EU Statement on the Vienna Document Modernisation

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation N°967, Vienna, 3 February 2021.

The European Union and its Member States would like to thank the Chairmanship, as well as the key-note speakers, for this useful opportunity to discuss again the modernisation of the Vienna Document 2011.

We are deeply concerned that the security environment in Europe has deteriorated in recent years due to violations of OSCE principles and commitments stemming from international law. In order to reverse this negative trend, we call on all participating States to fully respect their undertaken obligations and commitments. From our side, we are determined to contribute to efforts aimed at restoring trust and increasing mutual confidence among the participating States and, in particular, at enhancing reciprocal military transparency and predictability and reducing risk by updating the Vienna Document.

We welcome the steps already taken and encourage discussions on the measures proposed for improving implementation of the Vienna Document and, in particular, enhancing military-to-military contacts among the participating States at the OSCE both in the Structured Dialogue and the High-Level Military Doctrine Seminar that is due to take place next week.

We also recall the proposals for updating the Vienna Document, in particular the Joint Proposal co-sponsored by 34 participating States, and encourage all participating States to engage in constructive discussions focused on the Vienna Document’s role in reducing the risks of conflict in the OSCE area by promoting transparency, predictability and stability.

OSCE’s comprehensive and co-operative concept of security with emphasis on Conventional Arms Control, Confidence and Security Building Measures, disarmament and non-proliferation, constitutes a key element of our common security. When respected and abided by, these fundamental and enduring commitments provide systemic and preventive means to enhance predictability and transparency. In so doing, they can contribute to reducing military risks and misperceptions, lead to a better understanding of threat perceptions and build trust among participating States.

Important agreements in this area, including the Vienna Document, the Treaty on Open Skies and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, have provided us with important security gains for many years. Conventional Arms Control and Confidence and Security Building Measures remain crucial instruments. We support full adherence to these instruments as well as efforts to solve outstanding issues pertaining to compliance with and implementation of these instruments, which are complementary.

We remain committed to the full implementation in letter and spirit of existing commitments in the politico-military dimension and appeal to all participating States to faithfully implement them. We continue to support the substantial modernisation of the Vienna Document. We are equally committed to the further development of Conventional Arms Control, Confidence and Security Building Measures and other instruments in the politico-military toolbox. We stand ready to continue work towards creating an environment conducive to reinvigorating Conventional Arms Control and Confidence and Security Building Measures in Europe.

We consider that there is a need for the full resumption of the Vienna Document activities, as soon as public health situation allows it. In the framework of the Covid-19 pandemic, we managed to co-ordinate the suspension of these activities and will need to further collaborate to resume their implementation.

In conclusion, we recall the Joint Statement of 45 participating States at the Tirana Ministerial Council and reaffirm our strong commitment to the Vienna Document and its full implementation in letter and spirit, and are determined to support constructively the process of its modernisation with a view to achieving substantial progress toward updating the Vienna Document by the OSCE Ministerial Council 2021.


The Candidate Countries REPUBLIC of NORTH MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO* and ALBANIA*, the Country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and Potential Candidate BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA, and 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.

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