Following its Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2014, Switzerland continues to take an active part at the helm of the organisation within the Troika as part of its commitment to maintain security and stability in the OSCE area. The crisis in and around Ukraine is one of the main priorities.
Swiss OSCE Chairmanship 2014
Switzerland continues to take an active part at the helm of the OSCE within the framework of the Troika, which comprises the current Chair, Serbia, the previous year's Chair, Switzerland, and the country that takes over the Chairmanship in the following year, Germany. The purpose of the Troika is to ensure continuity in the implementation of the OSCE's political priorities. Switzerland held the OSCE Chairmanship in 2014, for the second time since it first held the post in 1996.
OSCE Ministerial Council 2015
European security and the Ukraine crisis were the main focuses of the meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Belgrade. Other topics included new challenges such as violent extremism and the issue of migration. Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter called on the OSCE participating states to join forces to ensure a united response to these challenges.
The Minsk agreements
Of prime important for the OSCE is the need to continue its efforts to de-escalate and overcome the crisis in and around Ukraine. Switzerland is committed to finding a political solution to the conflict on the basis of the Minsk Protocol of September 2014 and Minsk package of measures of February 2015 that were negotiated between the Trilateral Contact Group and representatives of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk and People's Republic of Luhansk.
The Trilateral Contact Group comprises representatives of Ukraine and Russia. As in 2014, the year of the Swiss Chairmanship, Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini of Switzerland also works on this body as special envoy of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. Switzerland supports the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (SMM) both financially and by seconding experts. The SMM was established on 21 March 2014 under the Swiss Chairmanship and with the agreement of all 57 OSCE participating States.
Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project
The crisis in and around Ukraine has brought to the surface a more profound crisis in European security. Switzerland attaches great importance to cooperative security and restoring confidence within Europe.
For this reason, as part of its Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2014, Switzerland initiated a wide-ranging discussion of European security and the opportunities for cooperative security relations in Europe, both fundamental issues. At the OSCE Ministerial Council held in December 2014, Switzerland, in close cooperation with the current OSCE Chair, Serbia, and the country that is to take over the Chairmanship in 2016, Germany, established a 15-member panel of eminent persons from the OSCE area (Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project).
The panel is to submit proposals on consolidating the OSCE in view of the Ukraine crisis and to support the OSCE participating States as they engage in an inclusive and constructive security dialogue across the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian regions.