6 June 2002
the SEEGROUP Senior Level Meeting, for the Sub-Table on Security and Defense
of the WT III of the Stability Pact
- The SEEGROUP Senior Level meeting took place on April 4, in the margins
of Stability Pact’s Working Table III meeting. The SEEGROUP meeting
was hosted by the SECI Regional Center for Combating Transborder Crime
and was attended by the SEEGROUP countries’ representatives, the
representatives of the NATO IS, the Stability Pact, as well as by those
of the European Commission and the SECI Regional Center.
- The representative of the European Commission/External Relations D.G.
presented the approach of the EU in the field of border management in
the Balkans, in close relationship with the EU’s efforts to fight
illegal migration. The national representatives underlined the importance
of a close coordination of their countries’ efforts on border
security management with the EU’s vision in this area. This coordination
would be also beneficial for the countries’ efforts for EU integration.
Further participation of a European Commission’s representative
in the SEEGROUP meetings was welcomed.
- In connection with the issues related to border security, the representative
of Bulgaria presented the cooperation launched by the Bulgarian and
Macedonian authorities within the SEESTAFF Project, in the management
of the common border, by bilateral exchanges of personnel and information
and through strengthening cooperation at the level of border checkpoints.
The SEEGROUP countries are encouraged to take similar measures.
- The experience of the SECI Regional Center for Combating Transborder
Crime was presented in the SEEGROUP meeting by the Director of the Center’s
Legal Department. The SECI Center is a success story in the area of
regional cooperation in fighting organized crime. It provides an effective
link between the customs and police authorities from eleven South East
European countries, helping considerably the national authorities in
their efforts to combat the activity of criminal networks in the region.
- The participants in the SEEGROUP meeting discussed possible ways to
connect the SECI Center to the SEEGROUP activities and to facilitate,
through SEEGROUP, a contribution of the SECI Center to the regional
security projects under NATO, EU or Stability Pact aegis. There is scope
for cooperation between the SEEGROUP and the SECI Center on concrete
projects, such as the Compendium of Anti-Terrorism Measures in South-East
Europe, SEECHANGE or SEEMAG.
- The SEEGROUP meeting continued with a discussion on the activity of
the group in the first semester of 2002, based of the Chairman’s
Report. The activity was focused on three main areas: the SEECAP (South
East Europe Common Assessment Paper on Regional Security Challenges
and Opportunities) follow-up and the security sector reform; the approach
to asymmetric threats and related security issues, such as combating
terrorism and border control; facilitating coordination with other initiatives
and bodies in the region.
- The current draft of the Compendium of Anti-Terrorism Measures in
South East Europe was discussed. The draft includes concrete measures
and active contributions by countries and organizations in the fight
against terrorism. The SEEGROUP countries will further work in Brussels
on the final chapter of the document, focused on “ideas and recommendations
for the future”. Upon completion, the Compendium will be shared
with the EAPC.
- The representative of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as
the leading country of the SEECHANGE (Exchange of Political Military
and Other Early Warning, Conflict Prevention, Crisis Management Information)
Project, presented technical options on Information Technology (IT)
for creating the system of managing information exchanges under the
prospective SEECHANGE. Discussions will continue in Brussels on the
IT options as well as on the drafting of the guidelines for SEECHANGE.
- The representatives of Switzerland and Bulgaria, as initiating countries,
presented the concept of the EAPC/SEEGROUP workshop “Civil-military
interaction in security management: the case of South East Europe”
(Sofia, June 27-28). The workshop is designed in support of the Bulgarian-Swiss
proposal to launch SEEMAG, a joint endeavor to promote civil-military
interaction in security management under the auspices of SEEGROUP. The
workshop is expected to complement other SEEGROUP projects.
- The participants agreed on the importance to raise the public awareness
and confidence on the work of the group. In this context, the representative
of the NATO Office of Information and Press presented ideas for a media
strategy to increase the visibility of regional SEE cooperation in the
security area. The participants agreed on a SEEGROUP meeting in Brussels,
reinforced with media specialists from capitals, in order to further
develop this idea.
- The Chair presented the priorities for the second half of the mandate:
to continue the follow-up of the SEECAP (as was also tasked in the SEECAP
One Year On document), to finalize the drafting of the Compendium of
Anti-Terrorism Measures in South-East Europe, to continue work on developing
SEECHANGE and SEEMAG, to pursue the SEESTUDY project and to increase
public awareness on SEEGROUP. Particular emphasis will be given to the
issue of enhancing SEEGROUP cooperation and coordination with other
initiatives in the region, as well as to sharing experience with security
mechanisms from other regions.