The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is a regional security organization, recognized as such under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. Formed by the Helsinki Final Act, signed in Helsinki, Finland by 35 heads of state on 31 July 1975, it was known until 1995 as the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). From its inception, the CSCE defined ‘Europe’ very broadly. Its original 35 participating states (as well as its 55 current participants) come from across the entire northern hemisphere, including not only all political entities on the European continent, but also the United States and Canada as well as the new nations that arose on the territory of the former Soviet Union. Thus the area covered by the CSCE/OSCE extends through the Far Eastern portions of the Russian Federation and includes the Central Asian states that emerged after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Therefore, OSCE insiders often refer to ‘Europe’ as an area that extends ‘from Vancouver to Vladivostok, the long way around.’


Democratic Institution International Terrorism Transnational Organize Crime Terrorist Threat European Security 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Terrence Hopmann

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