Foreign Minister Baerbock prior to her departure for Skopje

29.11.2023 - Press release

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock issued the following statement today (29 November) prior to her departure for Skopje:

From Los Angeles to Almaty, from Svalbard to Istanbul, the OSCE is an anchor for security and cooperation for 1.3 billion people in 57 participating states. Since its founding, it has been firmly moored to its central pillars of dialogue and joint commitment; it represents a unique forum where a wide range of countries, big and small, closely allied and neutral, sit together at one table.

When the OSCE Mission to Moldova organises the safe removal of tonnes of toxic waste in close cooperation with the Moldovan and Transnistrian communities, this creates trust in a place where trust is rare. When the OSCE trains law enforcement officials in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia on how to appropriately handle cases of violence against women and girls, it helps to fight gender-specific violence. This unique organisation thus has a very tangible effect on people’s lives.

This goes to show that we need the OSCE. Putin has been trying for more than 650 days to detach this anchor of cooperative security from its foundations. Despite this powerful headwind, we have been able to preserve the OSCE as a key component of our security architecture in Europe. Fifty-five participating states have taken a clear stance in favour of maintaining the OSCE, on the side of the law, on the side of peace and security. We have put our heads together and through pragmatic efforts have managed to save a great many projects that would otherwise have been wound down due to the lack of a regular OSCE budget. These rescue efforts were supported by special contributions not least from Germany and from friends such as Japan. All of this is only possible with enormous effort and conviction. I am glad to know that in Helga Schmid we have such an experienced diplomat and strategist at the helm of the OSCE.

If the OSCE is to plot a course that brings people security, then we must also give it the equipment and the navigators to do so, so that it can remain somewhat capable of action and continue onwards – even in fierce winds. This is what I have been urgently advocating in recent weeks, and it is why I am travelling to Skopje, too. I firmly believe that every effort to preserve the OSCE is worthwhile.


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