chapter  7
18 Pages

EU–OSCE relations: Partners or rivals in security?

ByPETER VAN HAM

The story told on the European Union’s website is both correct and endearing: The European Union as well as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) ‘were born out of the cold war, with a similar desire – to establish forms of co-operation in Europe which would defuse the tensions between former enemies and prevent further conflict on the Continent … It is therefore natural that a degree of co-operation should have grown up’ between these two organizations. Indeed, the European Union and the OSCE are both in the business of soft power, using economic and diplomatic instruments to reach political objectives.2 Given that NATO is already engaged in Europe’s collective defence, the European Union and OSCE lack military capabilities and have a particularly civilian take on dealing with security challenges.3 Hence, both organizations share a comparable political pedigree, as well as a compatible strategic culture. In a way, they are therefore natural born partners (OSCE Press Release 2002).