Swiss OSCE Chairmanship 2014: outlining the workplan
In 2014, Switzerland will be chairing the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). On this occasion, Federal Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Burkhalter presented the OSCE workplan 2014-2015 in Vienna together with the Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivan Mrkic. Serbia will take over the chairmanship from Switzerland in 2015.
This will be the second time since 1996 that Switzerland takes on the chairmanship of the group of 57 member states. Because of its non-membership in the EU and NATO, Switzerland still considers the OSCE to be a key pillar in its foreign policy, although the organisation has gradually lost its importance as instrument of international politics over the past decade.
Key issues for 2014
The OSCE is active in the fields of security policy, economy and environment, as well as in the so-called "human dimension" sector which includes democracy, rule of law and human rights issues. In this third sector Switzerland wants to focus on the implementation of several existing commitments during its 2014 chairmanship, which the OSCE states assumed in previous years. Particular areas are the prevention of torture, respect for human rights in the "war on terror", or respecting human rights of minorities.
Federal Councillor Burkhalter also emphasised the great importance which Switzerland attaches to the systematic inclusion of civil society into OSCE procedures. He pointed out the key role played by NGOs in support of fully guaranteeing basic and human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
The Swiss OSCE Chairmanship culminates in two major events in Basel at the beginning of December 2014: an international NGO conference, followed by a meeting of the 57 ministers of foreign affairs of the OSCE member states.
- Creating a security community for the benefit of everyone – Priorities of the Swiss OSCE chairmanship in 2014
Speech by Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter held at the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, 2 July 2013
- Die Schwerpunkte des schweizerischen OSZE-Vorsitzes 2014
FDFA factsheet (pdf, 2 pages in German)
- Swiss and Serbian foreign ministers prepare to lead OSCE
OSCE press release, 2 July 2013
- Swiss OSCE Chairmanship 2014
Dossier on the FDFA website
- OSCE Chairmanship Switzerland 2014