SEE4FUTURE – THE SLOVENIAN CHAIRMANSHIP-IN-OFFICE
OF THE SEECP PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY 2017/2018
On 1 July 2017, the Republic of Slovenia started its one-year chairmanship (July 2017 – June 2018) of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP). The chairmanship was taken over from the Republic of Croatia at the summit of the heads of state and government in Dubrovnik on 30 June 2017.
The SEECP is a regional process, a forum of diplomatic and political dialogue of participating countries from South Eastern Europe, coordinated by the country holding the chairmanship. The chairmanship follows the principle of one-year rotation (July - June). The SEECP was launched in Sofia in 1996 with a view to strengthening regional cooperation and trust, good neighbourly relations, stability and security, economic relations and engagement in the human dimension, justice, the fight against organised crime and the fight against terrorism.
The SEECP Parliamentary Assembly was formally established at the Conference of the Speakers of Parliaments of the SEECP countries held in Bucharest between 9 and 11 May 2014. The Assembly takes place at the level of the presidents of parliaments of the SEECP countries. Its mission is to strengthen cooperation and coordinate activities among the parliaments of the participating countries in order to guarantee peace, security, stability, and cooperation in the region. It represents a platform to discuss issues that are relevant to the region and provides an opportunity to respond to questions concerning the SEECP countries and their citizens.
Slovenia joined the SEECP in 2010, thus also becoming a member of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly.
Thematic priorities and motto of the Slovenian chairmanship
The Slovenian chairmanship will follow the motto SEE4Future – South Eastern Europe for Future, with substantive priorities focusing on the enlargement of the European Union, security, positive perspective for young people, and digital transformation of society.
Under the priority ‘Enlarged Europe’, we intend to provide further and active support to the EU enlargement policy. We believe that the European perspective of the entire South Eastern Europe should not only be preserved, but also put into practice. The recent developments in the EU, particularly Brexit and the debates on the future of the EU, have in fact caused some uncertainties regarding its further enlargement. The enlargement policy therefore needs new impetus, while its actual dynamics should be supported and ensured in the framework of an individual approach, based on the candidates’ fulfilment of conditions on one hand and on the continuation of the enlargement process on the other.
Another priority is ‘Secure Europe’. Over the past years, Slovenia has been at the forefront in developing an efficient coordination mechanism in the area of security, particularly with regard to the fight against organised crime and terrorism and the provision of better border control. For such reason, Slovenia's initiative known as the IISG (Integrative Internal Security Governance) was launched, intertwining on the regional platform all three security pillars. We will continue the work started, in cooperation with the RCC (Regional Cooperation Council), also during our SEECP PA chairmanship.
The third priority is ‘Young Europe’. In the framework thereof, we would like to ensure that the opportunities for the young remain high on the agenda of debates. In such regard, our efforts to provide a better future for the young also within the South Eastern European region will be guided by the Positive Agenda for the Youth, launched in the context of the Brdo-Brijuni process. Slovenia will continue to promote the awareness that young people of the region need to be provided with hope, better educational and employment opportunities, and better living conditions. While providing positive opportunities, youth mobility – both between the EU and the region as well as within the region – is an essential element to complete the reconciliation process and deter radical ideas and negative values.
Last but not least, our fourth priority is ‘Digital Europe’. The region of South Eastern Europe must be capable of shaping the future in a manner such that it will not merely follow the other players in the international arena. Digitalisation is one of the key issues that will decide our willingness to assume an important role in the future economic and social progress of Europe.
Programme of the Slovenian Chairmanship
The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia attributes considerable importance to the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation that aspires to become the region’s leading parliamentary organisation and that undoubtedly represents the right platform to address the demanding challenges faced by South Eastern Europe.
The SEECP Parliamentary Assembly holds its plenary session once a year. The session is led by the president of the parliament of the country holding the SEECP chairmanship. The Parliamentary Assembly comprises a Standing Committee and three general committees, namely:
- Committee on the Economy, Infrastructure and Energy,
- Committee on Justice, Home Affairs and Security Cooperation, and
- Committee on Social Development, Education, Research and Science.
