From 1 to 3 December 2021, the 57 participating States in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will convene in Stockholm for the Ministerial Council. This year, Sweden, as the country holding the Chairpersonship, is hosting the annual meeting. More than 40 ministers are expected to attend. For one year now, the OSCE has been headed by a German Secretary General in the person of Helga Schmid. Foreign Minister Maas will meet her on the fringes of the Ministerial Council.
Central issues – unresolved conflicts in the OSCE area
The central issues of this year’s meeting are the numerous unresolved conflicts in the OSCE area. They include the tense situation in and around Ukraine, and between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and the conflicts in Moldova and in Georgia. With its field operations, the Special Representatives and the Conflict Prevention Centre, the OSCE has a unique toolkit for safeguarding transparency, supporting confidence building and working on solutions with the parties to the conflicts. The Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, for instance, monitors local ceasefires. It is therefore absolutely vital in assessing the situation on the ground. At the meeting in Stockholm, Foreign Minister Maas will call for these tools to be used even more intensively and effectively.
Impact of the Afghanistan crisis on the countries of Central Asia
The ministers will also discuss the impact of the Afghanistan crisis on the countries of Central Asia. One focus will be on the containment of arms smuggling, terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal migration coming from Afghanistan and affecting Central Asia. Germany is the second-largest contributor to an OSCE trust fund used to finance programmes designed to tackle precisely these challenges. In addition, Germany regularly seconds personnel to the OSCE missions in the Central Asian countries, thereby also supporting the organisation.
Germany is working to ensure a sound financial basis for the OSCE
The OSCE, as an organisation that brings Russia and North America, Europe and Central Asia around one table, requires a sound financial basis if it is to continue to be able to promote security and stability as well as human rights and democracy. The stagnation of the budget over many years has in effect led to cuts, despite an increase in the organisation’s mandates. Germany is therefore campaigning for a reform of the organisation's budget procedures.