Successful OSCE Ministerial Council in Skopje

Press releases, 04.12.2023

After lengthy negotiations, Malta is approved by all 57 participating states as the 2024 OSCE Chairmanship at the Ministerial Council. 

Group picture at the 2023 ministerial meeting
The foreign ministers of the 57 OSCE participating states meet annually for a ministerial meeting. © OSCE

The participating states of the OSCE met in Skopje, North Macedonia, on 30 November and 1 December for the 30th Ministerial Council. As the central decision-making and governing body of the organisation, the Council offers the foreign ministers of the 57 OSCE participating states the opportunity to review and evaluate the security situation in the OSCE region and the work of the organisation in all areas of activity. Switzerland was represented by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis. In his speech, Foreign Minister Cassis emphasised the importance of multilateral cooperation and the OSCE principles for security and stability in Europe.

Expectations were high in the run-up to the Ministerial Council. While Malta's assumption of the 2024 Chairmanship had been negotiated in Vienna and approved by the Permanent Council, the extension of the top positions was negotiated in Skopje. Malta was confirmed as chair by the Council of Ministers.  The Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ian Borg, as the future Chair of the organisation, confirmed his country's willingness to take over the leadership of the OSCE. This decision was followed by the extension of the term of office of the four top positions by nine months each (until September 2024).  This is intended to ensure the continuity of the organisation's work and the implementation of its mandates under the Maltese Chairmanship.

Switzerland has been working for years to strengthen the OSCE's ability to act. At the Ministerial Council, Federal Councillor Cassis welcomed the agreement on the new chairmanship and the proposed extensions of the top positions. For Switzerland, the OSCE remains an important part of the security architecture in Europe despite the current challenges. It also facilitates dialogue with non-aligned states in the region and has instruments at its disposal to prevent conflicts and manage crises.