Poland has taken over the OSCE chairmanship for 2022. In talks with Mr Rau and Ms Schmid, Mr Cassis discussed the marked deterioration of Europe's security environment in recent weeks. In this context, he announced Switzerland's objectives and priorities within the OSCE for the coming years. Switzerland's action plan also proposes measures to be taken in anticipation of the 50th anniversary in 2025 of the Helsinki Final Act, in which heads of state and government laid the foundations for the OSCE and cooperation in the field of security in Europe.
A stronger and more operational OSCE
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) sees this upcoming anniversary of the OSCE's founding document as an opportunity to take stock and look forward with a positive agenda. Through its 2022–25 action plan for the OSCE, Switzerland seeks to identify measures which will help strengthen the organisation and rebuild European security. The action plan does not aim to cover Switzerland's entire policy within the OSCE; instead, it highlights those areas in which Switzerland can make a significant contribution by 2025.
Specifically, Switzerland is committed to preserving and reviving the OSCE's achievements. This includes participating in building a dialogue process ahead of Helsinki 2025, strengthening arms control and thus trust between participating states, and increasing capacities for conflict resolution. Within this context, there will also be a focus on digitalisation and advancing science diplomacy.
OSCE: a priority for Switzerland
Switzerland has always regarded the OSCE as a cornerstone of security in Europe. The organisation is both a key instrument for conflict prevention and resolution and a platform for dialogue. In recent years the OSCE's room for manoeuvre has progressively declined, notably on account of the loss of trust between states, which all too often stands in the way of finding a joint solution. Within the OSCE, Switzerland has always sought to reach compromise solutions and overcome stalemates. This was particularly evident during Switzerland's chairmanship years in 1996 and 2014.
The presentation of the 2022–25 action plan in Vienna comes in a week of diplomatic dialogue: the US-Russia talks in Geneva on 10 January, the Russia-NATO Council session in Brussels on 12 January, and today's talks within the framework of the OSCE. "Switzerland is concerned by the serious crisis in European security," said President Cassis. "I welcome the various formats of dialogue initiated in this regard. What is important for Switzerland is that the OSCE has also addressed this today. Here, all parties sit around the table on an equal footing. With its action plan, Switzerland wants to make a positive contribution to restoring trust in the OSCE and finding joint solutions."
Federal Council objective for 2021
To ensure policy coherence, the FDFA sought input from the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) and other relevant divisions within the Federal Administration.
Action plans are key documents under the cascading strategy defined for Swiss foreign policy. This OSCE action plan seeks to achieve Switzerland's policy goals in line with the Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23. Having the FDFA present this document was one of the Federal Council's annual objectives for 2021.
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