Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis to attend 30th OSCE Ministerial Council in Skopje

Press releases, 28.11.2023

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis will travel to Skopje on 29 November to represent Switzerland at the annual Ministerial Council meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The meeting will focus on the security situation in Europe and the challenges facing the OSCE. In the North Macedonian capital, Mr Cassis will seek to ensure that the OSCE's values and principles are upheld and that the organisation remains capable of taking action.

Russia's military aggression against Ukraine presents major challenges for the OSCE. It constitutes a serious breach of international law and the OSCE's founding document, the Helsinki Final Act. The war has eroded trust among the participating states. Important decisions within the OSCE are often not reached because the necessary unanimity is lacking. For some time now, the participating states have been unable to agree, for example, on the chair for next year, the extension or replacement of key top positions, or a budget. Shortly before the Ministerial Council meeting, an important preliminary decision has now been taken: Malta will chair the OSCE in 2024. The Ministerial Council now needs to endorse the decision in Skopje. Opinions still differ on extending the mandates of key officials. Efforts will be made to reach a decision at the Ministerial Council meeting.

Europe needs an effective OSCE
At the Ministerial Council, Mr Cassis will strive to ensure that the OSCE's values and principles are upheld and the organisation remains effective and capable of fulfilling its role. Mr Cassis welcomes Malta's willingness to act as chair in 2024. In Skopje, he will stress the need to reach a consensus on extending the mandates of key positions, and to provide the organisation with an adequate budget. Mr Cassis will meet with counterparts from other countries on the margins of the Ministerial Council meeting.

Important platform for dialogue
For Switzerland, the OSCE is central to Europe's security, as it enables dialogue with non-like-minded states in the region and has instruments at its disposal to prevent conflicts and manage crises.

With 57 participating states in Europe, North America and Asia, the OSCE is the world's largest regional security organisation. In the OSCE, participating states exchange views on politico-military issues, economic and environmental matters, and human rights.

North Macedonia currently holds the OSCE chair. The Ministerial Council meeting in Skopje will run from 30 November to 1 December.

Further information:

Article: Switzerland and the OSCE: working together for peace and security in Europe
Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23

OSCE Action Plan 2022–25 (PDF)(pdf, 3819kb)

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55
E-mail: kommunikation@eda.admin.ch
Twitter: @SwissMFA


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs