It was in the year 1973, in the middle of the Cold War that divided Europe, when nearly all European countries plus the USA and Canada gathered in Helsinki, Finland, to enter into a dialogue on security and cooperation in Europe. Despite all scepticism they started what was later on called the Helsinki Process. This process took 2 years until the Helsinki Final Act could be signed by the participating states.
The Helsinki Accord contained in 4 “baskets” what should be the guiding principles that would avoid military confrontation in Europe. International relations should be ruled by international law.
The first basket included a “decalogue” enumerating 10 points important to safe peace among the participating states:
Sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty
Refraining from the threat or use of force
Inviolability of frontiers
Territorial integrity of states
Peaceful settlement of disputes
Non-intervention in internal affairs
Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief
Equal rights and self-determination of peoples
Co-operation among States
Fulfillment in good faith of obligations under international law
The second basket promised economic, scientific, and technological cooperation; facilitating business contacts and industrial cooperation; linking together transportation networks; and increasing the flow of information.
The third basket committed the states to improve the human context of family reunions, marriages and travel. It also sought to improve the conditions of journalists and expand cultural exchanges. (The fourth basket dealt with procedures).
To put it into a nutshell: The Helsinki Accord contains everything what currently is at stake.
Unbelievable, but reality, what ideological enemies were able to, to let their weapons rest, is not anymore possible in the 21st century?
We need therefore a “Helsinki 2.0 Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe[S2] ”
If you may find these suggestions appropriate in the current geopolitical and in particular the European situation IISES is inviting you to join the Action for Helsinki 2.0. Click here, become a member of our network or send us an email with 'Helsinki 2.0' in the subject line and we will get back to you!