The SEEGROUP continued its work in Brussels, meeting regularly usually once a week at NATO Headquarters. Romania assumed the chairmanship on January 1 and will chair the group until the end of 2002.
Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia *, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia continued their participation in the SEEGROUP. In this period, SEEGROUP agreed to invite the Republic of Moldova to be part of the group. All countries of the region including Allies, Partners and non-Partners, as well as several Allies and Partners with active assistance programmes in the region take part now in the SEEGROUP. Equally active participation of regional countries, non-regional PfP Partner countries as well as NATO Allies ensured strong support and wide basis for the SEEGROUP's work.
Representatives of the Stability Pact for South East Europe, Mr. Stewart Henderson and Mr. Sabri Ergen, continued to regularly attend the meetings, providing a vital link to the practical and project-oriented regional co-operation in the area of security and defense. Also, t he Chairman of the Stability Pact Working Table on Security Issues, Ambassador Vladimir Drobnjak of Croatia addressed SEEGROUP in March on his chairmanship's priorities in 2002
Support and facilitation of the NATO International Staff representatives remained pivotal for the work of the SEEGROUP and its interaction with the Alliance. Particularly valuable was the support of the Facilitator, Mr. Burak Akcapar (DPAO), as well as Mr. Marc Francis (Executive Secretariat), Mr. Fred C. Parker (DPA) and Maj. Stephan Leistenschneider (SHAPE).
SEEGROUP has focused its activity on three main directions: one is the SEE common assessment paper (SEECAP) and the security sector reform; second is the approach to asymmetric threats and related security issues such as combating terrorism and border control; and third is facilitating coordination with other initiatives and bodies in the region, such as the Stability Pact, the South East Europe Defence Ministerials or the SECI Center for Combating Trans-border Crime. The scope of these and other activities required intensified efforts, so the SEEGROUP maintained the dynamics of its work at weekly meetings.
Compendium of Anti-Terrorism Measures in South-East Europe
Following the special meetings of the SEEGROUP dedicated to the fight against terrorism, SEEGROUP decided to prepare a Compendium of Anti-Terrorism Measures in South East Europe. The aim of the compendium is to achieve a basis for possible future co-ordinated action in this field, with all interested actors. The Compendium will be shared with the EAPC with the invitation to expand its coverage beyond the SEE region.
The work on the Compendium progressed with a new structure, which emphasizes concrete measures, and active contributions from participating countries. The senior level meeting in Bucharest on June 4, 2002, is expected to start develop the basis of the ‘ideas and recommendation for the future’ part of the Compendium, which is the aim and highlight of this working, open-ended, document.
The Pilot Paper for the Southeast Europe Comparative Study on National Security Strategies had been agreed in autumn 2001 and envisaged a Scoping Study to be conducted by a think-tank with expertise in security issues.
Accordingly, a Scoping Study is being carried out by a team of three – Dr. Jonathan Eyal from the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies (the “Lead Implementer”), Commander Gheorghe Anghel, Defence Adviser to the Romanian Foreign Minister, and Mr. Stuart Brearley from the UK Ministry of Defence, Defence Advisory Team - thanks to the financial support provided by the UK Government. The Scoping Study identified the parameters for the main SEESTUDY based on an initial assessment of requirements in Bulgaria , Romania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia . The Preliminary Scoping Study recommended that the main study should proceed.
Another SEECAP follow-up project, Exchange of Political Military and Other Early Warning, Conflict Prevention, Crisis Management Information (SEECHANGE) has progressed with the adoption of the Concept Paper (see annexes). Following a period of consultation and scoping work, SEEGROUP will commence in the time ahead to produce the final Guidelines for voluntary information exchanges with the following objectives:
- Provide for exchanges of information on the subject matter among the participating countries;
- Provide a mechanism for these exchanges of information;
- Enhance the early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and combating terrorism capabilities of the participating countries;
- Enhance co-operation and where relevant joint action in addressing issues of common concern identified in the SEECAP.
According to the Concept Paper, the information to be exchanged can be factual or an analysis or assessment. The originating States will determine what information to exchange and will be responsible for the information exchanged. Circulation of the information will not imply common assessment. Information exchanged will have relevance for the security challenges identified in the SEECAP.
The Guidelines to be produced will be submitted for endorsement at the level of Ministers. The Guidelines document will be shared with the EAPC and the Stability Pact following its adoption.
This activity is being originated and led by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia * .
SEECAP has identified security sector reform as a key area of emphasis. Accordingly, the initiative to p romote civil-military interaction in security management (SEEMAG) was included in the SEEGROUP Action Plan last autumn. The initiative, led by Bulgaria and Switzerland , aims to promote in particular relations among the security forces, special services, border guards, as well as their cooperation with MoDs and armed forces.
In this context, a Bulgarian/Swiss/UK-sponsored workshop will be held in Sofia on 27-28 June. The workshop, which is open to the EAPC framework and prepared under SEEGROUP auspices, will focus on:
- Security sector capacity to manage non-military risks (terrorism, trafficking in arms, etc.) on a coordinated footing;
- Formal and informal interfaces among national security-related agencies and international organizations and institutions (NATO, EU, OSCE, UN, INTERPOL, EUROPOL, and others);
- Regional approaches to border security;
- EAPC as a springboard for identifying new approaches in countering the security risks of the post-September 11 environment;
The workshop outcome is expected also to contribute besides its nominal topics to other SEEGROUP projects and areas of interest such as SEECHANGE, SEESTUDY or SEESTAFF.
