Norway was one of the founding members of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The organisation was founded in 1975 in Helsinki, as the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe, but has expanded greatly since then and now comprises 55 member states in Europe, North America, and the whole CIS area.

Like most other international organisations, the OSCE has undergone many radical changes since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and new opportunities for development within its spheres of responsibility arose at the beginning of the 1990s. Together with the UN, the EU and NATO, the OSCE has been involved in reconstruction in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the CIS area.

Norway’s engagement in the OSCE is based on the desire to bring East and West together and to foster security and democratic development in all the countries in the OSCE area, from Vancouver to Vladivostok. The OSCE is primarily an instrument for ensuring peace, stability and close co-operation between a number of very different states. Norway’s efforts in the OSCE reached a peak during its chairmanship of the organisation in 1999. The main focus during the Norwegian chairmanship was on the Kosovo crisis. Furthermore, in addition to wide-ranging activities in the three dimensions of the OSCE (politico-military, human, and economic and environmental), Norway advocated closer co-ordination of these activities to achieve synergistic effects.

Norway has for many years maintained a high political profile within the OSCE and will continue to do so. One of the main reasons for this is that the OSCE is virtually the only political arena where almost all the countries of Eurasia and North America can come together on an equal footing and discuss key issues relating to security, stability and development in this large geographical area. In this context, the EU, the US and Russia are all equal partners. The wide membership also ensures that all those who are actively seeking to make their societies more democratic, stable, peaceful and prosperous receive assistance and information. Norway wishes to contribute as much as possible to this important work, both in political terms and by supporting concrete projects.

Source: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs   |   Share on your network   |   print