The OSCE is still seen as an important forum for East-West dialogue. Since July she has been without a leader at a critical time. That is now changing.
Vienna (dpa) – The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will in future be headed by the top German diplomat Helga Schmid. According to diplomats, the 59-year-old was appointed Secretary General of the OSCE by the organization’s council of ministers on Friday.
Schmid, who is considered very well versed on foreign policy issues, was among other things a key negotiator for the EU on the international nuclear deal with Iran. Most recently, she headed the Secretariat-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), playing a key role in EU diplomacy.
“I cannot imagine a better contribution to the OSCE’s capacity for action than Helga Schmidt,” said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD). “Helga Schmidt is a top diplomat, whose caliber there are not many in Europe.”
In addition, according to the information, other top positions were held that had not been filled since July due to disagreements between OSCE member states. Italian Matteo Mecacci is now director of ODHIR, the arm of the OSCE specializing in human rights. Former Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Kairat Abdrachmanov was appointed High Commissioner for National Minorities. Maria Teresa Ribeiro from Portugal will assume the role of OSCE Representative for Media Freedom.
As the world’s largest regional security organization, the OSCE is committed to stability, peace and democracy. Members are 57 countries from Europe, North America and Central Asia. The OSCE is involved, among other things, in a civilian observation mission in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The OSCE headquarters and secretariat are in Vienna.