Czech Republic in the OSCE
Czech Republic in the OSCE
The Czech Republic considers the OSCE an important element of the European security architecture. One of the long term priorities of the Czech Republic is to support the work of the OSCE. The Czech Republic would like the OSCE to be a flexible organization able to adapt to the upcoming challenges. The Czech Republic supports the balance between all three dimensions of the OSCE (the politico-military dimension, the economic and environmental dimension, and the human dimension) and encourages the compliance with standards and obligations in these dimensions by all participating States of the OSCE. According to the Czech Republic, the role of the OSCE is mainly in the conflict prevention, post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation and in the fight against terrorism. From the Czech Republic's point of view, the debate about the future of the European security is also an important challenge and the OSCE is right to support such a debate throughout all three dimensions.
The European countries represent almost a half of all participating States in the OSCE (27 out of 57) and their financial contribution constitute around two thirds of the overall OSCE budget.
OSCE Politico-military dimension
Cooperation in the Politico-military dimension of the OSCE is primarily based on respect for commitments included in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, the Treaty on Open Skies and the Vienna Document 1999. The goal of the first dimension is control of armament, improvement of the security and mutual trust among participating States in the area between Vancouver and Vladivostok.
The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe is considered to be a fundamental basis for the European security. There are 30 parties of the treaty which are at the same time participating States of the OSCE. The original goal of the treaty was disarmament, elimination of the possible surprise attack and suspension of the arms race in Europe. The so called Istanbul Commitments of the Russian Federation became the key aspect of the treaty after the OSCE Summit in 1999. The Russian Federation promised to pull back its armed forces from Georgia and Moldova, and Western countries promised to ratify the adapted CFE treaty which would replace the old block to block approach in dealing with the numbers of conventional armed forces.
The Open Skies Treaty aims at trust building among the parties of the treaty. The main instruments of the treaty are inspection flights by certified planes. These flights take medium resolution photos of lines and areas selected by inspectors.
The Vienna Document 1999 was prepared for better implementation of existing mutual trust commitments of the OSCE participating states such as the Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, the Principles Governing Conventional Arms Transfers, the Global Exchange of Military Information, and support of the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines, etc. The Forum for Security Co-operation meets weekly in Vienna to discuss and make decisions regarding the Vienna Document 1999. The Forum adopted the decision on the modernization of the Document in 2010 and launched the negotiations on the matter.
OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension
The Czech Republic supports activitiescontributing to the improvement of safety and security in the economic and environmental areas within a concept of comprehensive security in the OSCE area. The long term priority of the Czech Republic is to strenghten a review process of the OSCE´s commitments in the second dimension. We also support better exchange of the best-practices in the economic and environmental matters. Transboundary cooperation in relevant economic and environmental areas is a unique vehicle for development and enhancement of confidence building measures. We put emphasis, among others, on such related important topics as anti-corruption, good governance, anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing, distaters risk management, water governance etc. The most important event of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension is the annual Economic and Environmental Forum (EEF).
OSCE Human Dimension
The Czech Republic highly values the Human Dimension of the OSCE and underlines the need to implement all commitments in this area, notably with regard to fundamental freedoms. We deeply regret that some participating States try to row back on existing commitments and values.
The Czech Republic continues to support the autonomy of the OSCE Institutions and resist any attempts to undermine their mandate. We value especially the professional, impartial and non-political nature of ODIHR’s election observation activities. We commend the work of the ODIHR’s Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues in advancing the implementation of the OSCE commitments and assisting participating States in this important area.
Given our historical experience, we have always been a strong advocate of respect for the freedom of expression, independent media and free access to information. To this end, we continue to support the activities and the mandate of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. We refuse attempts by some participating States to restrict the space for civil society.
The Czech Republic regularly supports the Human Dimension activities with extra-budgetary contributions.
Other institutions of the OSCE
The Czech Republic actively seconds experts for the majority of the both OSCE/ODIHR long-term and short-term elections monitoring missions.
The field missions are important part of the OSCE activity in the participating states in Southeast Europe, Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia. The Czech Republic seconds also civil experts to the OSCE missions.
The Czech Republic supports the Prague Office of the OSCE Secretariat. The Prague Office is the documentation repository of the Organization and it supports all forms of dissemination of public information. It also helps with the organization of the annual meeting of the Economic and Environmental Forum in Prague.