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Foreign Minister Maas on Helga Schmid’s candidacy as Secretary General of the OSCE

16.09.2020 - Press release

The Federal Cabinet decided today (16 September) to appoint Ms Helga Maria Schmid, currently Secretary General of the European External Action Service, as Germany’s candidate for the office of Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (16 September) on Helga Schmid’s candidacy for the post of Secretary General of the OSCE

In the view of the Federal Government, Helga Schmid is a most suitable candidate for the post of Secretary General of the OSCE. With her many years of leadership experience, her outstanding negotiating skills and her active role in the field of international crisis prevention, she has shaped multilateral action in Europe – and beyond – for many years. 

The Federal Government firmly believes that a leader such as Helga Schmid would be a great asset to both the OSCE and to pan-European cooperation. Security cooperation in the Euro-Atlantic area, especially with a view to preventing further crises, depends on the ability to achieve compromises, balance interests and engage in dialogue. This is particularly true of the OSCE. With Ms Schmid’s candidacy, the Federal Government is underscoring the importance of the OSCE for German foreign policy.

Background information: 

As the world’s largest regional security organisation, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is committed to stability, peace and democracy. It comprises 57 participating States from North America, Europe and Central Asia. 

The OSCE’s headquarters and Secretariat are based in Vienna. In addition to the Secretariat, the organisation comprises three independent institutions: the High Commissioner on National Minorities in The Hague, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Warsaw, and the Representative on Freedom of the Media in Vienna. There are also 16 field operations in the participating States in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

In July 2020, the extension of all four OSCE top positions by three years failed due to resistance from individual participating States. The leadership positions are therefore currently vacant. The appointment of the four new leaders is to be decided at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Tirana on 3 and 4 December 2020. Helga Schmid would be the first woman to hold the position of OSCE Secretary General.

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