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EU deputy foreign policy chief Helga Schmid nominated for OSCE leadership



Helga Schmid, the EU’s deputy foreign policy chief, has been put forward by the German government as a candidate to become secretary-general of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in December.

Schmid, who since 2016 has been secretary-general of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and deputy to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, is set to leave her position this fall when her four-year mandate runs out.

On Wednesday, the German government nominated her to lead the OSCE, a Vienna-based organization that monitors arms control, human rights and freedom of the press, and also seeks to reduce tensions in crisis zones such as eastern Ukraine, where it has had an observer mission since 2014.

“Helga Schmid is a very suitable candidate for the post of secretary-general of the OSCE: With her many years of leadership experience, her extraordinary negotiating skills and her energetic contributions to international crisis prevention, she has been shaping multilateral action in Europe — and beyond — for years,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, adding that Schmid “would be a great asset to the OSCE and to pan-European cooperation.”

The OSCE’s leadership posts — including the secretary-general as well as officers dealing with human rights, national minorities and freedom of the press — have been vacant since July when the OSCE’s 57 participating counties failed to agree on extending the mandate of the previous leadership. New candidates for all four positions are expected to be appointed at an OSCE meeting in Tirana, Albania, on December 3 and 4.

Schmid, a Bavarian career diplomat who has been working for the EEAS since its creation in 2010, was a key figure behind the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, on which she has been working since the launch of negotiations in 2003, when she was chief of staff to then-German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

If confirmed as OSCE secretary-general, Schmid would be the first woman to lead the organization. Schmid told POLITICO in June she is convinced that “women are the better negotiators.”



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