OSCE Steering Committee: Handover from Switzerland to Serbia and in 2016 to Germany

Saturday, December 6, 2014

At the conclusion of its term as chair of the OSCE, Switzerland received a great deal of praise, also for a new initiative to make a modest reform to the organization. In 2015, Serbia will be faced with a delicate situation, notably the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

On December 4-5, 2014 the foreign ministers and diplomats of the 57 member states attended the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Basel. Despite all their differences, all of the participants committed to implementing the Minsk Protocol which was concluded at the start of September, as the OSCE Chairman and President of the Swiss Confederation Didier Burkhalter noted at the end of the day.

“We have to act at short notice to prevent renewed escalation,” he said speaking in front of journalists. He went on to add that there is also broad consensus that the organization has to be strengthened. “The OSCE needs more continuity and resources.”

For this reason, he went on to say that it was an extraordinary decision to work together closely with Serbia, the country which is assuming the chairmanship in 2015. This is also the path Germany and Austria wanted to take; on Friday both countries were voted for the chairmanship in 2016 and 2017.

The Ministerial Council meeting in Basel was the highlight of Switzerland’s OSCE chairmanship. Switzerland received a great deal of praise in the plenary debate for its work during its term.

Even after the end of its chairmanship, Switzerland is endeavored to find a solution to the conflict in Ukraine. Bern is going to pledge another two million francs for the OSCE Monitoring Mission in Eastern Ukraine.

Switzerland received much praise and support for a new initiative: Burkhalter announced that in collaboration with Serbia and Germany a committee of experts is going to be established.

For those visitors to the website who understand Swiss German, we recommend the insightful, half-hour program “Tagesgespräch“ on December 7, 2014 on Swiss Radio SRF. Ambassador Heidi Grau, Head of the Task Force OSCE Chair, provides exciting details in an interview with Susanne Brunner about the past OSCE year. Looking ahead, she also explains the role of Switzerland in the OSCE Troika (Switzerland-Serbia -Germany) for 2015 and 2016.

You can listen to the program online at: http://m.srf.ch/sendungen/tagesgespraech/die-osze-ist-klar-gestaerkt-worden