Updated: 18-Feb-2005 NATO Topics

6 June 2002

Chairman's Report

on the SEEGROUP Senior Level Meeting, for the Sub-Table on Security and Defense of the WT III of the Stability Pact

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.