Other relevant multilateral organizations

There are additional international and regional organizations working in the field of European security, many established during the Cold War to deal with the political realities and threats that existed at that time.  Some overlap, at least in part, with the OSCE in participation and functions.

NATO continues to be the pre-eminent defense organization in the Transatlantic area. NATO's intervention in Bosnia in 1995 and Kosovo in 1999 brought the wars in those areas to an end and enabled the OSCE and other organizations to play roles in reconstruction and conflict prevention.

Ideally, each institution should assume specialized functions within an overall division of labor, so that all major functions required to maintain security are performed by one or another institution with a minimum of unnecessary overlap or unaddressed security gaps.

It is important to understand what functions can best be performed by the OSCE and its field operations, what can be accomplished only (or more efficiently) by others, and how the OSCE and other institutions may coordinate their work to achieve common objectives.

Organizations in the European area that are most relevant in the security field are the:

  • United Nations (UN)
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  • European Union (EU)
  • Council of Europe (CoE)
  • Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)

This chapter introduces you to these other organizations. By the end of this chapter, you should be able to describe how the OSCE compares to them, and to understand how they fit into Europe's security "architecture."