Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia in regional initiatives
At the beginning of the XXI c, in the South East Europe a number of political , economic and regional security initiative were launched by the European Union , NATO, the OSCE and the Council of Europe , the U.S., the EU Member States as well as countries in the region. The aim of regional initiatives was to preserve peace and stability in South-Eastern Europe. European integrations and the promotion of regional cooperation are the foreign policy priorities of the Republic of Serbia it achieves through very active participation in regional initiatives. For the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia , which confirms a strong commitment to a more active participation in regional initiatives , they represent an important support to the reform of the defense system.
Southeast European Cooperation Process - SEECP
Southeast European Cooperation Process - SEECP was launched at Bulgaria's proposal at a meeting of foreign ministers of South Eastern Europe , held in Sofia in 1996. The initiative was originally entitled "The Process of good neighborly relations, stability , security and cooperation among the countries of South Eastern Europe." It was launched with the aim of transforming the SEE region into a region of stability, security and cooperation in line with European integrations through the promotion of mutual dialogue and cooperation at all levels as well as in all areas of common interest. Serbia's partipcation in SEECP activities in its full capacity began at the SEECP Summit in Skopje in October 2000.
SEECP has 11 participating countires as full members : Albania , Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria , Montenegro , Greece, Croatia , Macedonia , Moldova, Romania , Serbia and Turkey. Moldova chaired the Initiative for the period in May 2008-May 2009, after which Turkey and Montenegro took over. Serbia presided SEECP from May 2011 to May 2012, the Republic of Macedonia from May 2012 to May 2013, after which Romania took over the chair. While Serbia chaired SEECP, the Ministry of Defence organized a meeting of defense ministers on in Belgrade on 11 and 12 April entitled "Improving the level of cooperation in the region to address the issue of surplus weapons,"
SEECP is the only authentic initiative launched by South Eastern Europe , as a sort of the "voice of the region." Given that its main activity was giving political guidelines to enhance regional cooperation, SEECP did not have the organizational and technical structure, but the direction was performed exclusively by organizing meetings at the political level. SEECP activities mostly take place at the summits of heads of state and governments, meetings of foreign meetings, as well as at the level of political directors of the foreign ministries of the participating states. Also, the Meetings of the Troika as a permanent coordination body comprised of current, former and future chairperson are held. Meetings at the ministerial level are held when the need arises in order to discuss some issues that are of interest to the members.
Changes in the region as well as the region's approximation to the EU led to a new stage of regional cooperation, which implies a more active role and responsibility of the region. At SEECP Summit held in Zagreb on 11 May 2007 it was decided to establish functional relations between the SEECP and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), where the current Process will continue as a forum for political dialogue and direct cooperation of the participating countries, with the RCC Secretariat being based in Sarajevo which will serve as operational support to the Process .
In future, the Process is expected to foster a more proactive approach to issues such as education, women's entrepreneurship, the prospects for development of railway transport , the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, consular issues and involvement in shaping the future of relations between the SEECP and RCC .
RCC ( Regional Cooperation Council - RCC)
Regional Sooperation Souncil RCC is the successor to the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe (SP SEE) , a regional initiative formed in 1999. As the situation in SEE had changed significantly in the meantime, in 2005 a process of defining new priorities and establishing new forms of regional cooperation was initiated. The Decision on establishing RCC, priorities and dynamics of preparing the founding documents was reached and adopted at the SEE Stability Pact Regional Table in Belgrade in May 2006.
The entire process of defining new concepts of regional cooperation took shape within SP SEE and SEE Cooperation Process ( SEECP ) with the active participation of the European Commission and a number of interested donors. At the Summit of the SEE Cooperation process held in Zagreb 11 May 2007, the Statute stipulating that the seat of RCC and its secretariat would be established in Sarajevo was adopted. The two-year process of transforming the Stability Pact into RCC was finished at the RCC Inaugural meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, in February 2008.
Establishment of the RCC formed the " structure " of South East Europe regional cooperation, the very Cooperation Process being its basis as the main political forum , and the Regional Cooperation Council was functionally linked to the Process .
