assembly in support of the OSCE’s common commitments,” said Foreign Minister Linde. “I congratulate Margareta Cederfelt on being elected President of the OSCE PA and look forward to a close co-operation with her throughout the Swedish Chairpersonship.”

Opening today’s plenary, outgoing President Peter Lord Bowness (United Kingdom) stressed the important role of parliamentarians in giving a voice to citizens and making sure that legislation truly answers the problems it seeks to address.

“The COVID-19 crisis has called on us to remain vigilant to protect parliamentarism itself,” Bowness said. “We must channel all our political energy, including by being vocal within our national parliaments and with our governments, to support the work of the OSCE and the implementation of commitments.” He also took the opportunity of his final speech as PA President to advocate for the holding of an OSCE Summit in the near future.

Upon winning the election, Cederfelt promised that she would work as President for principles of accountability, inclusion, and respect for every country. “I believe that the OSCE as a security organization is unique,” President Cederfelt said. “The broad security perspective of the OSCE is a strength for us.”

Cederfelt emphasized that elected parliamentarians have a huge responsibility in working for a secure region with respect for human rights, democracy, and every country’s territorial integrity. She also highlighted climate change as one of her top priorities and expressed hope that the world will emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three questions of urgency were adopted by the plenary. “Addressing the Rise in Hate, Intolerance, Violence and Discrimination Across the OSCE Region,” principally sponsored by US Senator Ben Cardin, urges OSCE participating States to adopt an OSCE Anti-Discrimination, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan, to build the capacity of law enforcement to counter discrimination and support civil society efforts to tackle extremism and discrimination.

“The General Approach to Dissent In Belarus,” principally sponsored by Farah Karimi (The Netherlands), regrets the undermining of the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of the media in the country and urges authorities in Belarus to reconsider the restrictions on peaceful mass events and freedom of the media. It also calls on Belarus to release all political prisoners, engage with the opposition, and allow the holding of free and fair elections with observers from the OSCE.

“The Destabilizing Military Build-Up by the Russian Federation Near Ukraine in the Temporarily Occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, Ukraine, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov,” principally sponsored by Mykyta Poturaiev (Ukraine), expresses concern over the conduct by the Russian Federation of large-scale no-notice military exercises near the border with Ukraine in April. It urges the Russian Federation to withdraw its troops, weapons, and military equipment from Crimea and to fulfil its commitments under the 2011 Vienna Document in good faith.

The plenary also included reports by leaders of recent election observation missions, as well as Chairs of OSCE PA Ad Hoc Committees and Special Representatives. Members heard about the PA’s work on migration, counter-terrorism, Arctic issues, climate change, gender issues, human trafficking, and more.

On Monday, the OSCE PA’s Standing Committee met and heard reports by the PA’s President, Treasurer, and Secretary General. The Standing Committee meeting, like today’s plenary, was held in hybrid format, with some members participating in Vienna, and others joining via Zoom.

Last week, the PA’s three general committees met online to discuss reports offered by committee rapporteurs dealing with issues such as the social and economic repercussions of the pandemic, sustainable migration management, post-COVID multilateral diplomacy, protracted conflicts in the OSCE area, the impact of the pandemic on transnational threats, and access to health care.

The reports, along with urgency items and other documents related to the Remote Session, can be downloaded here.

Videos of the meetings are available here.

Photos are available on the Assembly’s Flickr page.

New Bureau 060721 croppedMembers of the Bureau and staff of the International Secretariat in Vienna, 6 July 2021



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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