Restoring trust: the Corfu Process
The Corfu Process began with a crisis and a proposal. In June 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, highlighting the need to take stock of post-Cold War security arrangements, called for a new European security dialogue towards a legally-binding treaty.
The war in the South Caucasus in August 2008 made clear the continued dangers posed to collective security by unresolved conflicts in the OSCE area, and the urgent need to address new and existing threats. Two months after the war, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for an OSCE Summit to be held to discuss Medvedev’s proposal and the EU’s ideas on a European security architecture.
Finland’s 2008 OSCE Chairmanship took up the discussion at the Helsinki Ministerial Council in December that year. In June 2009, the Greek Chairmanship followed up with an informal meeting of OSCE Foreign Ministers and representatives from NATO, the EU, the CSTO and the CIS on the island of Corfu.
At the meeting, the Foreign Ministers launched the Corfu Process to rebuild trust between States and take forward the dialogue on Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security. The decision was formalized at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Athens in December 2009, with three basic guidelines:
- Adherence to the concept of comprehensive, co-operative and indivisible security;
- Compliance with OSCE norms, principles and commitments in all three OSCE dimensions, in full and in good faith, and in a consistent manner by all;
- Determination to strengthen partnership and co-operation in the OSCE area, as well as to enhance the effectiveness of the OSCE and its contribution to security.
Under Kazakhstan’s 2010 Chairmanship, the Corfu Process continued through regular meetings in Vienna, and progress was reviewed at an informal meeting of OSCE Foreign Ministers in Almaty in July. These discussions in turn led to a decision to hold the Astana Summit on 1 and 2 December 2010 with the aim of agreeing at the highest political level a framework for action towards a Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community.
OSCE Foreign Ministers agreed that the Corfu Process would focus on eight themes:
- implementation of all OSCE norms, principles and commitments;
- the role of the OSCE in early warning, conflict prevention and resolution, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation;
- the role of arms control and confidence- and security-building regimes in building trust in the evolving security environment; transnational and multidimensional threats and challenges; economic and environmental challenges;
- human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as democracy and the rule of law;
- enhancing the OSCE’s effectiveness;
- and interaction with other organizations and institutions, on the basis of the 1999 Platform for Co-operative Security.