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Estonia makes plans to seek OSCE chairmanship

16. November 2020 - 9:05

The Government of Estonia approved the proposal of the minister of foreign affairs to prepare Estonia’s candidacy for a future chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Albania currently holds the chairmanship of the OSCE. Two upcoming chairs have been confirmed: Sweden in 2021 and Poland in 2022. The chairmanship is decided by the participating states of the OSCE based on consensus. 

“The OSCE and its founding principles are one of the pillars of the security architecture of Europe. It is in Estonia’s interests to uphold and strengthen commonly agreed principles and rules both in the area of security as well as human rights and democracy,” Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said.

According to the foreign minister, Estonia’s elected membership in the UN Security Council provides our foreign service with excellent skills in leading negotiations and diplomatic processes. Estonia’s membership in the UN Security Council ends in December 2021. In terms of the future, Estonia’s chairmanship at the OSCE is a logical step to be able to make use of the experience we have gained, increase Estonia’s foreign policy reach and take on a new responsibility in international diplomacy.

OSCE’s mandate includes finding peaceful solutions to conflicts in the neighbourhood of Estonia and the European Union. This has immediate relevance for Estonia’s security interests. For example, after Russia’s aggression, the OSCE sent a special monitoring mission to Ukraine. Mostly through its mediation activities, the OSCE has a remarkable role in restoring the territorial integrity of Georgia as well as the peaceful and sustainable resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The OSCE has focused on responding to widespread protests and violence in Belarus. All this points to the OSCE’s growing influence in the immediate future.

“Estonia wishes to take on a leading role when it comes to addressing and dealing with issues that immediately concern our security, and through the OSCE, we would like to support multilateral international cooperation,” Foreign Minister Reinsalu said.

The chair is designated by consensus by the OSCE participating states. The two upcoming chairs have been chosen: Sweden in 2021 and Poland in 2022.

After the decision by the Government of Estonia, preparations will begin for submitting Estonia’s candidacy and starting consultations with other states. Planning and implementing activities related to the OSCE chairmanship and obtaining it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and it will include other ministries if necessary.

The OSCE is an organisation uniting various countries from the wider region around Estonia (Europe, Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, the United States and Canada). The OSCE has 57 participating states, the organisation’s secretariat is located in Vienna. Estonia joined the OSCE (then called the CSCE) on 17 September 1991. Estonia has previously not been the Chair of the OSCE.

Additional information:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Communication Department

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