THE SPIRIT OF HELSINKI IN THE XXI CENTURY

The history of the 21st century, both in Europe and globally, shows that the existent international system is getting into a deeper crisis. On the one hand, we see the erosion of the European system of cooperative security based on the CSCE Helsinki principles – non-legally binding political commitments of the states to respect each other’s sovereignty, adhere to human rights and international cooperation. On the other hand, even “hard” obligations under international law can be breached by states’ unilateral decisions. Does the spirit of Helsinki have a chance to survive under such circumstances? Is the simple political will of a group of states enough to face current challenges to the international order? Or should we frankly recognize that the principles of international law do not work, and try to elaborate a new system of rules for the modern world?

The history of the 21st century, both in Europe and globally, shows that the existent international system is getting into a deeper crisis. On the one hand, we see the erosion of the European system of cooperative security based on the CSCE Helsinki principles – non-legally binding political commitments of the states to respect each other’s sovereignty, adhere to human rights and international cooperation. On the other hand, even “hard” obligations under international law can be breached by states’ unilateral decisions. Does the spirit of Helsinki have a chance to survive under such circumstances? Is the simple political will of a group of states enough to face current challenges to the international order? Or should we frankly recognize that the principles of international law do not work, and try to elaborate a new system of rules for the modern world?
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Kira Spyrydonova

Kira Spyrydonova is a PhD student at the Institute of International Relations of Kyiv Taras Shevchenko National University. She also serves at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine covering issues of Ukraine’s participation in international organizations. Ms. Spyrydonova main research focus is regional security studies and foreign policy of Ukraine.


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