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The Italian Presidency of the OSCE in 2018

In terms of a unanimous decision taken by the OSCE’s Member Countries in 2016, Italy was elected to the Presidency of the OSCE for 2018. Therefore, from 1 January to 31 December 2018, our Country coordinated the decision-making process, and set the priority activities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

In fulfilling its tasks, the Italian Presidency was assisted by Austria, as the outgoing 2017 Presidency, and Slovakia, and the successive Presidency in 2019. The three Presidencies worked jointly in the “OSCE Troika”. For 2019 the Troika was made up of Slovakia, Italy, and Albania, the latter being set to take on the OSCE Presidency for 2020.

The functions of the OSCE’s Chairperson-in-Office were carried out by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The 15th Ministerial Council of the OSCE was held in Milan (6-7 December 2018) presided over by Italy. On that occasion, the Foreign Ministers of the OSCE’s 57 Member Countries approved fifteen Decisions and Declarations (


Italy’s action in heading the OSCE in 2018 was based on the following priorities:

  • Full political support, following on from the action by previous Presidencies, for efforts to find a solution to the Ukraine crisis, based on the Minsk Agreement, and linked to the Normandy format. At the same time priority attention was given to the OSCE’s roles in “ongoing” conflicts (Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, Georgia: Abkhazia and Ossezia).
  • Greater focus on the challenges and opportunities in the Mediterranean, including migrations, as highlighted at the OSCE’s Mediterranean Conference held in Palermo on 24-25 October 2017 (
  • A pro-active approach to the OSCE’s three “dimensional” approach to security (political – military, economic – environmental, human rights) and new transnational challenges (terrorism, cyber-security, combating illegal trafficking – from drug trafficking to trafficking cultural assets).
  • For the First Dimension (political – military), particular attention was given to extending “Structured dialogue on the challenges and risks related to present and future regional security”, aimed at reinstating a climate of trust between the Member Countries, stimulating a discussion on the evolution of security in Europe, and the ways to re-establish an adequate level of “cooperative security”.
  • Italy’s OSCE Presidency also continued the work done by the Austrian (2017) and German (2016) Presidencies, to bolster the OSCE’s Second Dimension (economic and environmental), an area in which common, less divisive interests can contribute to promoting an atmosphere of cooperation, which could potentially be useful in more complex settings as well. We focussed on increasing dialogue on questions like promoting economic progress and security by means of innovation, human capital, good government, and the transition to green energy.
  • Finally, priority importance was given to the Third Dimension (human rights), based on the conviction that respecting rights, basic liberties, and the rule of law, are essential aspects for our security. The Italian Presidency promoted the universality and indivisible nature of all basic rights, as well combating every form of discrimination and intolerance. Particular attention was paid to combating human trafficking.

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