Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe
Logo of Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe
Logo
Location of Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe
SecretariatVienna, Austria
Official languagesEnglish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish
TypeIntergovernmental organization
with no legal personality
Membership57 participating countries
11 partners for co‑operation
Leaders
Switzerland Thomas Greminger
Slovakia Miroslav Lajčák

Iceland Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir
France Harlem Désir
Italy Lamberto Zannier
Establishment
• As the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe
July 1973
30 July – 1 August 1975
21 November 1990
• Renamed OSCE
1 January 1995
Area
• Total
50,119,801 km2 (19,351,363 sq mi)
Population
• 2018 estimate
1,276,751,497[1] (3rd)
• Density
25/km2 (64.7/sq mi)
GDP (nominal)2018 estimate
• Total
US$45 trillion[2]
• Per capita
www.osce.org

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, promotion of human rights, freedom of the press, and fair elections. It employs around 3,460 people, mostly in its field operations but also in its secretariat in Vienna, Austria and its institutions. It has its origins in the 1975 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) held in Helsinki, Finland.

The OSCE is concerned with early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict rehabilitation. Its 57 participating countries are located in Europe, northern and central Asia, and North America. The participating states cover much of the land area of the Northern Hemisphere. It was created during the Cold War era as an East–West forum.[3]

History

Helmut Schmidt, Erich Honecker, Gerald Ford and Bruno Kreisky at the 1975 CSCE summit in Helsinki, Finland.

The Organization has its roots in the 1973 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). Talks had been mooted about a European security grouping since the 1950s but the Cold War prevented any substantial progress until the talks at Dipoli in Espoo began in November 1972. These talks were held at the suggestion of the Soviet Union which wished to use the talks to maintain its control over the communist countries in Eastern Europe, and President of Finland Urho Kekkonen hosted them in order to bolster his policy of neutrality. Western Europe, however, saw these talks as a way to reduce the tension in the region, furthering economic cooperation and obtaining humanitarian improvements for the populations of the Communist bloc.

The recommendations of the talks, in the form of "The Blue Book", gave the practical foundations for a three-stage conference called the "Helsinki process".[4] The CSCE opened in Helsinki on 3 July 1973 with 35 states sending representatives. Stage I only took five days to agree to follow the Blue Book. Stage II was the main working phase and was conducted in Geneva from 18 September 1973 until 21 July 1975. The result of Stage II was the Helsinki Final Act which was signed by the 35 participating states during Stage III, which took place in Finlandia Hall from 30 July – 1 August 1975. It was opened by Holy See’s diplomat Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, who was chairman of the conference.

The concepts of improving relations and implementing the act were developed over a series of follow-up meetings, with major gatherings in Belgrade (4 October 1977 – 8 March 1978), Madrid (11 November 1980 – 9 September 1983) and Vienna (4 November 1986 – 19 January 1989).

The fall of the Soviet Union required a change of role for the CSCE. The Charter of Paris for a New Europe, signed on 21 November 1990, marked the beginning of this change. With the changes capped by the renaming of the CSCE to the OSCE on 1 January 1995, in accord with the results of the conference held in Budapest, Hungary, in 1994. The OSCE now had a formal secretariat, Senior Council, Parliamentary Assembly, Conflict Prevention Centre, and Office for Free Elections (later becoming the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights).

In December 1996, the "Lisbon Declaration on a Common and Comprehensive Security Model for Europe for the Twenty-First Century" affirmed the universal and indivisible nature of security on the European continent.

In Istanbul on 19 November 1999, the OSCE ended a two-day summit by calling for a political settlement in Chechnya and adopting a Charter for European Security. According to then Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov, this summit marked a turning point in Russian perception of the OSCE, from an organization that expressed Europe's collective will, to an organization that serves as a Western tool for "forced democratization".[5]

Through its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE observes and assesses elections in its member states, in order to support fair and transparent democratic processes, in keeping with the mutual standards to which the organization is committed;[6] between 1994 and 2004 the OSCE sent teams of observers to monitor more than 150 elections, typically focusing on elections in emerging democracies.[7] In 2004, at the invitation of the United States Government, the ODIHR deployed an assessment mission, made up of participants from six OSCE member states, which observed that year's US presidential election and produced a report.[8] It was the first time that a US presidential election was the subject of OSCE monitoring, although the organization had previously monitored state-level American elections in Florida and California, in 2002 and 2003.[7] The 2004 assessment took place against the backdrop of the controversial recount effort in the 2000 US presidential election,[7] and came about largely through the initiative of 13 Democratic members of the United States House of Representatives. That group, which included Barbara Lee, of California, and Eddie Bernice Johnson, of Texas, initially addressed a request for election observers to the United Nations, in a letter to Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, but the request was declined.[6] Subsequently, the administration of President George W. Bush, through the State Department, headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell, responded to the lawmakers' concerns by inviting the OSCE election-monitoring mission.[6]

Languages

The six official languages of the OSCE are English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian.[9]

Participating states

OSCE signatories as of 2012
  signed Helsinki Final Act only
  non-signatory
  partner for cooperation
State Admission Signed the
Helsinki Final Act
Signed the
Charter of Paris
 Albania 19 June 1991 16 September 1991 17 September 1991
 Andorra 25 April 1996 10 November 1999 17 February 1998
 Armenia 30 January 1992 8 July 1992 17 April 1992
 Austria 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Azerbaijan 30 January 1992 8 July 1992 20 December 1993
 Belarus 30 January 1992 26 February 1992 8 April 1993
 Belgium 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 30 April 1992 8 July 1992  
 Bulgaria 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Canada 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Croatia 24 March 1992 8 July 1992  
 Cyprus 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Czech Republic 1 January 1993  [Note 1]  [Note 1]
 Denmark 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Estonia 10 September 1991 14 October 1991 6 December 1991
 Finland 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 France 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Georgia 24 March 1992 8 July 1992 21 January 1994
 Germany
- as  West Germany
- as  East Germany
25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Greece 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
Holy See 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Hungary 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Iceland 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Ireland 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Italy 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Kazakhstan 30 January 1992 8 July 1992 23 September 1992
 Kyrgyzstan 30 January 1992 8 July 1992 3 June 1994
 Latvia 10 September 1991 14 October 1991 6 December 1991
 Liechtenstein 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Lithuania 10 September 1991 14 October 1991 6 December 1991
 Luxembourg 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Malta 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Moldova 30 January 1992 26 February 1992 29 January 1993
 Monaco 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Mongolia 21 November 2012[Note 2]  
 Montenegro 22 June 2006 1 September 2006  
 Netherlands 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 North Macedonia[Note 3][10] 12 October 1995 8 July 1992 21 November 1990
 Norway 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Poland 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Portugal 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Romania 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Russia (as  Soviet Union) 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 San Marino 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Serbia (as  FR Yugoslavia) 10 November 2000 27 November 2000[citation needed] 27 November 2000[citation needed]
 Slovakia 1 January 1993  [Note 1]  [Note 1]
 Slovenia 24 March 1992 8 July 1992 8 March 1993
 Spain 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Sweden 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
  Switzerland 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Tajikistan 30 January 1992 26 February 1992  
 Turkey 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Turkmenistan 30 January 1992 8 July 1992  
 Ukraine 30 January 1992 26 February 1992 16 June 1992
 United Kingdom 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 United States 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Uzbekistan 30 January 1992 26 February 1992 27 October 1993
  1. ^ a b c d Czechoslovakia was an original signatory
  2. ^ Asia partner for co-operation 2004-2012.
  3. ^ Previously referred to by the OSCE as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"

Partners for co-operation