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Official website of the President of Russia

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

is an international regional political association that unites 56 states in Europe, Central Asia, and North America. It was founded in 1975 as the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). This name remained in place until January 1, 1995.

The OSCE is a key instrument for early warning, prevention of conflicts, crisis settlement, and post-conflict reconstruction within the region of its jurisdiction.

The OSCE’s activities comprise three areas: politico-military, economic and environmental, and human dimension. The organisation’s main principles are outlined in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 and the Charter of Paris for a New Europe of 1990.

All member states have equal status. The decisions are made on the basis of consensus, but are not legally binding.

The OSCE is governed through its summits. The Ministerial Council [Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs] meets on a regular basis. The OSCE’s permanently active decision-making body is the Permanent Council, which meets in Vienna (Austria) at the level of permanent member state representatives. The OSCE Secretariat is located in Vienna.

The OSCE chairperson coordinates the organisation’s work and that of its collective bodies. This position is fulfilled by a foreign minister of the state that holds chairmanship.