Migliori urges trust in representative democracy

2012-Strasbourg-PACE-Conference-of-Presidents-MiglioriPresident Riccardo Migliori addresses European Conference of Presidents of Parliaments on 21 September 2012.STRASBOURG, France, 21 September 2012 – In an address to presidents of parliament from across Europe, OSCE PA President Riccardo Migliori said today that it is critical that parliamentarians, governments and international organizations work together to restore faith in representative democracy around the world.

Speaking at the European Conference of Presidents of Parliaments, organized by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) under the theme "Is representative democracy in crisis? Challenges for national parliaments," Migliori acknowledged an erosion of global confidence in government but took issue with the idea of a crisis.

"In a time of eroded trust in governments and parliaments the world over," he said, "the work we do together to restore faith in democratic institutions is as critical as ever. But I reject the notion that representative democracy is in crisis."

He pointed to evidence of democracy in action as indicated by "crowds of demonstrators, even in places of repression, to know people yearn for a responsive government and prosperous nations massive movements online to know people everywhere seek real democracy."

Elected representatives have a special responsibility to respond to these concerns, he said, and to "always remain the voice of those we represent." It is up to parliamentarians to "hold our own governments to account to always keep the interests of our citizens first and foremost above the interests of any bureaucracy."

Migliori had particular praise for the co-operation that exists between the OSCE PA and PACE, noting that PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon participated in the OSCE PA's Annual Session in July.

"The OSCE and the Council of Europe need to continue working together to ensure democracy, the rule of law and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in all our countries so those who have not had that feeling yet will experience it in their lifetimes," Migliori said.

This co-operation is especially important in order "to support the youngest of democracies still coming into their own throughout the world," he added.

The Conference of Presidents of Parliaments is composed of Speakers and Presidents of the Parliaments of the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe, international parliamentary assemblies and parliaments with observer status at PACE. It was Migliori's first time addressing the body as president of the OSCE PA.



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