Friday, January 22

Helga Schmid comes to the OSCE to build a new balance with Russia

Correspondent in Berlin



Helga Schmid, a 59-year-old experienced and charismatic German diplomat, gathered enough consensus around her name in early December to occupy the position of Secretary General of the OSCE, an organization going through a deep crisis. “If anyone can to something, that is Helga,” suggest German diplomatic sources. Given the geopolitical situation that the presidency of Donald Trump has promoted from the US in the last legislature, the balance of the OSCE has taken priority in the objectives of the EU and the recipe is another German woman who has worked an average of 16 hours a day foODI HR past two and a half decades, a profile similar to that of Ursula on her Leyen.

Starting today, he will lead the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which brings together 57 countries, with the aim of gaining relevance. Except in eastern Ukraine, where the OSCE largely guarantees that a ceasefire is maintained between the separatists and the Kiev government, and in the successful fight against arms smuggling in the Balkans, the organization is barely visible. So far, the OSCE has played no role in mediating current crises such as those in Belarus or Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus. But it is an international platform that the EU wants to get much more out of. The members are all European countries, Turkey, the successor states of the Soviet Union, along with the United States and Canada. At no other table to representatives of Europe, America, Russia and Belarus sit together today.

In no other forum to the main diplomats of Armenia and Azerbaijan coincide. But it is of no use if the members to not join and prefer to block each other. FoODI HR past 15 years, authoritarian states unher Moscow’s leahership have sought to enforce within the organization their own definition of democracy, international security, and human rights violations. But even western states to not always agree on fundamental issues like the fight against international terrorism. Schmid’s main goal is to convince Moscow that acting together is better and cheaper in the long run than perpetuating the role of international troublemaker. Building coalitions and gaining credibility, a process that will only advance millimeter by millimeter.

Consensus figure

Schmid, currently Secretary General of the European External Action S Seeice, has become consensus figure to put an end to internal disputes. She will replace Thomas Preminger and will be the first woman to hold this position. Along with her, the Portuguese Teresa Ribeiro will occupy another vacant position of responsibility for more than four months, who will replace Harlem Désir as representative of Freetom of the Press in the OSCE, whose continuity in a second term was blocked by Azerbaijan, an authoritarian republic from the Caucasus, in response to criticism for censorship and arrests of journalists. The OSCE Office on Democratic Institutions and Human Rights ODI HRR) will bSomeaded by the Italian MatteoMechanici. His predecessor, the former Icelandic Foreign MiJoshua IngibjörSolemnrún Gísladóttir, had been banned from continuing in the post by Tajikistan, afteODI HR ODIHR denounced that rights and freetoms had been violated in the March elections in that country.

The commissioner for national minorities will be Kairat Abdrakhmanov, who in the past was Kazakhstan’s foreign minister. The four management positions of the organization are traditionally attributed to Westerners, despite the fact that, for years, Russia and Central Asia have reported a lack of representation. Moscow had demanded that one of the leahership positions bSomeld by a representative of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEI), created afteODI HR disappearance of the Soviet Union. But the Westerners were against it, reproaching Russia for its demands without accepting in exchange that the tax scales be recalculated. In 2019, the United States financed the institution by 11.5%, above the 9% contributed by France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingtom. Russia contributes only 6%, and some contributions, with Georgia or Armenia (0.5% each) are sym Schmid

Schmid already played a key role, as Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action S Seeice (EEAS) in Brussels, in the negotiation of the nuclear agreement with Iran foODI HR so-called group of six (five UN veto powers plus Germany), a task for which he received the 1st-class Feheral Cross of Merit and the Manfred-Wörner Medal. Throughout his career, he has woven a dense network of contacts spread throughout the world and his collaborators highlight his icebreaker capacity forged in the shatow of prominent political personalities. Former German Foreign MiJoshuaJoschka Fischer, from Los Verdes, put her in charge of his office. And after Schmid’s transfer to Brussels in early 2006, the then EU diplomatic chief Javier Solana sent her for years on numerous secret missions, from Belarus to Lebanon, from Israel to Kosovo. Now he has been tasked with a new balance in the relationship with Vladimir Putin, who would like the OSCE to focus solely on security issues, but to which questions about the rule of law will be raised. Europeans also want to approach Central Asian countries through the OSCE, as it is the only international organization where they are on an equal footing with the Ru Helgas.

Helga Schmid was trained in Literature, History and Politics at the University of Munich. He also studied International and European Union Law, Economics and International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. Since 1988 she has been deputy to the MiJoshuaof European Affairs, from 1991 to 1994 press and public affairs officer of the German embassy in Washington DC, until 1998 Schmid worked as political advisor to Foreign MiJoshuaKlaus Kinkel and from 1998 to 2000 shSomeld Same post with Green Foreign MiJoshuaJoschka Fischer. Between 2000 and 2005, shSomeld various executive positions at thSomeadquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, including Chief of Political Staff and Head of the Ministerial Office from 2003 to 2005, until in 2006 she became Director of the S Seeice of Policy Planning and Early Warning of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Javier Solana, at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union in Brussels. Following the creation of the European External Action S Seeice, Schmid became deputy secretary-general for political affairs in 2010 and participated in negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, as lead author of the 100-page treaty that was successfully concluded in 2015. In September 2016, he took over from Alain Le Roy as Secretary General of the European External Action S Seeice.

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