Germany has assumed the Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for 2016. This means that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) in 2016. The German Government has appointed Gernot Erler as Special Representative of the Federal Government for the OSCE Chairmanship. The German Chairmanship has defined “Renewing dialogue, rebuilding trust, restoring security” as its key priorities. The Foreign Ministers of the participating States will meet in Hamburg on 8–9 December at this year’s Ministerial Council, which marks the high point of a term of Chairmanship.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier opened the two‑day OSCE conference Connectivity for Commerce and Investment at the Federal Foreign Office on Wednesday (18 May). The objective of the event was to explore opportunities for improved trade and investment opportunities in order to strengthen business relations in the OSCE area. The conference brought together representatives from the worlds of politics, business and civil society from different regions and economic systems in some 70 countries and was held as part of Germany’s OSCE Chairmanship.
Steinmeier meets with the Minsk Group to discuss how to resolve the Nagorno‑Karabakh conflict
On 20 April Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier met the co‑chairs of the Minsk Group of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe) and the Personal Representative of the Chairperson‑in‑Office for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk. The talks focused on investigating ways to resolve the conflict following the recent escalation of fighting in the region at the beginning of April.
The Transdniestria conflict: Concentrated efforts to restart negotiations
At the invitation of Cord Meier-Klodt, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, a joint trip took place on 5 and 6 April to help restart the negotiating process. It saw mediators Russia and Ukraine, as well as the United States and the EU as observers, travel to Chisinau for talks with government representatives and to Tiraspol for talks with the leaders of Transdniestria. This was the first joint trip of this kind since 2012. It is part of an ongoing effort to persuade the conflict parties to take small confidence-building steps and return to the negotiating table. The official negotiating process has been on hold for nearly two years.
The Future of the OSCE
The conference “The Future of the OSCE” was hosted by the German Chairmanship of the OSCE and was an opportunity for young decision-makers from more than 25 OSCE countries to meet in the Federal Foreign Office on 6 and 7 April. They gathered proposals on how to tackle the many different challenges in the OSCE area and how to increase the organisation’s ability to act. “The Future of the OSCE” was the focus of a two‑day conference hosted by the German 2016 OSCE Chairmanship in the Federal Foreign Office on 6 and 7 April in cooperation with the ZEIT‑Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius. The almost 60 participants from more than 25 OSCE participating States were welcomed in person by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Opening Statement of CiO Steinmeier at OSCE-Academy in Bishkek
During his trip to Central Asia Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the OSCE-Academy in Bishkek where he gave a speech. Here you can download the speech as a pdf-file.
Opening Statement at OSCE-Academy in Bishkek [pdf, 207.52k]
To mark Germany’s Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2016, the Permanent Mission of Germany to the OSCE has sponsored a “book” at the Austrian National Library (ÖNB), the location of the Welcoming Reception for the German OSCE Chairmanship on 14 January.The sponsorship certificate was presented to OSCE Chairperson in Office, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on 14 January during his visit to Vienna by Dr Johanna Rachinger, the General Director of the ÖNB
At the beginning of its Chairmanship year Germany has updated and broadened its statutory provisions concerning the privileges and immunities of the OSCE. Under the new rules, OSCE employees and experts who travel to work-related meetings and conferences in Germany shall be granted extensive privileges and immunities.