Assembly President Kauma’s first address to OSCE ambassadors focuses on Ukraine and OSCE institutional challenges

070923 PK addresses PCOSCE PA President Pia Kauma, seated next to Secretary General Roberto Montella, addresses OSCE Permanent Council, 7 September 2023 (Photo: OSCE/Micky Kroell)VIENNA, 7 September 2023 – In her first address to the OSCE Permanent Council as OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President, Finnish parliamentarian Pia Kauma today laid out her priorities for the coming year. Emphasizing how Russia’s ongoing war is primarily an attack on the people and sovereignty of Ukraine, she noted that it has also poisoned diplomatic and political contacts, deeply impacting the OSCE as an organization.

The Assembly’s Vancouver Declaration, adopted in July by more than 225 members of parliament from 49 countries, for the first time contains a fourth chapter focusing on the institutional crises facing the OSCE, Kauma pointed out. “We took this unprecedented step because, as supporters of the OSCE, we are very concerned with the diminished capacity of the organization to deliver on its promise,” the President said. “As our Vancouver Declaration states, ‘the OSCE is facing an existential crisis, exacerbated by the politicized withholding of financial resources and a systematic misuse of the consensus rule.’”

Recent developments such as the blocking of the OSCE budget, failing to reach agreement on a Chair for next year, and limiting the role of the field operations will only diminish our common security, Kauma said, underlining that “we need you and your governments to heed this urgent message to maintain the OSCE fully operational.” This is more important than ever, she stressed, with the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Kauma noted that the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine constitutes a clear, gross and uncorrected violation of Helsinki principles. “Our Vancouver Declaration calls for continued political, financial, humanitarian and military support to Ukraine for its self-defence,” she said. The OSCE PA, recognizing the need to be responsive to the needs of parliamentary colleagues in Kyiv, also decided in Vancouver to establish a Parliamentary Support Team focused on Ukraine, Kauma noted.

While in Vienna, President Kauma is holding a number of bilateral meetings with Permanent Council ambassadors and other OSCE officials. She has engaged with members of the OSCE’s governmental side on priority topics including the difficult institutional state of the OSCE, with no agreement on the Chairpersonship 2024 or on Heads of Institutions, and discussed efforts being made to overcome the current impasse. She assured her interlocutors of the PA’s political support for bold approaches to advocate for improving the OSCE process.

Earlier this week, President Kauma was in Tetovo to participate and contribute to the OSCE Chairpersonship’s “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Conference.”

In her speech in Tetovo, Kauma said that advocating for gender equality has always been one of the main priorities of the OSCE PA. “I strongly believe that, while actively working with OSCE participating States and their parliaments, we ought to lead by example,” she stated. In this regard, Kauma highlighted measures taken both by the OSCE PA and the parliament of Finland to ensure greater gender equality in public life.

To watch a video of President Kauma’s address in Tetovo, please click here.

Video of President Kauma’s remarks at the Permanent Council in Vienna is available here.

For a PDF version of her remarks at the Permanent Council, please click here.



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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