Southeast European Cooperation Process Info

The South-East Europe Cooperation Processbasic information

The regional initiative Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) was launched on Bulgaria's proposal at the SEE countries Foreign Affairs Ministerial in Sofia in June 1996. The initiative was originally entitled “The process of good neighborly relations, stability, security and cooperation among SEE countries”. This is the only authentic initiative that was launched by the SEE countries themselves and as such represents a unique “voice of the region”. The role of the Process is to create a new future for South Eastern Europe, based on peace, democracy and economic prosperity and full integration of countries of the region into European and Euro-Atlantic structures.

The framework for the functioning of the SEECP means political cooperation that covers issues of security and stability, development of cooperation in economy and environmental protection, promotion of humanitarian, social and cultural cooperation and cooperation in the field of justice, fight against organized crime, terrorism, drug trafficking, arms contraband and human trafficking.

SEECP has 12 countries participating in the Process: Albania, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey. Serbia (as part of the former state union of Serbia and Montenegro) was included in the full scope of activities of SEECP at the Summit held in Skopje, in October 2000.

The most important SEECP document is the Charter on Good-Neighborly Relations, Stability, Security and Cooperation in the SEE, adopted at the meeting of Heads of State and Ministers in Bucharest, on 12 February 2000. The current country chairing the forum is Serbia in the period from June 2011 to July 2012.

Besides such activities within the forum as the SEECP summit, the meeting of the Parliament Speakers, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of Interior, Defense Ministers, the SEECP Troika meetings (where current, previous and next chairing countries meet) are also important. At the SEECP meetings, the chairing country may invite as special guests countries outside the region, international organizations and regional initiatives at its own discretion.

The establishment of the Regional Cooperation Council (RSS), in February 2008, laid the foundations for SEE regional cooperation, with SEECP as the main political forum, while the RSS is functionally linked to the Process representing its institutional and logistical support (through RSS Secretariat and the Secretary-General).

 

Priorities of Serbia’s chairing of SEECP (June 2011 - July 2012)

Special efforts will be placed on the continuation of the democratic processes and the promotion of European values in the SEECP participating countries, with a view of faster integration of all countries of our region into the EU. We will try to revive the reform spirit of our societies with the aim of enhancing accountability, transparency and competency at all levels, as well as to deepen the institutional dialogue with the European Commission and EU institutions.

During its Chairmanship of SEECP, the Republic of Serbia will lay special emphasis on fight against organized crime which poses a permanent threat to the stability of our countries and their future prosperity. This requires the close cooperation and full coordination of police and judicial authorities of all countries in the region.

The Republic of Serbia will pay considerable attention to the strengthening of the
parliamentary dimension of cooperation within the framework of this regional Process. 

Serbian Chairmanship will strive to promote the specific project-oriented cooperation through the regional framework of the Regional Cooperation Council. It will be engaged in the realization of a large number of infrastructural projects in the region, such as Corridors VII and X, as a necessary prerequisite for a better interconnection of the countries in the region and their closer links with neighboring regions, particularly with the EU countries, Middle East, the Caucasus, etc.

Also, the priorities include:
- Overcoming the economic crisis and its effects, strengthening of economic cooperation and trade, attracting investments;
- Raising the level of regional cooperation in the fields of environmental protection, prevention and elimination of the consequences of all types of disasters;
- Promotion of cooperation in education, science and culture;
- Continuation of developing cooperation between this regional cooperation Process and the other regional and international organizations and initiatives. 

During Serbia’s chairmanship, a summit of the Heads of State or Governments  of participating countries (at the end of the term, in June 2012) will be held, as well as a meeting of the Parliament Speakers (second quarter of 2012); at the ministerial level – meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (first informal, then formal on the eve of the summit), of the Ministers of Internal Affairs and Ministers of Science (fourth quarter 2011), Defense Ministers (first quarter 2012), Ministers of Health and Ministers of Trade (the first half of 2012).

In cooperation with relevant ministries, a number of thematic expert meetings (Youth Forum, meeting of European integration coordinators, a meeting dedicated to the development of tourism) will also be held. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will organize a meeting of consular directorates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which will consider consular and visa issues.