RCC included eleven countries participating in the Cooperation Process (Albania , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Bulgaria , Croatia, Greece , Macedonia , Moldova, Romania , Serbia , Turkey and Montenegro ), UNMIK "on behalf of Kosovo under UNSCR 1244," ' The European Union was represented by the Troika - Chairman of the EU Council , the Commission and the Council Secretariat , the European Parliament , as well as a number of countries and institutions will continue to actively support regional cooperation in SEE. Amendments to the RCC Statute and annexes I and II were adopted at the RCC 27th meeting in February 2013, where the representatives of the Pristina provisional institutions were presented as “Kosovo” pursuant to the agreement reached in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.
RCC meets in full session once a year simultaneously with the Cooperation Process state summit. The RCC Board, as an operational body consists of national coordinators of participating institutions, funded by the RCC Secretariat, meets on quarterly basis. he RCC Secretariat has Liaison Office to the EU in Brussels.
The budget for the financing of the Secretariat is approximately 3 million EUR, with regional countries allocating funds for one third of the budget, European Commission (IPA regional component ) for the second third , and the third part is funded by individual countries and donors who express interest to do so.
The RCC statute defines the following tasks: focus on regional cooperation in the framework devised and managed by the region itself, providing political guidance to the working groups and initiatives, as well as the promotion of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. RCC’s activities are carried out within six priority groups: economic and social development, energy and infrastructure; justice and home affairs ; cooperation in the security sector , strengthening human capital and parliamentary cooperation as an " umbrella " subject which is included in all of these priorities.
By establishing the RCC, the SEE region was given the opportunity to work through the reform and EU integrations by being guided by its own needs and priorties. RCC’s aim is not to be a replica of previous mechanisms but rather to grow into an autonomous, dynamically oriented model of cooperation which will directly bring benefits for the SEE region .
Southeastern Europe Defense Ministry - SEDM
The Defence Ministerial Process of South East Europe (Southeastern Europe Defense Ministerial Process - SEDM ) was launched at the proposal of the United States in 1996, its objective being to strengthen cooperation among the SEE countries and the United States in the field of defense. The main objective of the SEDM is promoting understanding and intensifying political and military cooperation in South East Europe in order to strengthen stability and security in the region .
SEDM member states include the U.S., Greece, Italy, Turkey , Slovenia , Romania , Bulgaria, Croatia, Albania, Ukraine, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, while Georgia and Moldova have the status of observer countries.
The decision to accept Serbia as a SEEDM member was made at the ministerial meeting held in Sofia in October 2009. The Republic of Serbia was officially promoted to full membership and at the session of the Government of the Republic of Serbia , at the meeting held on 10 June 2010, the resolution was made on accession to the Agreement on the Establishment of the Coordination Committee of the SEDM . By adopting the above conclusion, the Republic of Serbia completed a procedure at the national level which is the prerequisite envisioned by the Agreement for becoming a full SEDM member. In March 2012 Serbia was granted the status of observer in the Multinational Peacekeeping Force SEE ( Multinational Peace Force Southeastern Europe - MPFSEE ) .
SEDM has no permanent structure , ie. no founding charter or permanent secretariat. However there are mechanisms of cooperation such as the SEDM ministerial meetings , meetings of the Coordination Committee (SEDM -CC ), the meetings of the Committee for thepolitical militaryl control ( PMSC ) and meetings of SEDM deputy CHODs. The deputy defense ministerial forum is currently suspended . Decisions made at the meetings of SEDM defense ministers serve as guidelines for future initiatives, and to date various consultation exercises and projects have built effective cooperation among the SEE countries in the field of defense strengthening the interoperability of the armed forces of partnership with NATO have been initiated.
The SEDM Coordination Committee SEDM -CC was formally established in October 2000 and is tasked with monitoring and providing policy guidelines for all projects that are initiated within SEDM. Romania presided SEDM –CC in the period 2001-2003, Turkey in the period 2003-2005, Albania from 2005 to 2007 , Macedonia 2007 to 2009 , Bulgaria from 2009 to 2011 , Italy 2011-2013, only to be taken over by Romania on 1 July 2013.
The Political-Military Steering Committee - PMSC is the governing body for the Multinational Peace Force Southeastern Europe - MPFSEE the operational component being a peacekeeping brigade-the South-Eastern Europe Peacekeeping Brigade – SEEBRIG.
