Participation of the PABSEC International Secretariat to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 20th Winter Meeting, 25 February 2021
Mr. Miltiadis Makrygiannis, PABSEC Deputy Secretary General, attended the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 20th Winter Meeting, which took place online on 25 February 2021.
More than 250 parliamentarians were gathered in an online format and discussed issues such as protracted conflicts, the crisis in and around Ukraine, building economic and environmental security, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on security and democracy.
At the opening joint session, OSCE PA members heard keynote addresses by President of the Austrian National Council Mr. Wolfgang Sobotka, OSCE PA President Lord Peter Bowness, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Foreign Minister of Sweden Ms. Ann Linde, and OSCE Secretary General Ms. Helga Schmid, followed by a question and answer session.
President Sobotka stressed strong commitment to multilateralism and inter-parliamentary diplomacy, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. He highlighted the importance of security of parliaments in these challenging times, and underlined the importance of working together in order to ensure greater success.
President Bowness noted that the OSCE must defend principle-based dialogue as the core of comprehensive security. He also expressed the view that all OSCE participating States strengthen their democratic institutions and live up to the commitments taken by their leaders in Helsinki and in Paris, will continue to receive OSCEPA’s assistance.
Foreign Minister Linde outlined the priorities of the Swedish OSCE Chairpersonship and highlighted the role of parliamentarians in the OSCE’s work. She underlined the participation of the parliamentarians to the election observation missions and their contribution to the role of the OSCE when it comes to democracy and the rule of law.
Secretary General Schmid, noted that parliamentarians consistently provide fresh ideas for the Organization’s work. Moreover, he called the parliamentarians to be ambitious and work toward concrete outcomes that will strengthen security for everyone.
In the general debate, moderated by OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella, members stressed the need to avoid creating new dividing lines in the OSCE area and raised issues including migration, media freedom, protracted conflicts, and deteriorating human rights standards. OSCE parliamentarians also stressed the need to recommit to the spirit of multilateralism, especially in light of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act. The resumption of armed confrontation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict last autumn was highlighted as a tragic example of what happens when protracted conflicts go unresolved.
The Winter Meeting continued with sessions of the general committees on political Affairs and security, on economic and environmental affairs and human rights.