The SEEGROUP has continued its work in Brussels, meeting approximately every two weeks at NATO Headquarters. Serbia and Montenegro took chairmanship from Albania on January 15 and will chair the group until the end of 2005.
As a unique informal regional forum, SEEGROUP contributes to the fostering of cooperation and the networking of countries of SEE in the security field with the support of Allies through the implementation of concrete projects as well as regular consultation.
The work of SEEGROUP is particularly important given that the countries of SEE have the active leading role and take responsibilities for cooperation in the security sphere.
In addition to interested Allies and Partners, Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina also participate in the work of the SEEGROUP.
Serbia and Montenegro sees its chairmanship as an incentive for further progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration, as well as a great challenge in terms of better insight in the various activities within NATO.
The support and the facilitator’s role of NATO IS representatives continued to considerably enhance the work of SEEGROUP.
The Serbia and Montenegro Chair reported on SEEGROUP activities and on the adopted Action Plan for 2005 to the EAPC/PMSC in March 2005.
ACTION PLAN FOR 2005
The Action Plan for 2005 determines guidelines and priorities of the work in 2005 in order to bring forward ongoing projects, as well as initiate some new activities.
The SEEGROUP seminar on PfP and PARP experience, which was held in Belgrade on 10-11 May 2005, organized by Serbia and Montenegro and Norway, was one of the key events of the first half of 2005.
The main objective of the seminar was to enable civil servants from Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina to understand the scope and the work modalities of the PfP format.
Some 40 international participants from NATO IS, national missions to NATO, MFA and MoD from Allies and Partners took very active participation in the implementation of this project.
Representatives of different ministries from Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina became acquainted with the experience accumulated by their regional neighbors in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration.
EAPC/SEEGROUP Workshop Reflections on Border Management, according to the Action Plan, is envisaged for the end of the first half of 2005 in Ohrid. The key event for the second half of 2005 is a follow-up to SEECAP, which will focus on major challenges in SEE four years after the endorsement of SEECAP.
Information on wider regional perspective and improvement of the visibility of SEEGROUP was also outlined in the Action Plan 2005. During the year, SEEGROUP members will seek to exchange experiences on their national peacekeeping centers as well as defense colleges and academies. We would also like to explore an option to use SEEGROUP for an enhanced political dialogue on regional issues, through, for instance, possible meeting of the SEEGROUP at ambassadorial level.
The SEECHANGE (Exchange of political-military and other early warning, conflict prevention and crisis management information) project, as an internet-based facility, is used daily by the SEEGROUP members in Brussels and the respected capitals.
In this first phase, SEECHANGE is serving as a basic tool for internal communication, while in a later stage, it is expected to become a forum for the exchange of certain political-military information.
During 2004, the SEEGROUP has started a new initiative – the SEEPRO – in order to contribute to the global fight against terrorism. In accordance with the concept of this project, Albania has filled the SEEPRO questionnaire and sent it to the NATO IS, while the relevant NATO team has visited the country. Moldova has filled the questionnaire as well.
It is expected that the other countries will respond to this initiative as soon as possible.
In the implementation of the SEESTAFF Framework Guidelines adopted by the SEEGROUP in Autumn 2001, encouraging willing States to exchange personnel, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Ministries of Defence in Sofia and Skopje proceeded with the exchange of officials for one-week internships. Similar exchanges are under discussion among other SEEGROUP participating States.
In the first half of 2005 several guest speakers briefed the SEEGROUP on their activities.
The representative of NATO IS informed the group of the NATO Trust Fund policy which is being implemented with the cooperation of NAMSA.
The Public Diplomacy representative delivered a presentation on his department’s activities in SEE, with the special focus on the main tools, projects and key partners with the objective of adequate communication to the target groups.
In accordance with the existing successful cooperation, the Stability Pact for the SEE continues to inform the SEEGROUP on its project-oriented policy for the SEE region.
The Clearing House remains the main tool for the exchange of political-security information about the SEE region. This kind of regular communication, within the framework of the SEEGROUP, contributes to the better coordination of projects, the avoiding of overlapping, the fostering of cooperation, and represents a tool for improving capacity-building measures.
The SEEGROUP continues its role as the main forum for the development and implementation of activities, recommended by the EAPC, through the PMSC, in the framework of the SEEI.
In the second half of 2005, the SEEGROUP will continue to work in the general line with the Action Plan in order to give its contribution to the regional cooperation and to the joint efforts for an adequate response to security challenges and threats.