As part of the SEDM a number of successful activities and initiatives were launched , such as the Multinational Peacekeeping Force SEE - MPFSEE and their operational component in the form of a peacekeeping brigade in SEE - SEEBRIG ; project simulation exercise ( Southeastern Europe Simulation Network - SEESIM ) Project telemedicine - IMIHO , initiative to build integrity and the conference on the role of women leaders in the fields of defense and security. The Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia took part in all ministerial meetings , and conferences of the Coordinating Committee of Deputy Chief of the SEDM countries since 2006 and was actively involved in all projects of the initiative .
Western Balkans defense cooperation forum - SEEC
The Western Balkans defense cooperation forum - SEEC (since its establishment in 2011 the official title of the Forum was South East Europe Clearinghouse - SEEC ) is a regional security initiative launched in 2004 at the proposal of the Republic of Slovenia and the Armed Forces of the United States to Europe. SEEC goal is to achieve better coordination of donors in providing assistance to countries in the SEE region.
At the first Forum conference, held in Ljubljana in the end of 2004, a request was made to the SEE countries in the form of projects to specify the areas they might need help with. On this occasion, certain countries were determined which would serve as chair countries those countries- recipients of aid. The chairing country in the Working Group for Serbia in the SEEC is determined by the United Kingdom . Under the auspices of the SEES a donor conference in Belgrade in June 2006 was held which resulted in a donation of 4.5 million EUR for approximately 64 projects for the Republic of Serbia's defense system reform .
The meetings of Assistant Secretaries of Defense at regional level were introduced in 2007. The meetings were conceived as a mechanism which the SEEC Partner countries (Albania , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Macedonia, Serbia , Croatia , Montenegro and Slovenia) would use to identify proposals and agree on the establishment of regional centers while the donors can earmark their funds more effectively. It was decided that these meetings of assistant secretaries be held once a year as pat of the forum, and if needed more often.
In order to show its commitment, and to give its contribution to the building of trust and cooperation in the region, the Republic of Serbia has offered those capacities that are recognized and acknowledged not only at the regional level: CBRD Centre, Military Medical Academy, Base "JUG" , the Centre for Peacekeeping Operations, and the Center for the destruction of ammunition and weapons TRZ Kragujevac .
The joint Statement of Defence Ministers of the Forum member countries to help SEE in the formation of three regional centers , signed in 2009, on establsihing CRBD personnel advanced training center in Krusevac, the Center for Peacekeeping Operations BiH (PSOTC ) Butmir and the Media Centre in Skopje were declared regional centers .
During 2011, the Ministry of Defence organized the 11th SEEC Clearinghouse Conference as well as the 1st Conference of Military Medicine for South Eastern Europe. That same year, the Steering Committee meeting of the Peace Support Operations Training Center - PSOTC in Butmir , Bosnia and Herzegovina , the Republic of Serbia participated as partner for the first time, while a representative of the Ministry of Defence was sent to the institution as a lecturer for a period of two years.
As the project developed under the auspices of the SEEC, in line with the conclusions of the first Military Medicine Conference of the SEE countries, a group was formed to evaluate the capacity of military medical services of the SEE countries. There have been 10 meetings of the Group, which has so far focused its activities on the development of the Balkan Military Medical Corps concept and defining the need for training of medical personnel in the armed forces .
At the 11th Conference of the Forum for help SEE countries, held from 25 to 27 May 2011 in Belgrade, the question of the transfer of presidency of SEEC conferences on regional coountries was opened. It was agreed that the annual chairmanship should be divided between two states, one in the region and one outside of the Western Balkans. At the meeting of the political directors of Southeast Europe in October 2011 in Tirana , approved the Rules of Procedure , renamed the initiative, thus instead of '' Help Forum SEE countries - SEEC '' new '' name forum for cooperation in the defense of the Western Balkans - SEEC
Center for Security Cooperation in Southeast Europe - RACVIAC
Center for Security Cooperation in Southeast Europe - RACVIAC was established in October 2000th in the framework of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe Rakitju near Zagreb , Croatia, and initially dealt with arms control and application of trust and security . The role of the Centre is to strengthen dialogue and cooperation through a partnership of member states and other international actors to contribute to and support regional security and stability.
