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Procedure : 2010/2839(RSP)
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PV 10/11/2010 - 19
CRE 10/11/2010 - 19

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PV 11/11/2010 - 8.9
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Thursday, 11 November 2010 - Brussels
Strengthening the OSCE: a role for the EU

European Parliament resolution of 11 November 2010 on strengthening the OSCE – a role of the EU

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, the Charter of Paris and the Copenhagen Document of 1990, the Charter on European Security and the Vienna Document of 1999, and other milestone documents of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe/Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE/OSCE),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 December 1999 on the OSCE(1),

–  having regard to the European Security Strategy (ESS) entitled ‘A secure Europe in a better world’, adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 April 2005 on the European Security Strategy(2),

–  having regard to the final report and recommendations of the Panel of Eminent Persons, entitled ‘Common Purpose - Towards a More Effective OSCE’, of 27 June 2005,

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 February 2007 on the external dimension of the fight against international terrorism(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 May 2008 on EU election observation missions: objectives, practices and future challenges(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 September 2009 on the case of Yevgeny Zhovtis in Kazakhstan(5),

–  having regard to Ministerial Council Decision No 4/08 of 5 December 2008, entitled ‘Strengthening the legal framework of the OSCE’ and the previous decisions on the OSCE's legal capacity, privileges and immunities,

–  having regard to the speech given by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on 5 June 2008 in Berlin on the need for a pan-European conference to reflect on European Security, and his proposal of 29 November 2009 for a European Security Treaty,

–  having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the European Council of 11-12 December 2008, endorsing the report of 11 December 2008 of the Secretary-General of the Council/EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) on the implementation of the European Security Strategy – Providing Security in an Changing World,

–  having regard to the OSCE Ministerial Council Declaration on the Corfu Process: ‘Reconfirm-Review-Reinvigorate Security and Cooperation from Vancouver to Vladivostok’ and Decision No 1/09 on furthering the Corfu Process, of 2 December 2009,

–  having regard to the Analysis and Recommendations of the Group of Experts on a New Strategic Concept for NATO, entitled ‘NATO 2020: Assured Security; Dynamic Engagement’, of 17 May 2010,

–  having regard to the OSCE Chairman-in-Office's interim report summarising proposals put forward by the participating States within the Corfu Process of 21 June 2010,

–   having regard to the decision of the OSCE Permanent Council following the agreement reached at the informal Ministerial Council in Almaty on 16-17 July to hold an OSCE Summit in Astana in December 2010 and a Review Conference in preparation thereof,

–  having regard to the speech given by Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), at the Almaty informal meeting (SPEECH /10/393) on the EU priorities for the Astana Summit,

–  having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the OSCE is an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic, Eurasian security architecture and is distinguishable by: its comprehensive concept of security, including political-military, economic and environmental, and human dimensions; its broad membership, uniting countries from Vancouver to Vladivostok; and the variety and flexibility of its mechanisms,

B.  whereas the EU and the OSCE, although different in nature and structures, share the same principles and values; whereas all the EU Member States are also OSCE participating States; whereas both organisations exercise responsibilities in institution-building, the promotion of democracy and human rights, and in the area of conflict prevention and management, in full recognition of the primary role of the UN Security Council in matters of international peace and security,

C.  whereas the Helsinki Final Act, celebrating this year its 35th anniversary, has been the basis for the Helsinki Process, which has prompted significant democratic change in Europe,

D.  whereas the last OSCE Summit took place in Istanbul in 1999, resulting in the adoption of the Charter on European Security; whereas significant changes have occurred since then in the OSCE region and the OSCE has seen its role decline,

E.  whereas the OSCE is the sole organisation among those dealing with security issues in the European region that lacks an international legal personality; whereas this situation has a number of political and practical legal implications; whereas a convention setting out the OSCE's legal status, privileges and immunities was finalised in October 2007 and the text of its articles has remained uncontested by the participating states since then,

