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13.07.2016: International Conference. Between Aspirations and Realities. Strengthening the Legal Framework of the OSCE

In early 2016, the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law was invited by the OSCE Task Force of the German Foreign Office to conduct a project on the OSCE Legal Framework aimed at reviving and reframing the discussion on the legal framework of the OSCE at the occasion of Germany’s OSCE Chairmanship in 2016. The project, consisting of an international academic conference and written scholarly work, seeks to examine legal and political implications that arise from the unsettled legal status for the Organization and its members of staff, for states as well as for individuals and peoples at large, who are affected by the Organization’s acts.

In order to provide for a new impetus to the debate, the Institute organized on 13 July 2016 an international conference entitled “Between Aspirations and Realities: Strengthening the Legal Framework of the OSCE”. The conference took place in the Harnack-Haus of the Max Planck Society in Berlin and was convened by Mateja Steinbrück Platise, Carolyn Moser, and Anne Peters. 46 academics and practitioners (plus the three conveners) attended the conference and contributed to a lively discussion.

Since in the past, the debate had primarily been framed by political considerations brought forward by the OSCE participating States at the high political level, the conference aimed to open up the debate to a broader international audience and to allow for an input by a larger community of scholars, practitioners and civil society representatives. By pursuing an open and discursive format of the conference, experts from legal, political and related fields, international scholars, practitioners and political representatives, civil society organizations and media representatives were all welcomed as speakers, engaged listeners and other conference participants.

The first panel explored the broader legal and political context in which the OSCE has been operating since its establishment. Subsequently, the second panel examined the present legal framework of the OSCE. The third panel then went on to discuss the question of the international legal status as a governance issue. Finally, the forth panel analysed legal and institutional implications of legal personality.


At the Harnack-Haus of the Max Planck Society (Berlin).