This paper addresses the current state and prospects of the OSCE's Mediterranean engagement. It argues that, although the current volatile situation in the Mediterranean is a major obstacle to closer cooperation with the South-Mediterranean partners, the OSCE's comprehensive and cooperative approach to security can be of help to deal with conflicts and failing states in the region. The OSCE can also provide useful assistance to states that move towards domestic reform and embrace regional cooperation. Political dynamics in the Mediterranean should be increasingly based on interaction, conflict prevention and cooperative relations, and there is space for frameworks such as the OSCE to contribute to this endeavour in cooperation with other players, such as the United Nations, European Union, NATO and the Council of Europe, but also regional organisations. Such an engagement would require reasserting the Helsinki Final Act vision and making the dialogue with Mediterranean Partner States more effective, responsive and operational and, most importantly, less process- and more result-oriented.
Revised version of a paper presented at the international seminar "Towards 'Helsinki +40': The OSCE, the Global Mediterranean, and the Future of Cooperative Security", convened at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Rome on 18 September 2014 and organised by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and the OSCE Secretariat under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Swiss Chairmanship of the OSCE and the Italian Presidency of the EU.
1. A brief assessment of the general situation in the Mediterranean region
2. The OSCE's Mediterranean dialogue: concept and vision
2.1 The guiding vision
2.2 The Helsinki +40 process
3. Geographical reach of the dialogue
4.1 Types of engagement
4.2 Specific aspects of the dialogue
4.3 Cooperation on Mediterranean issues with other organisations
5. Dimensions and themes
6. Constituencies and visibility
Conclusion: The way forward in the context of the Helsinki +40 process