Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 3rd July 2015.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they participate in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe; and, if so, whether participating has changed their policies in any way.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

The UK was a founder member of the then Committee for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE - later renamed Organisation - OSCE in 1994) when it was created in 1975, and has been an active participating State throughout its existence.

The OSCE is, and continues to be, an important means of pursuing a range of UK policy priorities, to promote UK values on human rights and democracy, our interests in conventional arms control, along with wider European security issues and conflict prevention.

The UK plays an influential role in the OSCE. We work to defend OSCE commitments and principles, the OSCE institutions, and challenge failure to respect obligations.

The OSCE oversees a number of commitments on how participating States have agreed to behave towards each other and towards their citizens. Though these norms are regularly breached, their existence provides an important standard against which the people of the participating States can attempt to hold their leaders accountable.

Ongoing OSCE discussion of opportunities and challenges to the future of European security also contribute to UK policy objectives. The OSCE remains the main multilateral forum that brings together 57 countries in the Euro-Atlantic area, including Russia, the United States and EU member states, on a range of key security issues and is home to a number of interlocking instruments which form the basis for conventional arms control across the Euro-Atlantic area.

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