EU Statement – OSCE’s role and commitments to prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms: trends and challenges

OSCE 82nd Joint FSC - PC Meeting, Vienna, 14 July 2021.

The European Union and its Member States welcome the speakers of today’s Joint FSC-PC meeting and thank them for their presentations. We also thank the organisers for their concept note, in which they invite us to reflect on the OSCE commitments in preventing and combatting terrorism and the importance of ensuring their effective implementation.

We highly value today’s discussion as the fight against the scourge of terrorism remains of utmost concern for the EU. Terrorism is one of the imminent threats to our way of life as a whole and jeopardises peace, stability and security, as well as the enjoyment of human rights throughout the OSCE area and beyond. In this regard, we welcome the inclusion of this topic in the Swedish Chairpersonship’s Food-for-Thought paper on prospective themes for Ministerial Council deliverables and we look forward to constructive discussions on this topic.

With regard to the role of the FSC on terrorism, we would like to recall PC.DEC/1063 “consolidated framework of the OSCE for the fight against terrorism”, adopted by the Ministerial Council of Dublin in 2012. This decision attributes three aspects of the fight against terrorism to the FSC competence: UNSCR 1540, Small Arms Light Weapons and the Code of Conduct of Politico-Military Aspects of Security, in particular with regard to non-state actors. Consequently, the EU believes that the Permanent Council and the Security Committee in particular, are more suited to address the multi-faceted nature of counterterrorism in a comprehensive manner.

In light of the recent terrorist attacks in the OSCE area, in Austria and France among others, the EU supports proposals to accelerate the work on the OSCE normative framework in relation to small arms and light weapons and stockpiles of conventional ammunition and looks forward to further discussing initiatives on preventing, combatting and investigating illicit trafficking of SALW/SCA.

The EU attaches great importance to the strengthening of international cooperation to combat terrorism, in particular with OSCE participating States. We welcome the exchange of information and best practices between the EU and the OSCE through conferences, workshops and side events. Voluntary Reporting in the Security Committee provides all States with the opportunity to inform about their activities and to implement their OSCE commitments in the fight against terrorism. We consider this platform as a valuable tool for information exchange and encourage all participating States to make use of it.

The EU considers the promotion and the protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law as essential elements in the prevention of terrorism as well as in preventing violent extremism and radicalisation that leads to terrorism (VERLT). We underscore that the effective measures against terrorism and the protection of human rights can and should go hand in hand.

The EU also promotes a whole-of-society approach to prevent and counter terrorism and VERLT. Cooperation between the public sector, the civil society, academia, local, religious and cultural communities, the media, and the private sector is thus strongly promoted by the EU.

We believe that the OSCE is particularly well placed to support participating States in the implementation of international commitments related to counterterrorism and VERLT. The EU stands ready to support the OSCE in this endeavour, as we consider our Organisation a valuable actor in the CT domain working in a complementary manner with other international partners.

I thank you Mr. Chair.

The Candidate Countries REPUBLIC of NORTH MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, SERBIA* and ALBANIA*, the Country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and Potential Candidate BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA, the EFTA countries ICELAND, LIECHTENSTEIN and NORWAY, members of the European Economic Area, as well as UKRAINE, the REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, GEORGIA, ANDORRA and SAN MARINO align themselves with this statement.

* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.