Is the OSCE still relevant? | Europe | DW.COM | 04.05.2016



Is the OSCE still relevant?

On this week’s “Conflict Zone,” Lamberto Zannier, OSCE Secretary General, discusses how his organization can maintain relevance in a world with aggressive states, brutal dictators and a troubling political landscape.

The Cold War is slowly coming back to life, with the conflict in Ukraine simmering, Russia buzzing American warships in the Baltic and Soviet-era bombers lurking near European airspace.

“Geopolitics are back,” Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), said on DW’s Conflict Zone with Michel Friedman. “We see competition, we see confrontation, we see lack of confidence in Europe. We also see a problem of lack of reconciliation after the end of the Cold War.”

Zannier is stuck in the middle, trying to be impossibly diplomatic. He is tasked with confronting human rights abuses and military aggression while staying on the good side of 57 countries that make up the largest intergovernmental organization in the world, including Russia, Ukraine, the United States and all 28 EU member states.

The question is, can an organization with such a broad mandate be successful at keeping peace, strengthening democracy and bridging divides?

Is the OSCE effective in Ukraine?

On April 28, the OSCE warned of a “blatant disregard” of peace agreements in Ukraine. With the conflict in eastern Ukraine ongoing since the Minsk agreement was signed in September 2014, the organization’s warning is sounding more and more like a broken record.

“It is difficult for the international community – and this is not only the OSCE – to stop a conflict of this magnitude,” Zannier said on Conflict Zone, defending the OSCE’s response to the crisis.

The OSCE has more than 700 monitors on the ground but they often have difficulty even observing effectively. Out of 37 land crossing points between Russia and Ukraine, OSCE observers are allowed at just two.

‘We are frustrated’

“We are frustrated because we would like to have access everywhere,” Zannier said. “We don’t have access everywhere but we have access to lots of places.”

Part of the issue is that observation missions like the one in Ukraine must be approved by consensus of all countries, so Zannier must remain extremely diplomatic.

“It’s more difficult to operate by consensus,” Zannier said. “It takes more time.”

It also takes speaking extremely carefully. At one point, Friedman asked Zannier if member states like Poland and the Baltics were right to be afraid of a Russian aggression.

“I think the concerns are legitimate and we are taking them into account, too,” Zannier said.

“So what does it mean: ‘taking concerns into account?'” Friedman asked.

“This means that I give them a platform to clarify, and, first of all, to express their concerns, and then to discuss them with everybody else,” Zannier responded.

Could the OSCE push harder for democracy and human rights?

The OSCE isn’t just a security organization, their mandate also extends to “respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought.”

On Conflict Zone, Friedman pressed Zannier on where the organization stands: “Are we talking about a Russian version of human rights? Are we talking about a Kazakh version of democracy? A Turkish one? Or perhaps western principles? I mean, which is it?”

“There is not a single model of democracy,” Zannier responded. “So democracy must take into account culture, history, social aspects of each of the countries. So there isn’t a blueprint that can be applied. (…) Democracy is work in progress.”

Zannier has worked in international diplomacy for his entire career, starting out in the Italian foreign service, working through positions at the United Nations and OSCE, with a focus on arms control and security issues. He was appointed Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Kosovo from 2008 to 2011. He took office as Secretary General of the OSCE on July 1, 2011.

Source: Is the OSCE still relevant? | Europe | DW.COM | 04.05.2016

Are we really looking for possible measures to contrast Terrorism or are we only loosing time and money? EU pushes for quick decision on new anti-terror law | euronews, world news

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I do not want to step into politics, but allowed me to provide an harsh comment to the EU counter terrorism Project (and of course actual status)!

As short introduction, I think important to underline how and when Europe got the “Union” word, therefore I would like you all to carefully read a paragraph copied at the link of EU (here)

“we should underline that With the collapse of communism across central and eastern Europe, Europeans become closer neighbours. In 1993 the Single Market is completed with the ‘four freedoms’ of: movement of goods, services, people and money. The 1990s is also the decade of two treaties, the ‘Maastricht’ Treaty on European Union in 1993 and the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999. People are concerned about how to protect the environment and also how Europeans can act together when it comes to security and defence matters. In 1995 the EU gains three more new members, Austria, Finland and Sweden. A small village in Luxembourg gives its name to the ‘Schengen’ agreements that gradually allow people to travel without having their passports checked at the borders. Millions of young people study in other countries with EU support. Communication is made easier as more and more people start using mobile phones and the internet.”

Ok, after this clear description of what EU wanted, and would like to be, let’s go back to what has been the discussion of this week in the EU parliament:

The EU wants a quick decision on a new law that will force governments to share air passenger data. The draft bill, first proposed in 2011, is being looked at again after the Paris attacks amid fears about returning jihadists from Syria. A committee of MEPs rejected the legislation in 2013.

Now, after the above sentence, allowed me to exclaim… ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHAT THE @@@@@@ IS THIS DISCUSSION?

In my perception, when talking about “UNITY”, it should be compulsory to have such unity also and especially in these matters that really concern people… so as I underline on the paragraph copied by EU site “People are concerned about how to protect the environment and also how Europeans can act together when it comes to security and defence matters“, security and defence should not be matter of discussion, not anymore! but “apparently” this is not the actual status

If we, EUROPEAN CITIZENS, want to be safe and protected, we need to act in order to be safe and protected, all together, like if we where just a “single nation”.

Nowadays, when we are already talking of EU, it is not anymore the time to claim for this kind of “privacy right”; in instance, in each single Nation of the European Union, police forces have the right to control anybody, have the right to exchange information between police stations etc. So why, if we live in the EU, we still have to authorise police forces to investigate on European people (and anybody traveling or visiting Europe)?

Meanwhile in EU we still have a lot of discussion on the scan of finger print, when anybody travel to USA, or UAE etc, hi/she has to provide his/her fingerprint! why not in EU?

Although I agree with people that claim for privacy, although I agree with people that concern about a miss use (or abuse) of certain “Control powers”, I strongly believe that we need to understand what are the proper boundaries of privacy.  In a society, where our credit card, cell phone, TV subscription, Internet etc etc, collect millions of data in order to provide better Info to whom will sell or advertise goods, I remained stunned when people believe that the same information cannot be freely provided to police forces.

Probably people and especially our politicians prefer to suffer of a terroristic attack rather than understand that sometime we need to give something in order to receive something! and Safety and security is way more important than not tell police that I am in paris or in Rome.  it will anyway show up as soon as I connect in Internet!!!!

As final consideration, and in the hope that some Politic responsible for these decision read my article, I personally prefer police to know my movement within EU rather than see soldiers patrolling my city streets! 

Have fun with the following incredible reality…

via EU pushes for quick decision on new anti-terror law | euronews, world news.