The Foreign Ministers of the endorsing countries reviewed the South East Europe Common Assessment Paper on Regional Security Challenges and Opportunities (SEECAP), one year after its adoption in Budapest on May 29, 2001, within the framework of SEEGROUP (see annexes).
Countries reiterated full support for the SEECAP, which remains a beacon of their common vision and an important impetus for joint efforts to promote regional cooperation including concrete initiatives on security sector reform. The review acknowledged that there is a complementary role for regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism and expressed commitment to explore this fully. In combating criminal networks, special attention should be paid to measures aimed at reinforcing border security and cross-border cooperation.
The Ministers tasked representatives in SEEGROUP to continue its work and develop new initiatives in support of SEECAP's vision of a stable, secure and prosperous South East Europe, fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community.
SEESTAFF Implementation and border security issues
Bulgaria provided important information on joint measures taken with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia * to exchange and train border security personnel. An annual Co-operation Protocol was signed on March 28, 2002, by the Border Police services of the two countries. The Protocol aims at establishing direct contacts at expert level and interaction in countering illegal migration and trans-border crime in order to achieve effective border security and control on both sides of the common border. On February 26, 2002, in Skopje, the Ministers of Interior of the two countries signed an Agreement on training of officials of the Ministry of the Interior of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia * in the High Institute for Officer Training and Research and in other educational and training facilities of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior.
These measures are directly in line with implementation of "Framework Guidelines for the Exchange of Border Security Personnel in South East Europe" (SEESTAFF), adopted in autumn 2001 by SEEGROUP. In it, the participating countries agreed, as a matter of priority, to begin the exchange of liaison officials at border crossings and in headquarters, as well as to consider other forms of border security personnel exchanges.
SEEGROUP followed constantly NATO’s activities for increasing border security and interdicting smuggling operations in the regions of the South-East Europe where Allied troops and missions are deployed.
Ambassador Robert Serry, NATO Director for Crisis Management and Operations and Head of NATO’s Balkan Taskforce, briefed the SEEGROUP on Alliance’s efforts to enhance regional cooperation in border security and the preparations of the Ohrid Symposium of July 16-17, 2002. As a consequence, the SEEGROUP offered to contribute to the build-up of the Ohrid Symposium by initiating a specific clearing-house on border security measures.
On the topic of border security, Mr. Bernd Hemingway, expert from the Office of Stability Pact’s Special Coordinator, briefed SEEGROUP on his organization orientations and priorities.
SEEGROUP has developed an active pursue of cooperation and synergy with other security and defense-related initiatives in South-East Europe.
In cross-representation, Mr. Ovidiu Dranga, Chairman of South East Europe Defense Ministerials Coordination Committee (SEDM-CC), presented the activity of this body to SEEGROUP, and Mr. Cosmin Boiangiu, Chairman-in-Office of SEEGROUP, briefed the first quarterly meeting in 2002 of SEDM-CC. Both groups are currently exploring ways in which further cooperation between them could be achieved, especially in the fields of border security and combating terrorism.
In this period, the following representatives also briefed SEEGROUP on their activity:
- Mrs. Cvetka Krajic Tomin, Slovenia, Executive Secretary of the Disaster Preparedness Iniative (DPPI) under WTIII of the Stability Pact;
- Ambassador Dr. Theodor H. Winkler, Director, and Dr. Philipp Fluri, Deputy Director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF);
- Mr. Tim Donais, Researcher from York University Center/Canada, on the work on Security Sector Reform the inventory/gaps analysis prepared for the WTIII on Security of the Stability Pact.
- Mr. Jack Hemsley, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, on the projects for retraining of redundant military personnel.
The Action Plan for 2002 is defined by the determination of the SEEGROUP participating countries that the SEEGROUP should remain the main forum to develop and implement activities recommended by the EAPC, through the PMSC, in the framework of the SEEI. It also takes into account the need to follow-up on the SEECAP recommendations.
The SEEGROUP will continue to follow up on the activities in which it has a leading, supporting or otherwise substantial role; and it will continue its steering, co-ordination, clearing-house and information exchange activities.
Particular emphasis will be given to the issues of security sector reform; strengthening of public visibility of the SEEGROUP work; enhancing SEEGROUP co-operation and coordination with other regional initiatives; and sharing of experience with countries from other regions.
According to the tasking of Foreign Ministers, progress is expected on the following concrete projects under work in SEEGROUP in the second part of 2002:
- the comparative study of national security strategies in South East Europe (SEESTUDY);
- the project on the exchange of political-military and other early warning, conflict prevention and crisis management information (SEECHANGE);
- the exchanges of border security personnel in South East Europe (SEESTAFF);
- the SEEMAG initiative, to promote civil-military interaction in security management, to be launched by a workshop in June 2002;
- the Compendium of Anti-Terrorism Measures in South East Europe .
- Concept Paper on Exchange of Political Military and Other Early Warning, Conflict Prevention, Crisis Management Information (SEECHANGE);
- SEECAP One Year On.
* Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia and Turkey recognize the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.