Could a new OSCE summit, which marks the 50th anniversary of the CSCE (Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe) in 2025, revitalize the OSCE?

The OSCE must be preserved for a structured dialog and future arms control processes. We need the OSCE for problems that do not stop at national borders, such as climate change and human trafficking. Where is the Helsinki process – civil society networking – still being practiced? Networking often fails due to the visa issue and there are only a few places left for physical meetings of civil society representatives and diplomats from all OSCE countries, such as Istanbul and Kazakhstan.

Russia is blocking the OSCE’s budget as well as the appointment of the Chairperson. The new Secretary General is due to be elected in December 2023. There are many challenges that cannot be solved without Russia’s involvement. But the OSCE was created precisely for these difficult times.

In the National Security Strategy (2023), the Federal GErman Government commits to maintaining the OSCE:

“The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) continues to provide an important platform for the further development of integrated security in Europe. We therefore promote the OSCE and its institutions as actors in the preservation of democracy and human rights. We welcome the European Political
Community as an informal forum for political exchange on peaceful cooperation on the European continent and as a clear signal against the return of imperialism to Europe.”

“The Federal Government is committed to strategic risk reduction and the promotion of predictability, including the preservation of resilient political and military communication channels in NATO-Russia relations. We remain open to mutual transparency measures, provided the conditions for this exist. We are committed to the practical instruments of arms control and military confidence building under the umbrella of the OSCE.”

(Source: https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/service/publikationen/nationale-sicherheitsstrategie-2197780)

In March 2021, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö made the proposal for a new OSCE summit in 2025, preferably in Helsinki. Finland joined NATO on April 4, 2023. Although Finland will hold the OSCE presidency in 2025, it is highly unlikely that it will push the issue further. What alternatives are there? A neutral OSCE country would be needed to invite all 57 participating states to a summit. The Vatican, which has repeatedly called for peace negotiations, would also be an option.

Europe needs a responsibly formulated security policy that is based on security for all as well as solidarity and cooperation with the rest of the world. A new CSCE summit involving Russia could be a first step. Civil society organizations can influence this situation. But the mobilization must begin immediately.

For more information see “A new OSCE in 2025” by Ulla Klötzer in the Peace Movement Magazine FRIEDENSFORUM (issue 6/2023)