The OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, held in Belgrade from 3 to 4 December 2015, was the final highlight of the Serbian OSCE Chairmanship of 2015. With the fading Serbian OSCE presidency, the direct co-responsibility of Swiss diplomacy for the OSCE ends as well. It needs to be recalled that in the fall of 2011, Switzerland and Serbia had teamed up and successfully campaigned for a “double chairmanship” of the OSCE for the years 2014 (Switzerland) and 2015 (Serbia).
Yet, at that time, more than four years ago, Switzerland and Serbia could not have imagined that under their tandem chairmanship, the OSCE would play a central role in the biggest geopolitical crisis in Europe since 1990. In the Ukraine Crisis, the OSCE suddenly played a leading role after having almost lapsed into irrelevance in the years before.
Under Swiss leadership, the OSCE in 2014 succeeded in sending an OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine. In addition, Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini negotiated as an OSCE special representative a (fragile) ceasefire agreement in the war in Eastern Ukraine (Minsk I and II). For Swiss foreign policy, the OSCE chairmanship marked a remarkable success story that was also praised abroad without exception.