Considering the programme of work of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly adopted in Zagreb on 10 June 2017, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia will organise:
- two sessions of the SEECP PA Standing Committee, the first one expectedly in December 2017; and
- a plenary session of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly expectedly in April/May 2018, in the framework of which there will also be a session of the Standing Committee and of the three General Committees.
You are kindly invited to attend and support the SEE4Future.
Section for International Relations, Protocol and Translation
16. 12. 1997
Meeting of the Standing Committee of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly.
On 16 December 2017, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia hosted the meeting of the Standing Committee of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly. The meeting was closed to the public.
On 1 July 2017, Slovenia began its one-year Chairmanship-in-Office of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), which it took over from Croatia on 30 June. The SEECP is a regional process established in Sofia in 1996 with a view to strengthening regional cooperation and trust, good neighbourly relations, stability and security, economic relations and cooperation in the human dimension, justice, fight against organised crime, and fight against terrorism. The regional process is also a forum for the diplomatic and political dialogue among the participating countries from South-East Europe, coordinated by the respective Chairmanship-in-Office.
Slovenia joined the SEECP in 2010, thus also becoming a member of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly (PA). The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia attaches considerable importance to the SEECP PA – an organisation aspiring to become the leading parliamentary organisation in the region and representing the most suitable platform for addressing the demanding challenges of South-East Europe.
The meeting of the Standing Committee was chaired by National Assembly deputy and Standing Committee member Branko Zorman. At the beginning, the participants were addressed by the President of the National Assembly and Head of National Assembly Delegation to the SEECP PA dr. Milan Brglez.
Welcome address by Dr Milan Brglez, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia and Head of Delegation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia to the SEECP PA
16 December 2017
I would like to welcome you On behalf of the Slovenian Chairmanship-in-Office of the Parliamentary Assembly of the South East Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) and thank you for participating in the today's meeting of the SEECP PA Standing Committee in Ljubljana.
With an ambitious desire to become the leading parliamentary organisation in the region, SEECP offers the opportunity to confront the views and ideas of individual countries of the region, while also shaping their common will. The National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia attaches great importance to SEECP Parliamentary Assembly, as we consider it to be the most suitable platform for addressing the demanding challenges of South-East Europe. Indeed, many of these challenges are common to us all, which is why individual countries find it difficult to cope with them. Therefore, mutual understanding and constructive cooperation are vital and make an exclusive contribution to addressing the challenges in given circumstances of regional interdependence.
The motto of the Slovenian Chairmanship – SEE4FUTURE - South Eastern Europe for Future – also shows the importance of integration and orientation towards the progress of South-East Europe. In this context, the main topics are the enlargement of the European Union to the Western Balkan region, which is also one of the priorities of the Slovenian foreign policy, the strengthening of security, providing opportunities for young people and the digital transformation of society.
The present meeting of the Standing Committee is an opportunity for us, the parliamentarians from South-East Europe, to exchange views, experiences and perspectives on the activities in the region, while at the same time share considerations regarding further development, perspectives and priorities of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly. In this respect, I would, of course, have liked us to part with as clear commitments as possible that will dictate our way forward.
The purpose of such regional cooperation and of addressing common challenges is to create opportunities for achieving the goals such as: improving connectivity in the region, promoting sustainable economic development and creating business and employment opportunities. One of our most important tasks is therefore also to strengthen regional cooperation in Europe between the members and non-members of the European Union with a long-term objective of creating a more stable and more structured partnership in the region. Only the latter will ensure a credible European perspective for every single country of South-East Europe, and hence prosperity for all our citizens.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As parliamentarians we share the responsibility for strengthening regional stability, which can only be achieved by promoting political, economic and security integration and cooperation in the region. Slovenia remains committed to this goal and during its SEECP Chairmanship particularly focuses on strengthening political stability in South-East Europe.
I would also like to stress my sincere wish to find a solution in respect of the next chairmanships at the earliest opportunity, and I suggest that the solution be sought in the spirit pursued by the SEECP, that is, through cooperation, networking and mutual understanding.
