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.
Relaunching conventional arms control in Europe
Rebuilding destroyed confidence and preventing an arms race: these tasks have become even more pressing since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis. For the annexation of Crimea in violation of international law has brought the question of war and peace back to Europe. In August 2016, therefore, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for a relaunch of conventional arms control. On Friday (25 November), 14 like‑minded states met for talks at the Federal Foreign Office and issued a joint declaration.
Ministerial declaration by the foreign ministers
Article by Special Representative Gernot Erler
On occasion of his trip to Ukraine the Ukrainian newspaper Zerkalo Nedeli published an article by the Special Representative for the German OSCE Chairmanship, Dr. h.c. Gernot Erler. Here you can download the article as a pdf-file.
Dialogue, Reforms, Security: The OSCE in Ukraine [pdf, 242.76k]
Foreign Minister Steinmeier opens OSCE human rights conference
On 19 September Federal Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier travelled to Warsaw, where he opened the annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in his capacity as Chairperson‑in‑Office of the organisation. This year the conference is focusing on a number of issues that are also of high priority to the German OSCE Chairmanship. These include tolerance and non-discrimination, freedom of assembly and association as well a freedom of the Media and countering propaganda. Upon his arrival in Warsaw, Foreign Minister Steinmeier said that the event was the largest human rights conference in Europe.
OSCE Conference at the Federal Foreign Office: Steinmeier calls for tolerance and diversity
An international Conference on Tolerance and Diversity took place at the Federal Foreign Office on 20 October under the auspices of the German Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The conference was opened by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and General Music Director Daniel Barenboim. In his opening speech, Steinmeier urged people to see diversity and cooperation primarily as an “opportunity”.
Evaluation Report: Human Rights in Germany
During the OSCE Chairmanship Germany made an independent evaluation of the implementation of OSCE-committments in the Human Dimension. With that it followed the examples by the Swiss (2014) and Serbian (2015) Chairmanships.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier in Ukraine
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier travelled to Ukraine on 14 September for a two-day visit together with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault. The Foreign Ministers’ itinerary included a visit to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. The trip focused on the situation in the east of the country. During the Ministers’ meeting with President Poroshenko at the beginning of their visit, he told them that he agreed to a new ceasefire.
On 9 September 2016, the Conference “Internet Freedom: a constant factor of democratic security in Europe” was held in Strasburg, co-organized by the Estonian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, the German OSCE Chairmanship and by the Council of Europe.
OSCE-Conference on human trafficking held at the Federal Foreign Ministry
Gernot Erler, Special Representative of the Federal Government for the OSCE Chairmanship, today opened a conference entitled Preventing Trafficking in Human Beings for Labour Exploitation in Supply Chains, which is being held under the auspices of the German OSCE Chairmanship. The event aims to enhance coordination between governments, economic stakeholders and civil society in the fight against global trafficking in human beings.
United against anti-Gypsyism
On 6 September, the Federal Foreign Office held a conference at the Federal Foreign Office in conjunction with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the Council of Europe and the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma. Under the title “Confronting Anti-Gypsyism. The Role of Political Leaders in Countering Discrimination, Racism, Hate Crimes and Violence Against Roma and Sinti Communities”, parliamentarians, experts, as well as representatives of government and civil society from around Europe discussed the challenge of the continuing discrimination against Sinti and Roma and ways of tackling it together.
“A challenge we must all tackle together”: international counter‑terrorism conference at the Federal Foreign Office
The international counter‑terrorism conference, Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalisation that Lead to Terrorism, took place at the Federal Foreign Office on 31 May and 1 June. The conference has been organised under Germany’s OSCE Chairmanship. The focus of the two‑day event is on measures to prevent radicalisation and extremism, but also on how to deal with returning extremists and their reintegration into society.
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watch opening session
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.
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