F.  whereas the origins of the Corfu Process lie in the proposal made by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on 5 June 2008 on the need to discuss the issue of European security with a view to drafting a legally binding European Security Treaty; whereas the OSCE is an important forum for discussing the proposal,

G.  whereas the Corfu Process has brought new energy into the OSCE, and whereas the Summit should reconfirm the commitment to the principles and spirit of the Helsinki Final Act and define a clear strategic vision for the way ahead, including the improvement and updating of existing instruments,

H.  whereas efforts should be aimed at reforming the decision-making mechanism, which has not always allowed the OSCE to respond in a timely manner to crises; whereas more effective crisis management instruments should be developed and more emphasis should be placed on conflict mediation and resolution,

I.  whereas the OSCE, as the most inclusive forum for consultation in the Euro-Atlantic Eurasian region, still has an essential role to play on a number of issues, including non-proliferation, disarmament, economic cooperation, protection and promotion of human rights, and the rule of law,

J.  whereas the Lisbon Treaty gives the EU a clearer and stronger voice in the world and encourages all types of mutually beneficial EU cooperation with relevant international and regional organisations, including with the OSCE,

1.  Underscores the importance of the current intensive discussions on European security within the OSCE, NATO and the EU since reaffirming common values and strengthening mechanisms could enhance mutual trust and confidence in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian region and thus result in a stronger European security architecture;

OSCE added value
Cross-cutting issues

2.  Emphasises the need to maintain a balance between the three dimensions of the OSCE, developing them coherently and comprehensively and building on what has already been achieved; points out that none of the dimensions may be strengthened to the detriment of another; stresses, moreover, that security threats and challenges should be tackled through all three dimensions if action is to be truly effective, including contemporary ones such as organised crime, terrorism, cyber-threats, human and drug trafficking, energy security, as well as activities relating to early warning mechanisms, and conflict prevention and resolution;

3.  Emphasises that the strengthening of the OSCE should not come at the price of weakening the existing institutions and mechanisms or affecting their independence, when they have not yet been reformed or alternatives have not yet been agreed, particularly as regards the work of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR);

4.  Calls on the OSCE to further strengthen its capacity to ensure respect for and the implementation of principles and commitments undertaken by its participating States in all three dimensions, inter alia by enhancing follow-up mechanisms;

5.  Believes that reinforcing the interaction and promoting synergy with the other relevant regional organisations could only benefit the work of the OSCE and calls for the creation of more clear and flexible cooperation frameworks that facilitate and speed up such synergies;

Political-Military Dimension

6.  Considers that the OSCE has played an essential role in enhancing security, drawing on a unique network of treaties, commitments, norms and measures, including the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), the Open Skies Treaty and the 1999 Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures; recognising, however, that the political-military dimension has not been able to make progress, particularly with the 2008 conflict in Georgia, the inability to address effectively the protracted conflicts in the Caucasus and Transnistria, the suspension by Russia of the CFE, and the refusal until now of NATO member states to ratify the Adapted CFE Treaty; urges NATO member states and Russian Federation to ratify and implement the existing treaties and to comply with their obligations, including the implementation of the 1999 Istanbul Commitments;

7.  Considers that the OSCE is the suitable framework for negotiations concerning regional conflicts within its area of responsibility; regrets the lack of will of the EU and the Member States to use the possibilities of the OSCE in this area more effectively; argues in favour of strengthening the OSCE's instruments for conflict prevention; regrets the non-innovative approaches to the peace processes and notes that progress in the solution of these protracted conflicts would significantly contribute to raising the credibility of the OSCE and should not be overlooked in the Corfu Process; considers, therefore this goal should be addressed in the Summit conclusions;

8.  Takes note of the OSCE mission in Transnistria (Moldova); deplores the downgrading of the mission and the interruption of disarmament activities at the Colbasna storage facility since 2004; recalls the EU's firm determination to seek a settlement to the Transnistrian conflict on the basis of respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova; calls for the resumption, as soon as possible and without preconditions, of the negotiations in the 5 +2 format; calls for concerted EU efforts to align the German-Russian Meseberg initiative with the efforts of the OSCE mission in Transnistria;

