The OSCE was founded during the Cold War as a forum for dialogue between the East and the West. Today it operates in three areas - military-political, economic-ecological and human. Headquartered in Vienna, it brings together 57 member states from Europe, Central Asia and North America, covering most of the northern hemisphere.
Germany is taking over from Serbia who chaired the organization in 2015 within the framework of a successive two-year mandate, together with Switzerland.
During Serbia's presidency the organization marked 40 years since the adoption of the Helsinki Final Act, which was an opportunity to summarize the results and examine the political will to create a strategic framework for the future operation of the OSCE.
In December Belgrade hosted the 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council that brought together foreign ministers and senior officials of the 57 member states and 11 partner countries, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini.
The main topics of the two-day gathering, which rounded off Serbia's one-year presidency, included joint fight against terrorism, the crisis in Ukraine and the refugee crisis affecting Europe, particularly in the countries along the Balkan migration route.