Updated: 12-Jun-2001 NATO Backgrond Information

June 2001

Background Note

South East Europe Common Assessment Paper (SEECAP)

The South East Europe Common Assessment Paper on Regional Security Challenges and Opportunities was endorsed in Budapest on 29 May 2001 at a ceremony attended by Foreign Ministers. This note provides some background information on the document hailed by the Foreign Ministers as a milestone.

The Process

  1. The South East Europe Common Assessment Paper was one of a set of proposals for activities in support of the South East Europe Initiative developed by NATO's Political Military Steering Committee for Partnership for Peace and approved by the North Atlantic Council. The package included activities that could be NATO-sponsored and activities that needed to be supported by the Alliance, but regionally-led. SEECAP was based on the idea that common perceptions of the security challenges facing the region would promote common action to address these challenges and ultimately lead to security strategies and defence planning based on these agreed common perceptions.
  2. Romania agreed to be the coordinator and launched the process in Bucharest in October 2000. The group included Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1), Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States, Denmark and France. The FRY was invited to observe, and subsequently requested, and was accepted, to be a participant. The work was carried out at NATO headquarters under Romanian Chairmanship with Dr. Burak Akçapar of NATO providing advice as Facilitator. Allies have characterised their participation in various ways, from full participant to observer.
  3. Working Table III has been kept informed of the SEECAP project since its Sarajevo meeting. The Chairman of the Working Table III supported the development of the SEECAP by contributing to a Seminar held in Istanbul in April 2001.


  1. SEECAP details the security and risk perceptions of the regional countries under the headings: the security environment; political; defence and military; economic; social and democratic development; and environmental challenges. The last section is devoted to opportunities to address these challenges.
  2. Some key elements of the SEECAP in various chapters are as follows:
    • Reaffirms that SEE countries perceive no direct threat of military aggression on the part of the others' national sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence.
    • The future stability and security in SEE will depend on successful management of inter-ethnic, -religious and -cultural relations.
    • Reform of the entire spectrum of the security sector is a necessity, including through further adaptation of military and security strategies and doctrines, transparency of defence planning and budgeting.
    • In the economic field, institutional restructuring and reform including governmental, industrial, financial or banking areas is needed.
    • As regards democratic development, protecting democratic gains and sustaining progress in consolidating democracy and the rule of law is a major challenge.
    • In the social area, the radical transformation of the social system and the consequences of conflicts and instability of the preceding decade continue to exert considerable strain.
    • Concerning the environment, SEE's valuable environmental resources face a variety of challenges and have been degrading over the years, creating a threat to human safety and damage to the economic value of the valuable resources.
    • Organised crime is a cross-cutting challenge bearing on various areas.


  1. The document sets out the following main follow-up elements:
    • SEECAP will be presented to various regional and broader fora for consideration, including the Stability Pact, Southeast Europe Co-operation Process, Southeast Europe Defence Ministerials, and others;
    • A study is envisaged regarding national security strategies and how they compare to SEECAP;
    • As a first step toward reform of various security agencies, transparency and contacts is recommended;
    • SEECAP will be periodically reviewed and updated.
  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.

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