OSCE: EU Statement in Response to the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Permanent Council No. 635

14 November 2006

EU Statement in Response to the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

The European Union wishes to congratulate Mr. Göran Lennmarker on his election as the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and warmly welcomes him to the Permanent Council.

The European Union is pleased with the long-standing cooperation between the Parliamentary Assembly and the governmental OSCE structures. The EU would like to express its appreciation for the active role of the Parliamentary Assembly in raising the visibility of the OSCE.

The EU has carefully studied the Declaration of the Parliamentary Assembly on "Strengthening Human Security in the OSCE Region" and has taken due note of the resolutions adopted at the 15th Annual Session in Brussels in July 2006. 

The European Union appreciates the work of the Parliamentary Assembly in supporting and strengthening the national parliaments in expressing the will of the people and promoting genuine democracy.

Free and fair elections are fundamental for democracy.  ODIHR has developed an election observation methodology which is widely regarded as impartial, objective and effective and is held in high esteem in particular by the European Union. The EU appreciates the participation of the members of the Parliamentary Assembly in election observation missions together with long-term and short-term observers of ODIHR. We encourage the Parliamentary Assembly and ODIHR to further develop their cooperation on the basis of the 1997 agreement.

The OSCE has an important role in combating all forms of human trafficking. The Ljubljana Ministerial Council endorsed an additional commitment to address the special needs of child victims of trafficking. The EU is pleased that the Parliamentary Assembly has also paid attention to this important issue and is considering how to combat trafficking and the exploitation of children in pornography. The EU supports the proposal of the Belgian Chairmanship, co-sponsored by France and the United States, to adopt a ministerial decision on combating the sexual exploitation of children.

The EU is also pleased to note that the Parliamentary Assembly has adopted a resolution on illicit air transport of small arms and light weapons, which might lead to a Ministerial Decision in Brussels.

The EU appreciates the contribution of the Parliamentarians to the promotion of tolerance and non-discrimination and the related discussion on freedom of expression and respect for religious beliefs. We are convinced that these efforts will be taken into account by the national Parliaments responsible for legislation as well as by the OSCE structures.

The EU looks forward to further fruitful cooperation with the Parliamentary Assembly and with its new President Mr. Lennmarker and wishes him a successful term of office.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia as well as the EFTA country Iceland align themselves with this statement.

* Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process