9.  Recalls the important EU engagement in stopping the hostilities and in negotiating the ceasefire agreements during the 2008 conflict in Georgia and considers in this regard that the EU has a role to play, together with the OSCE, in preventing and mitigating inter-ethnic conflicts and tensions in the OSCE area; underlines that these conflicts are not only of considerable local and regional relevance but also have a direct impact on EU security architecture; calls for a new agreement to revive an OSCE peace monitoring mission in Georgia in order to prevent further violence, protect minorities and promote negotiations, ensuring security and stability in the South Caucasus region;

10.  Notes the role played by the OSCE in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, especially with regard to the ceasefire and ongoing negotiations; notes that, although the EU is not directly involved in the OSCE Minsk Group peace talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it can make important practical and political contributions in support of its efforts, including by offering an EU mandate for its French co-chair, as stipulated in the EP resolution on the need for an EU Strategy in the South Caucasus;

11.  Calls for the revival of the process for conventional arms limitation and disarmament in the OSCE; is in favour of opening negotiations on further steps to reduce forces and arms (CFE II), and calls on the EU and its Member States to take appropriate initiatives in the OSCE;

12.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to make available their experience and capacities in the field of defence conversion and to actively promote OSCE agreements in this area;

13.  Underlines the great importance of re-establishing mutual trust and a sense of common purpose; notes that there is a need for further development of confidence- and security-building measures and a strong and efficient regime of conventional arms control and, to this end, emphasises the crucial importance of finding a solution to the CFE crisis and modernising the Vienna Document; welcomes the language of the declaration made by Presidents Obama and Medvedev in June 2010 on the future of conventional arms control and the CFE treaty; welcomes the decision taken by the US Government in January 2010 to appoint a Special Envoy on the CFE Treaty; supports the valuable OSCE activities in the areas of counter-terrorism, border management and police-related work; underlines that these activities are crucial not least in Central Asia, where they contribute to stabilising the security situation in the whole region;

14.  Notes that the EU's development of its capacities should not be perceived as downgrading the role of the OSCE but as a necessary step towards improving cooperation also among the OSCE participating State and points out that regular meetings at the highest level and constant mutual reporting, information exchanges and consultations between the EU and the OSCE would promote that understanding;

Economic- Environmental Dimension

15.  Underscores the Conclusions of the OSCE Ministerial Council on the Strategy Document for the Economic and Environmental Dimension recognising that more effective cooperation by the OSCE participating States to counteract threats and challenges caused by economic and environmental factors can make a crucial contribution to security, stability, democracy and prosperity in the region and stresses the fact that economic and environmental factors can be driving forces behind conflicts;

16.  Firmly believes that cooperation and promotion of early warning on economic and environmental issues - such as energy, trade, climate change, or water security - may serve as tools to diminish tensions, prevent conflict, build confidence and promote good neighbourly relations and multilateral regional cooperation in the OSCE area; encourages the OSCE Economic Forum, therefore, to tackle such issues by strengthening capacity to provide advice and assistance and by effectively mobilising and facilitating deployment of the expertise and resources of other international organisations; calls on the Council to reflect this during the Corfu Process and at the Summit;

17.  Takes the view that since not only the EU and the Russian Federation but all the member states of the OSCE are dependent on each other as importers and exporters of energy and energy sources, and since conflicts in the area of energy supply have increased throughout the OSCE area in recent years to the detriment of the civilian population, the energy policy dialogue for the whole region should be given a central role;

18.  Considers that the challenges of climate change in all facets of life will be long-lived and its burdens heavy, in some regions much more than in others; calls on the OSCE to strengthen efforts to mitigate man-made contributions to global warming and promote stability and sustainable security in places where climate change effects are most likely to occur;