The Centre's activities are expanded over time , and focal areas of cooperation are:
• Cooperative security with a focus on arms control ;
• Reform of the security sector;
• International and regional cooperation aimed at European integration.
The center consists of permanent and associate members as well as observers. RACVIAC permanent member states (core members) are: Albania , Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia , Greece , Macedonia, Montenegro , Romania , Serbia and Turkey . The affiliated members are: Austria , Czech Republic , Denmark, France , Germany, Hungary , Italy , the Netherlands , Norway, Russia, Slovenia , Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, while the sates with observer status include: Canada , Moldova, Poland , Slovakia , Ukraine and the USA.
The center is funded by annual contributions of fixed and Associate Members. The management and the most important body of the Centre for Security Cooperation SEE - RACVIAC is the Multinational Advisory Group - MAG composed of representatives of the Member States at the deputy ministers’ level.
MAG sessions are held twice a year, in April and October each year, one is held in the chair country and the other at the RACVIAC center. The MAG chairperson is a representative of a RACVIAC member state with a one year term in office.
The Republic of Serbia signed the RACVIAC (Centre for Security Cooperation Agreement) Agreement in Budva, Montenegro on14 March 2010, while the national ratification procedure was completed in December 2011. This made the Republic of Serbia the 5th state to ratify the agreement, which has entered into force, and in this sense, Serbia gave its full support to the completion of the transformation and the start of a better functioning of the RACVIAC centre. Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia has committed itself to participating in the Centre's work by participating in meetings of the Multinational Advisory Group (MAG) including the Permanent Representative of the Centre, as well as inviting and hosting speakers and listeners in activities organized by the Centre in accordance with international law .
In accordance with the primary aim of establishing RACVIAC with the financial support of affiliated members, there was a marekd trend to make the Centerthe region’s ownership. The center with its ever growing academic orientation, in addition to the existing large number of military personnel has demonstrated the need for and has showed a vested interest in becoming more present of academic, civil and non-governmental sectors. The Centre cooperates with the UN, OSCE, NATO, and other sub-regional , regional and global international organizations.
RACVIAC is one of the top regional initiatives with 30 activities per year in areas that are of great importance for the region , as all the countries of the region are undergoing transition at various stages, mostly on their way to European and Euro-Atlantic integration, therefore facing and sharing the same issues and obstacles .
The cooperation of Serbian MoD with the Centre has been assessed as very successful. In addition to educationalone the most remarkable results of cooperation wase the signing of a joint declaration in Belgrade pertaining to the simplification of legal procedures of cross-border cooperation of maritime and air search and rescue services among the countries of the region - which is recognized as a key common interest .
As part of Serbia’s strategic commitment to meeting the criteria in the process of European integration and active contributions to regional cooperation, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia will chair the MAG in the period October 2013 - October 2014.
The Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia harmonizes its action plans with RACVIAC on an annual level, with the representatives of MoD participating in conferences, round tables, workshops, seminars and courses organized by the Centre .
The Balkan CHODs conference
The Balkan CHODs was established at the initiative of Greece and Turkey in 2006.
The aim of the forum is to discuss as well as reinforce military-military cooperation of the Balkan states, and to tackle all security challenges, risks and threats in the region in an adequate manner. Most of the activities of the forum consist of training and education, or activities performed jointly with the aim to reach the required level of interoperability needed for joint activities in various situations. This is primarily related to the implementation of joint military exercises, as well as making annual estimates of asymmetric threats in the Balkans.
The Balkan CHODs conference is held once a year with a view to its implementation , and the implementation of activities with a common list of activities, meetings are held :
• Coordination Group
• Subgroups of education, training and exercises
• Subgroups of asymmetric threats and
• Team project SEEETN configuration , if necessary, and conferences for the implementation of joint exercises .
So far seven conferences of Balkan CHODs have been held, the 3rdd conference was in Belgrade in June 2009 and the last in Tirana, Albania from 21st to 23rd May 2013.
As part of the realization of the list of common activities, SAF will host a joint exercise of the special units Balkan countries special forces entitled EAGLE 2013 which will be held in Pancevo from the 20th to 26th October 2013. This active participation in the Conference of Chiefs Balkan Republic of Serbia only serves to confirm its active presence in the region and commitment to intensifying regional cooperation.