Monday, 17 May 2021

Greece in OSCE

OSCE is an Organization of 57 participating States, covering the geographical area from Vancouver to Vladivostok and based in Vienna. The Organization is inspired by the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and constitutes a forum for political dialogue on issues related to three dimensions of international security:
Ι. Politicol-military
II. Economic-environmental
III. Human

OSCE was established in 1995 following a series of meetings in Geneva and Helsinki. During the 1970s, the recession process in the relations between NATO and the Warsaw Pact led to the signing of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975 and, thus, to the creation of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). The political climate prevailing in international relations after the collapse of Eastern European regimes and the creation of new independent states that came from the dissolution of the then Soviet Union, led to the transformation of the Conference into the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – OSCE.

Greece held a successful Chairmanship of the Organization in 2009. Guided by the OSCE's fundamental principles, Greece worked consistently as an honest broker in order to create the Corfu Process, which was named after the Informal Meeting of OSCE Ministers of Foreign Affairs, in Corfu in June 2009. The Corfu Process was a multilateral and comprehensive effort to strengthen dialogue between participating States on all the issues of the European security architecture. The Process laid the foundations for a renewed and coherent approach to the concept of indivisible and cooperative security in Europe, on the basis of the OSCE Principles and Commitments. It has also been a reference point for the Greek OSCE Chairmanship. At the 17th OSCE Ministerial Meeting in Athens, due to the Greek efforts, a total of 21 Declarations and Decisions were adopted, representing the highest number ever adopted by an OSCE Ministerial Council. During the Meeting, Australia was granted the status of Asian partner.

The crisis in Ukraine has been on the OSCE's agenda for the last three years. The OSCE is the main dialogue forum between the parties involved. Greece supports the efforts undertaken to establish and strengthen the ceasefire in Ukraine, actively participating in the Special Observation Mission in Ukraine (SMM) and the Observer Mission (OM) at the Russian checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk, with specialized and experienced observes and contributing at the budget of the Missions.

Within the framework of the Politico-military Dimension, one of the OSCE's key successes was the promotion of a wider regulatory framework for military Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSMBs) to enhance transparency and predictability. The pillars of this framework are the CFE Treaty, the Open Skies Treaty and the Vienna Document. Greece supports the efforts made to launch a broader dialogue, within the framework of the OSCE, for their modernization.

Greece supports dialogue and cooperation in order to address Transnational Threats, such as terrorism, cyber-security, human trafficking, arm trafficking and drug trafficking, in the spirit of solidarity and assistance, in a coherent and balanced manner, in all three security dimensions of the Organization.

The OSCE is also interested in promoting dialogue and finding ways to face the current crisis caused by the increased refugee and migratory flows to Europe. In this context, the OSCE Secretary General, Ambassador Lamberto Zannier, visited Athens on 10.5.2016 and participated in a joint ELIAMEP - OSCE meeting on “Immigration, Refugees and European Security: Promoting cooperation, building alliances”. On the sidelines of the meeting, Ambassador Zannier met with the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Xydakis. Greece actively participates in the ad hoc Committee on Immigration and Refugees of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and also supports dialogue and cooperation with the OSCE Mediterranean Partners on issues related to transnational threats.

The OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension focuses on preventing and combating corruption, enhancing good governance, promoting dialogue on environmental and energy security. Greece held the chairmanship of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Committee in 2012, under the Irish OSCE Chairmanship, and contributed successfully to the adoption of a Ministerial Decision on Good Governance and the Fight Against Corruption. Greece chaired the Committee again from 1.7.2015 to 31.7.2016.

Electoral observation constitutes one of the priority activities of the Human Dimension, with ODIHR being the main implementation institution. Greek observers participate in election observation missions by both ODHIR and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

The Parliaments of the OSCE participating States are represented in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization. During the period 2010-2012, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE was MP Petros Efthymiou. The Greek delegation to the PA consists of 6 regular and 4 alternate members.

Greece's main goal in the OSCE is the strengthening of the European security dialogue in all three dimensions of the Organization, in a balanced way, to further enhance trust among the participating States and to build a security community in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian area.