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40 Helsinki Final Act
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Honourable Minister Dr. George Vella and OSCE Secretary General Amb. Lamberto Zannier address the Conference ‘Helsinki plus 40: The Mediterranean Chapter and the Future of Mediterranean Co-operation’ hosted by MEDAC – 10th November 2015

The increasingly evident link between European and Mediterranean security, the need for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, to reaffirm the strategic value of its co-operation with its Mediterranean partners as well as Malta’s recent proposal of an appointment of a Special Representative for the Mediterranean were the themes explored during a conference co-organized by MEDAC yesterday.

The Hon. Dr. George Vella, Minister of Foreign Affairs and OSCE Secretary General Ambassador Lamberto Zannier delivered the keynote speeches at the start of the academic international conference to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act and its Mediterranean Chapter. Co-organizers with MEDAC were the New Med Network, a network of academic experts on the OSCE and the Mediterranean.  The conference focused on the theme Helsinki plus 40: The Mediterranean Chapter and the Future of Mediterranean Co-operation.

The conference, opened by MEDAC Director Professor Stephen Calleya, was attended by more than a 100 participants, including former and current policy-makers and diplomats, academic experts from OSCE countries and OSCE Mediterranean Partner countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Israel), as well as the local diplomatic corps and representatives of other international organizations.


Secretary General of the OSCE Lamberto Zannier noted that “I cannot think of a more suitable place than Malta to hold a discussion about the long-standing engagement between the OSCE and the Mediterranean”.  He emphasised that “from deploying counter-radicalization strategies to addressing the refugee crisis, Mediterranean-based issues cannot be relegated to a separate chapter of our work”.  

On his part, Foreign Minister George Vella shared an historic account of Malta’s role in the inclusion of the Mediterranean Chapter in the Helsinki Final Act and insisted that the threats and challenges we are faced with today point not only to the relevance but also the need, of having a deeper Mediterranean focus within the work of the OSCE.  He advocated for the necessary tools to be adopted which would assist in addressing the current threats.  “A Special Representative with a focus on the Mediterranean would bring much added value to our common work” he said.


In the Helsinki Final Act, signed in 1975, the then CSCE states declared that “security in Europe is to be considered in the broader context of world security and is closely linked with security in the Mediterranean area as a whole, and that accordingly the process of improving security should not be confined to Europe but should extend to other parts of the world, and in particular to the Mediterranean area”. This analysis, strongly supported by Malta at the time, was revolutionary. In view of the developments and fluid situation in the Mediterranean region today, these words appear more relevant than ever.

The conference was also addressed by the representatives of Switzerland, Serbia and Germany (the past, current and future OSCE Chairmanship) and Italy on behalf of the New Med Network.  The panels focused on the historic dimension of the Mediterranean Chapter of the Helsinki Final Act, the Mediterranean Region in Transition, and the Current State of the OSCE’s Mediterranean Dialogue and Prospects for Future Co-operation.

The conference was supported by the Foreign Office of Germany, the Government of Switzerland, Italy’s Institute of International Affairs and the Compagnia di San Paolo International Affairs Program and the OSCE.


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Last Updated: 11 November 2015

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