Foreign Minister Schallenberg Has Met with OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmidt

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: January 25, 2023; 22:14 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg has met with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Secretary General Helga Maria Schmidt, where they highlighted the importance of the OSCE as a dialogue platform.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (r) Met With OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmidt (l) in Vienna / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Gruber / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

On January 25, 2023, Foreign Minister Schallenberg received the Secretary General of the OSCE, Helga Schmid, in Vienna. The focus of the exchange was Austria's support for the OSCE. At the same time, Foreign Minister Schallenberg emphasized the importance of dialogue platforms such as the OSCE, particularly in times of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

The OSCE has been in an institutional crisis since Russia attacked Ukraine. In addition to budgetary challenges, the OSCE is also concerned with questions about field missions and the appointment of management functions. Austria's support for the OSCE is all the stronger, Foreign Minister Schallenberg assured in an interview with OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid. "With the Secretariat of the OSCE being in Vienna, Austria bears a special responsibility for maintaining the organization as a forum for dialogue for Europe's security. Especially in times of aggressive wars and multiple crises, we need a strong OSCE that is capable of acting," said Foreign Minister Schallenberg.

In addition to its responsibility as OSCE headquarters, Austria's support for the international organization also includes financial contributions in the area of post-traumatic care for war survivors and mine clearance and environmental remediation work in Ukraine. Furthermore, Austrian diplomats are involved, for example, in the Economic and Environmental Committee or as special representatives in the OSCE.

Referring to the history of the OSCE, which was created in 1975 at the height of the Cold War because Europe needed channels of communication with Russia, Foreign Minister Schallenberg stated: "Russia remains Europe's largest neighbor. For a long-term, stable European security architecture, we need the OSCE as a vehicle. But I don't think a viable security architecture in Europe will succeed if Russia is completely ignored."