Permanent Council

The flags of the OSCE in front of the Hofburg in Vienna, 27 April 2009. (OSCE/Blanca Tapia)

The flags of the OSCE in front of the Hofburg in Vienna, 27 April 2009. (OSCE/Blanca Tapia)

The Permanent Council (PC) meets weekly throughout the year at the Hofburg Palace’s Congress Centre in Vienna to engage in the day-to-day direction of OSCE affairs. It is composed of representatives at the level of ambassadors from all participating States to the OSCE. Senior officials from capitals may reinforce the PC on special occasions, and then it is referred to as the Reinforced Permanent Council. The Permanent Council is chaired by a permanent representative of the current Chair-in-Office.

Activities

Permanent Council activities include:

  • Making decisions on the operation of the OSCE, its institutions and its field missions
  • Hearing reports from senior officials and invited guests on matters of concern to the OSCE
  • Developing responses to emergency and ongoing situations
  • Engaging in debate, dialogue, and discussion on issues before the OSCE
Function

The Permanent Council serves an important function as a catalyst for dialogue among the participating states. It provides an opportunity to exchange views and voice criticisms, serves as an instrument of early warning, and allows smaller states to make their opinions known to major players. Increasingly, spontaneous dialogue tends to take place during advance informal consultations, on the “margins” of the formal meetings, or in the various subsidiary bodies that prepare plenary sessions.