What works when everything fails in European diplomacy

What works when everything fails in European diplomacy

Tedo Japaridze speaks to Roberto Montella, secretary-general of the Organisation for Security Cooperation in Europe, on key security considerations in Europe.

Washington, D.C. (Brussels Morning) It is said that the system of collective security for the “common European home” is now under strain.

On the one hand, there is a widening gulf with Russia: war in the Caucasus, the annexation of Crimea, and allegations of interference in electoral processes; on the other, traditional allies have been growing apart: Brexit and relations between Ankara, Washington and Brussels are key examples.

There are indications that European security is becoming more “plurinational” — smaller alliances between states — rather than multilateral. But one of Europe’s diplomatic “foldback positions” is the Organisation for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Its mandate is the “bread-and-butter” or technical aspects of conflict prevention: confidence-building, conflict management, monitoring, and upholding of a human rights benchmark. The 57 members of the Vienna-based organisation include EU member states, Russia, Canada, the UK and the US, and continues to operate when, literally, everything else fails.

To understand what works whenever everything fails, Brussels Morning speaks to Roberto Montella, the Secretary General of the OSCE since 2016, currently in his second five-year mandate. Montella has held positions at OSCE in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Serbia and Montenegro.