Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Strengthening the OSCE: a role for the EU

Delivered in Plenary - 10th November 2010

Mr President

The OSCE plays an important and growing role in promoting peace and stability on our continent of Europe. The fact that America, Canada, Russia and many Central Asian countries are also full members gives the organisation great credibility and breadth – ‘from Vancouver to Vladivostok’, as the OSCE itself boasts.

The OSCE is rapidly usurping the Council of Europe as the principal and most relevant forum for discussing democracy – with its ODIHR branch supporting election monitoring – human rights and the rule of law in Europe. The OSCE’s field missions in countries like Georgia and Moldova are contributing significantly to stabilising societies traumatised by recent disputes and frozen conflicts.

Kazakhstan’s current chairmanship of the OSCE has helped to enhance the organisation’s profile and refocus our attention on Central Asia, and in particular on the issue of security and the fight against international terrorism.

Undoubtedly, there are many possibilities for developing the EU’s relationship with the OSCE. However, in fashioning this partnership I hope the High Representative will give due weight to avoiding duplication of effort and thereby the wasting of taxpayers’ money at a time of austerity. She should also consider coordinating the OSCE, the EU and particularly the CSDP and NATO within the partnership for peace.

Lastly, I would suggest that perhaps the two organisations – the Council of Europe and the OSCE – consider amalgamation. That might save a lot of money.