I believe that the today's debate will help shape new ideas and views on which we will jointly build the future of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly.
I wish you every success in your work and in achieving the set goals, and allow me to conclude by wishing you all pleasant upcoming holidays and all the best in the New Year.
Thank you very much.
Matej Marn, Political Director/Director General for Common Foreign and Security Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented the priority areas of the Slovenian Chairmanship-in-Office which include: continued support to the EU enlargement policy – enlarged Europe; security – safer Europe; prospects for young people – younger Europe; and the digital transformation of society – digital Europe.
The scope and key projects of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) were presented by the Deputy RCC Secretary General Gazmed Turdiu. The participants agreed to establish cooperation between the SEECP PA and the RCC in a manner such that SEECP PA invites RCC and its experts whenever deemed necessary for substantive consultations on topics of RCC’s expertise. The participants also discussed the further development and future of the SEECP PA, focusing in particular on the work of this organisation which does not yet have a permanent secretariat as an agreement on the seat thereof has not yet been reached. Moreover, the participants were briefed on the priorities of Bulgaria’s EU Presidency which will take place in the first half of next year.
On Friday 15 December, the participants of the Standing Committee meeting were received in the Town Hall by the Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Jankovič.
More information on the SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office is available at:
http://www.dz-rs.si/wps/portal/Home/mediji/novice/novica/2ead3ab0-6ed8-43ca-a672-534015043884/ (in Slovene)
17 March 2018
Meeting of the SEECP PA Standing Committee in Bled
On Saturday 17 March 2018, a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP PA) took place in Bled. The Standing Committee meeting was chaired by the deputy of the National Assembly and Chairman of the SEECP PA Standing Committee, Branko Zorman. The meeting was intended for the preparation of documents for the SEECP PA Plenary Session which will be held this April in Ljubljana and will be attended by the parliaments of the SEECP PA.
More about the meeting (in Slovene only).
13 and 14 April 2018
The Fifth Plenary Session of the South-East European Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly
The National Assembly hosted on Friday, 13 April, and Saturday, 14 April 2018, the Fifth Plenary Session of the South-East European Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly (SEECP PA).
The plenary session chaired by the President of the National Assembly and the Chairman of the SEECP PA dr. Milan Brglez was attended by 13 delegations of the SEECP PA parliaments and their heads among whom also the Speaker of the National Assembly of Serbia Maja Gojković, the President of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo Kadri Veseli, Speaker of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia Talat Xhaferi, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mladen Bosić, Deputy Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Željko Reiner and Deputy Speaker of Grand National Assembly Yaşar Tüzün, and the representatives of international and regional organisations of the Baltic Assembly, the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference (BSPC), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PASBSEC), the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC). The representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia attending the session will be the State Secretary Andrej Logar and the Slovenian SEECP C-i-O Coordinator Damijan Sedar.
More about the meeting (in Slovene only .
OPENING SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DR. MILAN BRGLEZ AT THE FIFTH PLENARY SESSION OF THE SEECP PA
Ljubljana, 14 April 2018
Ladies and gentlemen,
Greetings and welcome to Ljubljana. I am pleased to be able to welcome you to the Fifth Plenary Session of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly which, for the first time since we have joined this process in 2010, takes place under the chairmanship of the Parliament of Ljubljana.
We have chosen a meaningful slogan – ‘SEE4FUTURE’ – to be the motto of our Chairmanship-in-Office, whereby we would like to inform our partners in the region that we support and encourage discussions and that we are committed to a primarily future-oriented, all-inclusive cooperation. Therefore, the priorities we have chosen focus on EU enlargement, security, a positive perspective for the young, and the digital transformation of the society. These are the very topics that will have to be addressed in the coming years by our joint constructive action.