Human Dimension

19.  Emphasises that human and minority rights and fundamental freedoms are at the core of the OSCE's comprehensive concept of security, witnessed by the wide-ranging set of existing commitments and mechanisms that should be fully implemented; underlines that the Corfu process and the Summit should aim at further strengthening the follow-up and implementation of these commitments and mechanisms;

20.  Recognises the essential role of the ODIHR in election observation, in promoting human rights and democratisation, the rights of minorities, as well as Roma and Sinti; underlines the role and duty of the High Commissioner on National Minorities in enhancing peaceful coexistence of minority communities and in the prevention of ethnic conflicts, with all the necessary early warning mechanisms; welcomes the work of the Representative on the Freedom of the Media and of the Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings; calls for the active participation of the European Parliament in the ODIHR's activities;

21.  Calls on the OSCE, with particular regard to election observation, which should be reinforced and accepted as a sign of confidence in each OSCE Member State, to reaffirm and preserve the independence of the ODIHR and further strengthen its role and capacity as the leading OSCE institution responsible for election observation, with which the European Parliament has developed strong and efficient cooperation in this field; calls for the strengthening of this cooperation and coordination between the OSCE/ODIHR and the European Parliament both in preparation for, during and after international election observation missions in OSCE countries;

22.  Calls on the Council to ensure that the OSCE further enhances and diversifies the work under this dimension, considering also other concerns that can be tackled with the existing expertise, such as counter-terrorism and the impact of population movement, including that of IDPs and refugees;

Field Missions

23.  Calls on the Member States to emphasise the importance of the OSCE field missions, where significant expertise has been developed and which play an essential role in promoting progress in all three dimensions by complementing the EU delegations in promoting democratisation and reform processes through the monitoring of  war crime trials, fostering national reconciliation and supporting the development of civil society, and which are a fundamental tool of early warning and conflict prevention, and to ensure that funding for field missions is not decreased; urges the EU to learn from this expertise in its own field missions;

24.  Takes note of the OSCE's efforts in Kyrgyzstan, showing its potential to respond promptly to crisis situations where it has a presence on the ground; welcomes, to this end, the OSCE Permanent Council Decision of 22 July 2010 to deploy a Police Advisory Mission; stresses that the ongoing instability of this country requires a stronger and more substantial international presence, aimed at assisting and supporting local forces and enhancing police action; considers that the OSCE could play a leading role in Central Asia and restore its role in Georgia; deplores the fact that Police Advisory Mission has not been deployed as planned at the beginning of September 2010, due to resistance from the Kyrgyz Government; urges the OSCE member states and the Kyrgyz Government to allow the immediate deployment of neutral and international police forces in the country, to significantly increase the number of personnel deployed and to make sure that its mandate is executive instead of purely advisory;

Corfu Process

25.  Welcomes the Corfu Process, launched by the Greek OSCE Chairmanship and promptly taken up by the Kazakh OSCE Chairmanship, aiming to re-establish trust and confidence and renew commitment to the principles of the OSCE and to tackle security challenges through multilateral dialogue and cooperation and by addressing the sensitivities and concerns of all OSCE participating States;

26.  Recalls that the process follows the call for a renewed dialogue on pan-European security of June 2008 and the one of 8 October 2008 for the modernisation of European security within the OSCE framework, and that the OSCE is an important forum to discuss the issues contained in the proposal for a new Security Treaty; takes the view that more coordination and deeper cooperation with Russia is needed as it plays a crucial role in respect of European security;

27.  Considers that the final aim of the Corfu Process should be the strengthening of the OSCE, building upon the existing commitments and the principles and spirit of the Helsinki Final Act, to ensure that it can play a significant role in dealing with current and future challenges, including a more flexible decision-making procedure and discussing comprehensively the security issues in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian area, and specifically helping to resolve them, and to enhance its visibility;

