Parliamentarians celebrate Paris Charter’s 30th anniversary, recall OSCE’s successes and urge renewed commitment to principles

Paris Charter Le DrianJean-Yves Le DrianCOPENHAGEN, 20 November 2020 – The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the French Delegation to the OSCE PA held a web-based roundtable today to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, which was adopted during the second Summit of Heads of State or Government of the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe, held in Paris from 19 to 21 November 1990.

Participants in today’s event, entitled “The 30th Anniversary of the Charter of Paris: A Parliamentary Perspective,” discussed the relevance of the Paris Charter in the current international context, with a particular focus on the Assembly’s work in supporting the Organization since its inception. Many dedicated parliamentarians want to make the OSCE stronger, it was stressed, and to increase its effectiveness to ensure higher political commitment from governments.

The event featured contributions from Head of the French Delegation to the OSCE PA Sereine Mauborgne, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic Jean-Yves Le Drian, OSCE PA President George Tsereteli, Vice Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania Agron Tare, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and incoming OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ann Linde, OSCE PA High-Level Expert Ambassador Lamberto Zannier, and former OSCE PA President Joao Soares.

Other contributions included reflections of former Swiss President and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter, delivered by OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella, remarks by OSCE PA Vice-President Pascal Allizard, and Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs and former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

“If the Charter is our common compass, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the OSCE, is our ‘common home’,” said Minister Le Drian in a recorded video message. “It is this organization that we designed on the basis of the commitments made in Helsinki, then in Paris and that we have continued to build ever since.”

Paris Charter MauborgneSereine Mauborgne“The OSCE needs to be strengthened,” said Mauborgne in her opening remarks. “This may involve modifying some rules or operating mechanisms. But strengthening and giving credibility to the OSCE presupposes first and foremost the political will of each of its participating States and respect for the commitments entered into.”

Vice Minister Tare noted that at the time of the Paris Charter’s signing, Albania was internationally isolated. When it eventually signed in 1991, it marked a change in Albanian foreign policy, and had a profound impact on the future of the country. He regretted that many aspirations of the Charter have not been realized, emphasizing that certain current trends must be reversed. “We are a diverse organization,” Tare said, “but there can be no divergence from our founding principles.”

Linde noted that developments over the past three decades have shown that given the chance, people will always choose freedom over tyranny, and the OSCE helps make this possible. The OSCE has the tools to help countries live up to commitments found in the Charter of Paris, she said, noting that resolving conflicts is essential to building comprehensive security.

“At a time when our Europe is under assault from all sides, we are realizing the importance of this moment of unity which led to the signing of the Charter of Paris,” said Vice-President Allizard. “We have strayed from our trajectory and this anniversary is an opportunity to realize this and if we want to count in the world of tomorrow, when the center of gravity of our planet shifts towards Asia, we need to rediscover the spirit that presided over the drafting of the Charter of Paris 30 years ago.”

Soares discussed the OSCE’s role over the years in conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation in the Balkans and the Caucasus. The PA can help ensure that the OSCE lives up to its capacity, said the former PA President. The ability of parliamentarians is to bring people together and build dialogue, he said, pointing to earlier experiences as examples of how the OSCE can overcome current challenges.

Ambassador Zannier said: “With a view to the 50th Anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act in 2025, the OSCE should now begin a process of revitalization and renewal, to be able to address effectively the new difficult challenges ahead while ensuring that agreed principles and commitments are fully adhered to. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is ready to stimulate this process and contribute to it.”

Paris Charter TsereteliGeorge Tsereteli“We must continue to fully exploit the potential of parliamentary diplomacy, as outlined in the Charter of Paris, as an inclusive and constructive tool to break political deadlock,” said OSCE PA President George Tsereteli. “We must also remain outspoken in our commitment for more transparency and accountability within the OSCE as a way to make the Organization stronger and more effective.”

In the discussion, OSCE PA members recalled the history of the Helsinki process and the role of civil society in moving the process forward. One of the great achievements of the Charter of Paris was the creation of the Parliamentary Assembly, parliamentarians said, and one of its strengths is that it is a forum for open debate. Members of the Assembly must add legitimacy to the work of the OSCE, including by the monitoring of human rights commitments, it was stressed.

It was also pointed out that while some countries have moved away from multilateral cooperation, this trend can be overcome by strengthening the multilateral frameworks and ensuring that governments are in a better position to help each other.

More than 100 parliamentarians, experts and practitioners participated in today’s event. It was moderated by Secretary General Montella, who recalled that the Paris Charter is a document that is still well alive, and that many women and men in the OSCE region are working with passion and dedication every day to concretely implement the ideals of its vision.

To read the Charter of Paris, along with other historical OSCE documents, please click here. A photo exhibition on the Paris Charter is available here.

To watch today’s event, please click here.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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