Under the priority ‘Enlarged Europe’, we wish to highlight our constant, continuous, and active support to the EU enlargement policy. The European perspective of the entire South Eastern Europe should not only be preserved, but also put into practice. A special item on today’s agenda is devoted to this issue to exchange views and positions, since the recent developments in the EU and the new challenges our region is facing put these into a fully new perspective. The enlargement policy indeed needs new impetus, while its dynamics should be supported and ensured in the framework of an individual approach, which should be mutually based on the fulfilment of conditions on one hand and on the adequate progress of candidates and potential candidates on the other.
Next among the priorities is ‘Safe Europe’. Over the past years, Slovenia has been at the forefront in developing an efficient coordination mechanism in the area of security, particularly with regard to the fight against organised crime and terrorism and the provision of better border control. We believe this issue deserves special attention also in the future.
The third priority of the Slovenian Chairmanship-in-Office is ‘Young Europe’. In the framework thereof, we wish to ensure that the opportunities for the young remain high on the agenda of debates at all levels. A guidance to our efforts to provide a better future for the young also within the South Eastern region of Europe is the Positive Agenda for the Youth, launched in the context of the Brdo-Brijuni process.
The fourth priority and an increasingly topical issue is ‘Digital Europe’. Digitalisation is certainly one of the key issues that will decide our willingness to assume an important role in the future economic and social progress of Europe. To highlight the significance of digitalisation, the agenda of the Standing Committee meeting held in Bled in March this year included a presentation of the SEEDIG (South Eastern European Dialogue on Internet Governance), which serves as a platform for cooperation and Internet governance in South Eastern Europe among different interest groups.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Last but not least, I wish to emphasise that the National Assembly has placed among the key objectives of its Chairmanship-in-Office also the progress in the institutionalisation of the Parliamentary Assembly, which in the past three and a half years has come to a deadlock. I believe we have a common understanding that a breakthrough in this respect is not just necessary but absolutely imperative for the future development of this organisation, which aspires to become the leading parliamentary regional organisation.
I am confident that our work today will be carried out in the spirit of a constructive dialogue and, above all, of the awareness that compromises can only be reached when we all make an effort in such direction. Our common starting point and guidance should be to provide equal conditions and equal bases for each and every participant of the process.
SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DR. MILAN BRGLEZ AT THE FIFTH PLENARY SESSION OF THE SEECP PA
Ljubljana, 14 April 2018
“SEE4FUTURE: SEECP PA perspective in the light of
new geopolitical relations in Europe”
Ladies and gentlemen,
In today's introductory word I have already pointed out that one of the priorities of the Slovenian Chairmanship-in-Office was also the “Enlarged Europe”. With this we wanted to pay special attention to the further enlargement of the EU, the strengthening of stable political and security situation and the assurance of economic and social progress of South-East Europe.
Keeping the challenges of South-East Europe high on the agenda, in the light of the shifts and changes faced by the European Union over the recent years, is therefore of particular relevance. The United Kingdom’s unexpected decision to exit the European Union, the slow progress in framing a clear common migration policy and the related establishment of a common asylum system based on solidarity, the alarming attitude of some countries towards the respect of established fundamental human rights and freedoms and the postulates of the rule of law, the growing threat of terrorism and the alarming increase in extremism, are only some of the most pressing challenges that call for common and concerted responses by Europe. Unfortunately, the search for these responses has largely diverted the attention of the Union, somewhat slowing down the stabilisation and development activities of the region to which we belong.
In such set of circumstances, regional cooperation and the related importance of respecting mutual commitments and understanding, good neighbourly relations, and participation of all partners on an equal footing, have proven to be a viable alternative. After all, the valuable contribution of regional initiatives has also been demonstrated in the history of European integration processes and in opening up European perspectives to new members.
I would therefore like to particularly highlight the significance and necessity of continuing the activities of regional initiatives, especially in supporting non-European Union countries in their EU integration reform process.
In such context, Slovenia also supports the new enlargement strategy of the European Commission which represents a significant substantive contribution to the future orientation of the European Union's enlargement policy. Hence, with our proposals we will certainly take an active part in the process of its implementation.
