At a glance
Since the beginning of the Helsinki process, the European Community/European Union has played a vital role in the work of the CSCE/OSCE. The European Commission has also taken part in the negotiations on the Helsinki Final Act in 1975, which was signed by the Italian Council Presidency on behalf of the European Community. It has become standard practice in the OSCE to add "Presidency/EU" on the name plate of the country holding the Presidency of the Council. Presidents of the Commission have signed the Charter of Paris for a New Europe and the Charter for European Security alongside the EU Presidency.
The scope of co-operation between the OSCE and the EU has both broadened and deepened, following development of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, and the launch of the first EU crisis management operations under the European Security and Defence Policy. This is together with an increased engagement of the EU in OSCE participating States through the signing of stabilization and association or partnership and co-operation agreements in regions such as the Balkans, the South Caucasus and Eastern Europe. Today, co-operation includes:
Framework for co-operation
At both the political and working level, relations between the OSCE and the European Union are maintained through:
Co-operation is particularly close in the field, where Heads of OSCE field operations regularly liaise and co-ordinate with relevant EU representatives in the host country, such as EU Special Representatives or Heads of EC Delegations. EU representatives on the ground are frequently invited to address the OSCE Permanent Council. The European Commission today is a major source of extra-budgetary funding of OSCE activities in the field.