Ministerial declaration on cooperation between Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein (D‑A‑CH‑LI) on security policy issues with an OSCE focus

16.08.2015 - Press release

Security and cooperation in Europe affects us all. Forty years after the signing of the Helsinki Final Act we can see how valuable the joint pledge to cooperate on security issues was and remains for our countries. The principles of Helsinki have brought our countries stability and security. Today, Europe faces serious challenges posed by the conflict that has erupted in Ukraine. In view of the upcoming OSCE chairs due to be held by Germany in 2016 and Austria in 2017, we have agreed to coordinate our OSCE engagement within the D‑A‑CH‑LI format, with the aim of strengthening all three dimensions of the OSCE. This also involves maintaining efforts to ensure that the obligations agreed on by all participating states are actually implemented, particularly with regard to the human dimension. At the same time we want to explore and develop the following selected subject areas:

1. Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are heavily involved in the OSCE’s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine and are jointly supporting the Special Monitoring Mission, the Trilateral Contact Group and its four working groups. In future we will continue to cooperate closely on questions concerning security and political decentralisation, for example, as well as on humanitarian and economic issues.

2. The Ukraine crisis has revealed very clearly the urgent need to strengthen the OSCE’s instruments in the conflict cycle. The OSCE needs more effective early‑warning and conflict prevention tools in order to respond to tensions at an early stage, strong mediation capabilities to resolve conflicts through diplomatic channels and skills for reconciliation and resolution in the wake of conflicts. Bolstering the OSCE’s ability to act in conflict situations also involves addressing the issue of its capacity to lead integrated peace missions with military elements. The German‑speaking countries therefore want to cooperate more closely to strengthen the tools the OSCE has at its disposal and its ability to act.

3. Forty years after the signing of the Helsinki Final Act, European security is having to navigate turbulent waters. The Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project, established by the OSCE Troika in December 2014, will present its final report this December, which is due to contain initial proposals on how to overcome the crisis facing European security. Building on this we intend to continue the discussion on the future of European security within the OSCE.

4. Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland also enjoy close economic ties – as they do with the whole of the OSCE area. We profit from these close reciprocal relations and the resulting mutual trust they engender. We want to work together to enable other societies and countries to benefit from the advantages of economic ties by establishing sustainable connectivity throughout the entire OSCE area.

We are convinced that the OSCE can play a central role in promoting security in Europe. We have therefore given the OSCE offices in our four countries the task of cooperating closely on pursuing initiatives to strengthen the OSCE.

Neuchâtel, 16 August 2015

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