Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

With 57 participating states in North America, Europe and Central Asia, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), headquartered in Vienna, is the world's largest regional security organisation. Its focus is on overcoming differences and building trust.

The facade of a building on which the national flags of the OSCE participating states are displayed.
The OSCE, with its 57 participating states, is an important platform for Switzerland to promote peace and security in Europe and the world. © Keystone

For Switzerland, the OSCE is an important vehicle for it to promote peace and security in Europe, in its neighbouring regions and in the world as a whole, in accordance with its foreign policy priorities. It provides Switzerland with an opportunity to discuss security policy issues and confidence-building measures with all European and Central Asian states as well as the United States, Canada and Russia.

Since the early days of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, the predecessor of the OSCE, Switzerland has been committed to building bridges in the tradition of its good offices and the promotion of dialogue. Switzerland also uses the OSCE as a platform to promote its liberal values. Specifically, Switzerland is active at three levels:

  • At the political level, Switzerland is constantly contributing ideas and its own negotiation efforts to resolve deadlocks and find compromises.
  • At the diplomatic level, Switzerland advocates OSCE-relevant issues both in Vienna and in the capitals and gives them due prominence in bilateral consultations with the OSCE participating states.
  • At the institutional level, Switzerland strengthens the OSCE's ability to act, for example through the targeted financing of projects and secondments to field missions and central institutions.
  • At the mandate level, Switzerland repeatedly makes its expertise available to solve specific problems.

Switzerland's current commitment is based on the OSCE Action Plan 2022–25, in which it identifies measures that contribute to strengthening the OSCE as a platform for dialogue in the area of European security, and highlights those areas in which Switzerland can offer added value by 2025.

Swiss OSCE Chairmanship in 2014

As part of its commitment, Switzerland has already assumed important steering functions within the OSCE on several occasions, chairing the organisation in 1996 and again in 2014. In 2014, Switzerland was able to strengthen its commitment to stability in Europe and neighbouring regions and thus implement one of its foreign policy priorities. Switzerland's leitmotif for its chairmanship was "a security community for the benefit of everyone".

During its chairmanship year, Switzerland advocated – sometimes strongly – a political solution to the armed conflict that broke out in Ukraine in 2014. Under the Swiss chairmanship, the OSCE became the most important player in international crisis management in 2014, with its participating states agreeing to launch new field missions for the first time in ten years – the monitoring mission to the two Russian border crossings of Gukovo and Donetsk and the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM). However, due to the deadlock caused by Russia, these field missions had to be cancelled in 2021 and in 2022. 

Last update 28.11.2023


Eurasia Division

Council of Europe and OSCE Section

Federal Palace West
3003 Bern


+41 58 464 69 48

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