One of the key starting points of a successful reform process is that its credibility is ensured by the countries themselves, in particular, by implementing appropriate reforms in the area of the rule of law and institution building which are vital for an overall progress. Allow me, therefore, my dear guests, to take this opportunity and express my satisfaction with the positive messages concerning the prospects for progress of Podgorica and Belgrade. Likewise, I sincerely hope that also Skopje and Tirana will be able to start membership negotiations still this year, and I also believe that these steps will provide a stimulus for Sarajevo and Pristina as well.
I would like to address another important aspect of integration, namely the possibilities and significance of effective governance, coordination and cooperation with other organisations and regional mechanisms. The latter are important in view of the possible synergies and added value that can be achieved thereby, and certainly have a potential which is remarkably associating and should be taken every advantage of in the future. On the one hand, such cooperation – be it cross-border, regional or interregional – leads to greater macroeconomic stability, accelerated structural reforms and a favourable environment for investments, while on the other it strengthens joint efforts in the fight against terrorism, organised crime and trafficking in human beings, irregular migration and corruption. Multilevel integration and cooperation are therefore not only based on maximising common economic benefits, but also on sharing and building common values. Therefore, I would like to express at this point my satisfaction that the importance of cooperation between regional and sub-regional organisations has also been entered in the joint declaration which we will adopt today.
I am convinced that our common interest and objective is above all the development and progress of the entire South-East Europe, of our economies and, especially, the prosperity of our people. And regional organisations certainly represent an effective mechanism for the implementation of these joint commitments and expectations.
Taking into account the ambition of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly to become the leading regional inter-parliamentary organisation, I believe that with an appropriate approach, this ambition could well be realised. It represents an inclusive platform for meeting the demanding challenges of South-East Europe, while being the right place for a genuine dialogue. As I have already pointed out at the previous plenary session last year in Zagreb, only we – the parliamentarians – have the opportunity to set up and develop the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly as the driving force of progress and development in our region.
Esteemed colleagues, it is my sincere wish that we succeed in this effort.
Thank you for your attention.
Report on the participation of the SEECP PA delegation to the Baltic Assembly and Baltic Council Sessions in Tallinn and on the participation of the SEECP PA delegation to the PABSEC in Kiev by the Chair of the SEECP PA Standing Committee Mr Branko Zorman
On behalf of the Slovenian Chairmanship-in-Office of the Parliamentary Assembly of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) I attended the 36th Session of Baltic Assembly held on 9 and 10 November 2017 in Tallinn and the 50th Plenary Session of PABSEC held on 29 and 30 November 2017 in Kiev.
The 36th Session of Baltic Assembly in Tallinn highlighted the importance of the united, strong and open European Union and emphasized the strengthening of cooperation of the Baltic States with Poland and Finland. They drew attention to Russia’s military posturing and to the importance of NATO’s presence in the region for the security of European and Baltic States and emphasized the importance of increasing the use of financial resources to upgrade defence systems. The participants also highlighted the problems of Eastern European countries, particularly Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Belarus.
The main topic on the agenda of the 50th Plenary Session of PABSEC in Kiev was “Development on Economic Cooperation in the Context of the Security Crisis in the Black Sea Region”. During the debate, the participants highlighted the global economic crisis and its consequences in all PABSEC Member States. They stressed the need to intensify the efforts to maintain stability and democracy in the region and agreed that the goals of security, peace and stability were necessary conditions to achieve the economic development and prosperity. Furthermore, they underlined the need for a crisis management and the promotion of good governance and prosperity.
On both occasions I addressed the participants on behalf of the SEECP PA Presidency. I presented the priorities of Slovenian SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office and stressed that regional cooperation and initiatives were crucial for the promotion of integration processes and sharing experience in various areas. I emphasized the strong support of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly to the regional cooperation in addressing common challenges and creating opportunities for achieving the goals such as: improving connectivity in the region, promoting sustainable economic development and creating business and employment opportunities.
You received a more comprehensive report on attendance at both sessions together with other materials.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me emphasize the importance of exchanging experiences on issues of regional cooperation and integration within the framework of meetings of other international parliamentary organisations. We, as parliamentarians, are co-responsible for strengthening regional stability, which can only be achieved by promoting political, economic and security integration and cooperation in the region.