On 25th January, Malta commenced its Chairpersonship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), delineating a strategic framework comprising of ten priorities. These priorities have been crafted to enhance resilience, increase security, and foster a spirit of cooperation within the OSCE area.
Central to Malta’s agenda is the resolution of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, a pressing issue that underscores the OSCE’s commitment to preserving the principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris. In a gesture of solidarity and support, Malta’s Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade, Ian Borg, in his capacity as OSCE Chair-in-office, undertook a significant visit to Kyiv and its surrounding communities on 3rd February. There, he held meetings with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, the President’s Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak, and local residents who have suffered greatly because of the conflict. President Zelensky acknowledged the deep friendship between Ukraine and Malta, which has been strengthened by Malta’s active support hosting the third Peace Formula Summit last year.
During the visit, Minister Borg visited the towns of Hostomel, Bucha, and Borodyanka. These towns were heavily impacted by the conflict, having faced severe bombardment. Minister Borg engaged with the communities and gained a comprehensive understanding of the on-ground realities, demonstrating OSCE’s dedication to fostering stability and peace in the region. As OSCE Chair-in-office, Malta is committed to ensuring that the illegal aggression by Russia against Ukraine remains a top priority of the organisation’s agenda.
Strengthening security in the OSCE area and assisting to resolve ongoing issues will also be Malta’s primary focus to address. The OSCE has robust instruments, including the Moscow Mechanism, which play a critical role in gathering verifiable information on breaches of the organisation’s foundational principles. This tool is not only instrumental in establishing facts but also holds the potential to drive the process of holding those responsible to account. As Chair-in-office, Malta has praised the extensive efforts of the Support Programme for Ukraine, acknowledging their significant work.
€50 billion EU aid package for Ukraine
In addition, on the 1st February, together with other European Union member states, Malta supported the decision to extend a substantial aid package of €50 billion for Ukraine. The aid package is designed to cover the period from 2024 to 2027, recognising the interconnectedness of security and economic stability. This significant move was also to express hope that the EU’s decision would encourage the US for ongoing aid, given they have been the largest military donor.
Beyond Ukraine, Malta’s Chairpersonship of the OSCE prioritises a holistic strategy for peace and security, with a focus on ending violence, advancing the Women, Peace, and Security agenda, and strengthening cyber defence and arms control measures. The Chairpersonship’s ambitious agenda highlights the critical significance of solidarity, perseverance, and inclusive cooperation in addressing the challenges of our time.