28.  Applauds the initiative of Kazakhstan, as holder of the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office, to hold an OSCE Summit as a way of giving political impetus to the ongoing discussions on security within, and the strengthening of, the OSCE; calls on the Commission and the OSCE member states to urge Kazakhstan in advance of the Summit to take concrete steps to safeguard and respect basic OSCE values such as human rights, the rule of law, freedom of expression, including the decriminalising of liberties, and to guarantee access to justice; stresses that the key priorities on the Summit agenda should be to strengthen the conventional arms control framework, to strengthen the implementation of the human dimension commitments and to strengthen the OSCE's capabilities in all three dimensions to promote conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation, particularly in relation to protracted conflicts;

29.  Calls on the EU Members States, the Commission and the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy to cooperate with OSCE members at the Summit in December 2010 with the goal of formulating an Action Plan that would outline a road map towards a charter for a security community in the OSCE area and to mandate preparation of a follow-up summit two to four years from now;

30.  Calls on the OSCE and EU member states to add US Vice President Biden's proposal for an OSCE Crisis Prevention Mechanism to the agenda for the Summit; advocates building on a US initiative in the context of the Corfu Process to enhance the role of the OSCE Secretary-General and the OSCE chairs, or a trio of present, past and future chairs, in OSCE crisis management;

Role of the EU

31.  Regards the work of the OSCE as very valuable, and calls therefore for a serious reflection on how the EU can take on greater responsibilities and participate more efficiently in achieving joint objectives, for which implementing a system of permanent dialogue, agreeing on joint initiatives and coordinating local activities may be appropriate instruments in the context of a formal agreement between the OSCE and the EU; calls on the EU Council of Foreign Ministers, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the OSCE Permanent Council to work on a mechanism aimed at increasing cooperation, coordination and consultations between the two organisations; calls on EU Member States, the Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to present proposals concerning the EU's willingness and ability to participate in OSCE-mandated missions;

32.  Calls on the VP/HR to consider how the future EEAS could establish appropriate cooperation procedures with the ODIHR in order to strengthen, without overlapping, the role of the EU with regard to election observation in the OSCE area;

33.  Considers that the EU, through its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, its Member States and the President of the European Council, should ensure, through the timely adoption of an EU common position on OSCE reforms, that the Summit results in an Action Plan for further engagement on strengthening the OSCE, particularly with regard to conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation, ensuring, inter alia, that high level summits occur at regular intervals to give political impetus to the work of the OSCE; welcomes the new practice of holding informal Ministerial Meetings;

34.  Welcomes and endorses the articulation and definition of priorities by the EU in the OSCE, considering a focus on key areas to be essential for realising the full potential of the Summit;

35.  Encourages the EU Member States and the EU Delegation in Vienna to continue contributing substantially to the Corfu Process; calls on Lithuania, the next holder of the OSCE Chairmanship, to ensure continuity and progress in the process of strengthening the OSCE;

36.  Call on the EU, its Member States, and the present and the incoming OSCE Chairmanships-in-Office to continue the dialogue on the legal framework of the OSCE and to reiterate the need for a prompt adoption of the draft Convention on international legal personality, legal capacity and privileges and immunities, an arrangement that does not affect the existing nature of OSCE commitments but strengthens its identity and profile, also solving a number of practical problems for its personnel, especially when employed in crisis areas;

37.  Considers that its President should be invited to participate in the Summit and calls on the European Council to provide for such an invitation;

38.  Deems that, with a view to strengthening relations with the OSCE, it should reflect on its participation in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) and study the possibility of establishing a standing Delegation to the OSCE PA, to follow more closely the activities of the OSCE and the OSCE PA;

o   o

39.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/ High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council and the Commission, the OSCE Member States and OSCE Secretary-General.

(1) OJ C 296, 18.10.2000, p. 126.
(2) OJ C 33 E, 9.2.2006, p. 580.
(3) OJ C 287 E, 29.11.2007, p. 524.
(4) OJ C 271 E, 12.11.2009, p. 31.
(5) OJ C 224 E, 19.8.2010, p. 30.

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