All Articles containing the tag: SERBIAN OSCE CHAIRMANSHIP

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Security and Human Rights Monitor


The 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council in Belgrade: An Anniversary without Celebration
Photo: MFA Serbia
17 December 2015 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

The 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council in Belgrade: An Anniversary without Celebration

On 3 and 4 December 2015, the yearly OSCE Ministerial Council (MC) meeting took place in Belgrade, Serbia. The MC meeting, which is attended by foreign ministers or their representatives of the 57 OSCE participating States, provides an opportunity to discuss the Organization's yearly achievements and gives overall guidance and impetus for future work. The MC is mandated to take decisions on any topic relevant to the work of the OSCE. This year's meeting in Belgrade was attended by 42 foreign ministers. The meeting was characterized by entrenched positions and it illustrated the distrust and deep divide among participating States. The Belgrade MC adopted only 5 declarations, among them on combating violent extremism and radicalization and on combating illicit drug trafficking. The fact that states were able to create consensus only on such a small number of declarations is due to the divergent views participating States hold on the root causes of the Ukraine conflict. The deep divide that this conflict has created among participating States of the OSCE had a negative influence on negotiations. In addition, a number of bilateral conflicts between states negatively influenced and overshadowed the negotiation process. In fact, a small number of states allowed their differences over other conflicts take a direct influence on the OSCE negotiation process. 

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In Switzerland’s Shadow: Summing up Serbia's 2015 OSCE Chairmanship
Photo: MFA Serbia
11 December 2015 - Christian Nünlist* - 0

In Switzerland’s Shadow: Summing up Serbia's 2015 OSCE Chairmanship

The OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, held in Belgrade from 3 to 4 December 2015, was the final highlight of the Serbian OSCE Chairmanship of 2015. With the fading Serbian OSCE presidency, the direct co-responsibility of Swiss diplomacy for the OSCE ends as well. In this blog entry, Christian Nünlist from the Center for Security Studies at the ETH Zurich argues that Serbia deliberately decided against taking courageous political steps, and rather concentrated on maintaining the status quo of OSCE activities that Switzerland had introduced in 2014.

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“Soldiering Through”: A Preliminary Assessment of Serbia’s OSCE Chairmanship
Photo: OSCE/Jonathan Perfect
2 December 2015 - Marko Savković* - 0

“Soldiering Through”: A Preliminary Assessment of Serbia’s OSCE Chairmanship

When in December 2011 Serbia – together with Switzerland – put forward its candidacy for the OSCE Chairmanship, it was seeking wider international affirmation and influence. Belgrade wanted to prove itself as capable of sustaining a serious, committed service to European security, and also hoped to bolster its chances for EU membership. The fact that 2015 presented an important milestone – 40 years since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act – was not without significance.

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The Upcoming OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Belgrade: No Reason to Celebrate
Photo: adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
30 November 2015 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

The Upcoming OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Belgrade: No Reason to Celebrate

The 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council (MC) will meet on 3 and 4 December in Belgrade, Serbia. The MC meeting, which takes place once a year in the country holding the OSCE Chairmanship, is attended by foreign ministers or their representatives from the 57 OSCE participating States as well as from the 11 Partners for Co-operation. The Belgrade MC meeting was originally supposed to be a significant meeting at which OSCE participating States had hoped to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the signing of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act with the successful conclusion of the so-called Helsinki+40 process and the adoption of a landmark OSCE document. Yet, OSCE states don't have much reason to celebrate in Belgrade, writes Stephanie Liechtenstein.

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Europe at a crossroads: How the OSCE can help support the current refugee crisis
Photo: Stephanie Liechtenstein. Refugees collecting clothes at Vienna's train station
9 September 2015 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

Europe at a crossroads: How the OSCE can help support the current refugee crisis

The current migration and refugee crisis is the biggest such crisis since the end of the Second World War. According to UNHCR, more than 300,000 people – mostly from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and Libya - have crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe so far this year. An estimated 2,600 have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of the year. Those who survive, arrive on the shores of Italy or Greece. An increasing number of refugees and migrants also arrive via the western Balkans through Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary, hoping to make it eventually to Austria, Germany or Sweden. They flee war, conflict or persecution in Africa or the Middle East. In the course of this summer, it became clear that the current crisis signifies a humanitarian emergency, which requires leadership, based on humanitarian values and solidarity among EU member states. However, unfortunately the truth is that EU member states are divided over the issue and are struggling to find a common solution. Germany and France support mandatory quotas while Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia vehemently oppose this. So, if the EU is currently overwhelmed with the refugee crisis, what could the OSCE do? Here are six suggestions that the OSCE could consider.

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Online Debate on How to Reinvigorate Euro-Atlantic/Eurasian Security: Input to the Final Report of the OSCE Panel of Eminent Persons
Photo: MSC/Mueller
27 May 2015 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 2

Online Debate on How to Reinvigorate Euro-Atlantic/Eurasian Security: Input to the Final Report of the OSCE Panel of Eminent Persons

At the 2014 OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Basel, the then Swiss OSCE Chairmanship - in close cooperation with the incoming Serbian and German Chairs - launched a Panel of Eminent Persons. This Panel was mandated to elaborate recommendations on how to reconsolidate European security as a 'common project' in view of the crisis in and around Ukraine and the crisis of European security in general. The original aim of the Swiss Chairmanship was to launch the Panel by consensus of the 57 OSCE participating States. Yet, despite broad support from participating States, a group of states had reservations and doubts about the Panel's usefulness.

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