At the invitation of the Polish chair of the OSCE, FDFA State Secretary Livia Leu is participating in the organisation’s 29th Ministerial Council meeting, which opened in Łódź on Thursday December 1, 2022. The meeting will serve as a critical platform for high-level representatives to discuss the current challenges to the European security architecture, particularly against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine.
Switzerland has always considered the OSCE a fundamental pillar of European security. In recent years, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has seen a steady erosion of its room for manoeuvre, in particular because of a crisis of confidence among its participating states. Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine has further aggravated existing political deadlocks within the organisation, hindering efforts to find a common solution. Despite these challenges, the OSCE remains relevant. In its address to the Ministerial Council meeting, Switzerland reaffirmed its support for the OSCE as an essential instrument for preventing and resolving conflicts in Europe.
Switzerland has always contributed to it through its support for the search for compromise. “Switzerland is confident that the OSCE will continue to play a pivotal role as a regional security actor and to provide a valuable platform for dialogue,” said Leu in Łódź. The OSCE is also a platform for inclusive dialogue. It is the only regional security organisation that brings together East and West. Switzerland will continue to work to ensure that the OSCE continues to play a leading role in crisis management in Europe over the long term.
Adjusted implementation of Swiss action plan for the OSCE Switzerland called on the participating states to continue seeking common creative solutions despite the challenges that the OSCE is currently facing. In recent months, for example, innovative approaches have been taken to strengthen the organisation’s capacity to act. Extra-budgetary funding made available by various participating states was necessary to resolve a number of deadlocks.
“To ensure the OSCE’s future role, we must maintain and indeed strengthen its capacity to act and preserve its inclusive character,” said Leu. Switzerland launched an action plan for the OSCE in January 2022. The plan remains relevant and has been adapted to reflect the new situation that has prevailed within the OSCE since the start of the war in Ukraine. Switzerland intends to continue to work to preserve and build on the gains the OSCE has achieved to date. These gains have lost none of their validity – quite the contrary. In recent months, the OSCE has used the instruments at its disposal to respond to the war in Ukraine. It has, for example, deployed teams of experts on fact-finding missions to investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
Switzerland welcomes the launch of the new OSCE Support Programme for Ukraine, which allows the organisation to maintain a presence in the country.
North Macedonia to take over OSCE chairmanship in 2023
The Ministerial Council meeting brings to a close Poland’s chairmanship of the OSCE, which began at the beginning of 2022. North Macedonia, represented in Łódź by its minister of foreign affairs, Bujar Osmani, will chair the OSCE in 2023.