Inter-parliamentary activities

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA)

Established in 1991 by the CSCE participating states at a conference in Madrid to implement the provisions of the 1990 Charter of Paris for a New Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly is an independent parliamentary structure, charged with assessing the realisation of OSCE goals, discussing issues raised at summits and meetings of the OSCE Ministerial Council, as well as developing mechanisms for conflict prevention, supporting democratic institutions in member countries and developing the organisation’s institutional framework.

The leading body is the Standing Committee, which regulates the assembly activity between meetings and comprises members of the Bureau, heads of national delegations and chairs of General Committees. The Parliamentary Assembly President is elected by a secret ballot for a one-year term and can be re-elected once. The President has nine Vice-Presidents, elected for a three-year term with the right to be re-elected once. The President has the right to appoint representatives at relevant levels.

The OSCE PA Bureau consists of the President, the Vice-Presidents and the Treasurer, the Officers of the three General Committees and the President Emeritus.

PA Secretary General is elected for a five-year term by the Standing Committee with two thirds of votes at the request of the Bureau. The appointment can be extended twice with the majority of the votes by the Standing Committee.

The International Secretariat is located in Copenhagen and deals with administrative issues. In February 2003, a representative office of he OSCE PA opened in Vienna. It is headed by Andreas Nothelle (Germany).

The Parliamentary Assembly convenes three times a year: there are annual session, as well as autumn and winter meetings. The annual sessions are held on a rotation basis in one of the member countries and adopt resolutions that serve as guidelines and are not mandatory for the governments of the member countries. These sessions also elect the assembly president and nine vice-presidents.

The winter meetings are held in Vienna to summarise the work of the past year and outline priorities for the following year. The autumn meetings are conferences of parliamentarians devoted to the one or two most current issues of the OSCE region. The assembly also holds seminars, conferences and interparliamentary forums on concrete issues or regions. The Mediterranean Forum usually takes place on the sidelines of the autumn sessions.

The Parliamentary Assembly’s activity includes plenary meetings, meetings of the Standing Committee and the three General Committees, whose agenda focuses on the three OSCE “baskets”: political affairs and security; the economy, science, technology and the environment; democracy, human rights and humanitarian issues.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly monitors the elections in its member countries. The Assembly cooperates with the following interparliamentary organisations: the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Joint international election observation missions are formed together with PACE, the European Parliament and the NATO PA.

The Assembly comprises 323 members from 57 countries: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia (since 1990), San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uzbekistan and the Vatican.

The Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation is represented by a delegation of 15 people (five from the Federation Council and 10 from the State Duma). State Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy has been the Head of the OSCE PA since January 2017. Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy chair of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, is his deputy.