Panel of Eminent Persons Explores Lessons Learned for the OSCE from its Engagement in Ukraine

A greater focus on conflict prevention, stronger leadership and a legal personality are some of the ways to make the OSCE work more effectively and more efficiently, said Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) and chairperson of the Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project, as he presented the Panel's Interim Report today in Vienna.

The Panel's Interim Report on "Lessons Learned for the OSCE from its Engagement in Ukraine" (Photo: MSC).

The Interim Report (download of a PDF version here) focuses on operational issues and is based on lessons learned from OSCE engagement in Ukraine. It contains five major recommendations:


- Making conflict prevention a key OSCE task;

- Strengthening the Troika system and the role of the Secretary General;

- Adopting a legal 'personality' for the OSCE;

- Making full use of the skills and knowledge in the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine in moving towards de-escalation and reconciliation;

- Enhancing the capacity of the Secretariat and Conflict Prevention Centre, both directly and through international partnerships.


Many of the issues raised in the Report are outward signs of a deeper crisis in Europe, said Ischinger, urging decision-makers to give serious consideration to the recommendations proposed in the Report.


"The OSCE has performed remarkably since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis. Over the course of the crisis, the OSCE, which had been neglected for a decade or more, has been asked to fulfil numerous tasks that it never had to tackle before, and has to do so with limited resources and under circumstances on the ground that were subject to constant and often dramatic change," he said.


"In light of the dangerous situation in Ukraine, we hope that this Report can further inspire all parties to make full use of the OSCE to de-escalate the crisis, to intensify dialogue, to seek lasting peace in Ukraine and to be better prepared for future challenges," he added.


The Report is the first of two mandated by the 2015 OSCE Troika of the previous, current and incoming Chairmanships – Switzerland, Serbia and Germany, respectively – to look at how to re-consolidate European security as a common project.


A Final Report will be published at the beginning of December focusing on broader issues of security in Europe and the OSCE area at large.


The Reports are prepared by the Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security, which was launched by the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship in December 2014, and consists of 15 eminent personalities with long-standing practical expertise in European security in all its dimensions from all OSCE regions.


In preparing the Reports, the Panel members are meeting on a regular basis; they are also conducting consultation meetings and outreach activities.

The members of the Panel are:


Wolfgang Ischinger (Germany): Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, Chairperson primus inter pares of the Panel;

Dora Bakoyannis (Greece): Member of Greek Parliament, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (2009);

Tahsin Burcuoğlu (Turkey): Former Ambassador;

Ivo H. Daalder (United States of America): President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Former Ambassador;

Oleksandr Chalyi (Ukraine): Former First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, President of Grant Thornton;

Vaira Vike-Freiberga (Latvia): Former President, President of the Club de Madrid;

Jean-Marie Guéhenno (France): President of International Crisis Group, Former UN Under-Secretary-General;

Barbara Haering (Switzerland): Director of econcept Inc., Former Member of Parliament;

Sergi Kapanadze (Georgia): Director of Georgia’s Reforms Associates, Former Deputy Foreign Minister;

Sergey A. Karaganov (Russia): Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy;

Malcolm Rifkind (United Kingdom): A former Member of Parliament, Former Foreign Secretary;

Adam Daniel Rotfeld (Poland): Professor at Warsaw University, Former Foreign Minister;

Teija Tiilikainen (Finland): Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Former State Secretary;

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (Kazakhstan): Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Former Under-Secretary-General of the UN and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva;

Ivo Visković (Serbia): Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences at the University of Belgrade, Former Ambassador.

17 June 2015, by MSC