OF THE 13TH MEETING OF THE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN COOPERATION PROCESS (SEECP)
Istanbul, 23 June 2010
We, the Heads of State and Government of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) Participating States, Presidents Mr. Bamir Topi, Mr. Georgi Parvanov, Mr. Ivo Josipović, Mr. Filip Vujanović, Mr. Traian Băsescu, Mr. Boris Tadić and Mr. Abdullah Gül, Chairman of the Presidency Mr. Haris Silajdžić; Prime Ministers Mr. George Papandreou and Mr. Nikola Gruevski; Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Iurie Leancă have met in Istanbul on 23 June 2010 at the 13th Meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the SEECP,
In the presence of the Special Invitees of the Turkish SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office: President Mr. Danilo Turk, EU Commissioner Stefan Füle, Director General of the UNESCO Ms. Irina Bokova, Secretary General of the RCC Mr. Hido Bisčević, Secretary General of the BSEC Mr. Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos and Executive Director of the UNECE Mr. Jan Kubiś, as well as the representatives of the CoE, the OSCE, the EU Presidency, the incoming EU Presidency and the OIC.
In the attendance of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ilir Meta, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs Mr. Sven Alkalaj, Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, Mr. Gordan Jandroković, Mr. Antonio Miloshoski, Mr. Milan Roćen, Mr. Vuk Jeremić, Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Dimitris Droutsas and State Secretary Mr. Bogdan Mazuru.
At this Summit we convened and confirmed the following:
1. We reaffirmed our commitment to regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations based on the principles of the SEECP Charter, the UN Charter, Helsinki Final Act, OSCE and Council of Europe relevant documents as prerequisites for the advancement of the region’s integration process to the European and Euro-Atlantic institutions as well as for ensuring and consolidating its stability and security.
2. We underlined the crucial role of the SEECP as the overarching political forum for regional cooperation in South East Europe, while reiterating our common will to further reinforcing its posture as the genuine cooperation scheme of our region.
3. We reiterated the importance of “regional ownership” and “all-inclusiveness” as indispensable principles for a successful and substantial implementation of regional cooperation in accordance with the statutory documents of respective regional initiatives or organizations in South East Europe.
4. We highlighted our attachment to the European and Euro-Atlantic perspective of South East Europe, depending on individual aspirations of respective countries, which we believe is the best way to achieve lasting peace and stability as well as social and economic development in our region.
5. We underlined the importance of sound regional co-operation and good-neighbourly relations, for the consolidation of stability and economic development of the region, as well as for the advancement of integration processes with European and/or Euro-Atlantic institutions, depending on individual aspirations of respective countries. We agreed to make best use of high level political dialogue to this end.
6. We expressed our firm belief that common historical and cultural heritage as well as shared values and common objectives provide us with the necessary ground for transforming our region into an area of peace, friendship, stability and prosperity.
7. We deplore the loss of life and injuries during the incident in international waters of the Eastern Mediterranean on 31 May 2010, resulting from the use of force by the Israeli military against the convoy sailing to Gaza Strip. We convey our deep condolences and compassion to the families of the casualties. We emphasize our interest in an impartial, independent and internationally credible investigation on this matter. Reaffirming our commitment to international law, we stress the urgent need for alleviation of the humanitarian situation in Gaza. In this context, we expect that the announcements of the Government of Israel will be quickly followed by concrete measures with immediate positive impact on the lives of the people of Gaza.
II. Strengthening Regional Cooperation: SEECP-RCC
8. We expressed our appreciation for the work of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) which, as the operational arm of the SEECP, has taken important steps in transforming our vision of regional cooperation into concrete and targeted project cooperation within the scope of the RCC priority areas.
9. We noted that close links and synergy between the SEECP and the RCC have proven to be of crucial importance for further development and strengthening of regional ownership which will promote regional cooperation processes in South East Europe.
10. We expressed our warm appreciation to Mr. Hido Biscevic, Secretary General of the RCC, for his devoted work in fulfilling the mandate of the RCC.
11. We endorsed the Decision of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the SEECP of 22 June 2010 to the re-appointment of Mr. Hido Biscevic as the Secretary General of the RCC. We wish to the RCC Secretary General every success and extend assurances of our firm support and encouragement in carrying out his demanding mission.
12. We also endorsed the “RCC Strategy and Work Programme 2011-2013”, presented by the Secretary General, declared our unequivocal support and reiterated our national commitments for its successful implementation, as well as the Annual Report on regional co-operation in Southeast Europe submitted by the Secretary General of the RCC and positively appraised the strategic aspects of the Annual Report presented to the SEECP Summit.
13. We appreciated the joint efforts of the Turkish Chairmanship-in-Office and the RCC Secretariat in the context of streamlining and coordination of the regional task forces and initiatives in Southeast Europe as well as for enhancing the working relationship between the SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office and the RCC. In this respect, we welcomed the results of the Coordination Meeting organized by the Turkish SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office and the RCC Secretariat, with the participation of the EU on 19 May 2010 in Sarajevo; i.e. organization of regular quarterly consultations between the SEECP Troika and the RCC; and addressing of a questionnaire to all regional taskforces or initiatives containing targeted questions focusing on achieved results and added value of each, with a view to achieving an evaluation to enhance effectiveness, synergy and coherence.
14. We recalled the Chisinau Declaration of the SEECP Summit by reiterating that further development of regional cooperation is of common interest and recognized the importance of the enhanced role of the region on that path.
III. Advancement towards European and Euro-Atlantic Integration
15. Bearing in mind the EU’s Thessaloniki Agenda of 2003, European Council’s Conclusions of 14-15 December 2006 on the renewed consensus on enlargement and the Statement of the High-Level Western Balkans Meeting of 2 June 2010, we expressed our satisfaction for the progress achieved by negotiating, candidate and potential candidate Participating States on their way of accession to the Union.
16. We welcome the achievements of two Participating States as EU negotiating countries. We commend one Participating State for approaching the conclusion of the negotiation process and we express our strong support for further progress in the accession negotiations of the other Participating State with the European Union.
17. We expressed hope that the conditions set by the EU for one EU candidate be met for accession negotiations to start.
18. We noted with satisfaction the invitation extended by the Council to the European Commission to prepare its Opinion on the EU membership applications of two Participating States.
19. We welcomed one Participating State’s filing its official application for EU membership on 22 December 2009 following its inclusion in the EU visa liberalization regime and ICTY Chief Prosecutor's report indicating additional progress concerning co-operation with the ICTY, which enabled the onset of the SAA ratification process.
20. We commended EU expanding its visa liberalization regime to three Participating States as of 19 December 2009, and the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of 14 June 2010, following the European Commission’s proposal on 27 May 2010 for the inclusion of two other Participating States in this regime as soon as the outstanding requirements are met.
21. We noted with pleasure the commencement of negotiations between one Participating State and the EU on the “Association Agreement” on 12 January 2010 and the successful development of these negotiations, as well as starting the visa dialogue on 15 June 2010. We underlined the need to launch as soon as possible the negotiations on the establishment of a deep and comprehensive free trade area in the framework of the Association Agreement.
22. We commended the continuous support of the three Participating States who are also EU members for the advancement of the European perspective of the entire region. We welcomed the Joint Statement on the Western Balkans (Bucharest, 21 May 2010) which underlined their determination to vigorously continue their support for the European perspective of the region by working for the full implementation of the Thessaloniki Agenda.
23. We highly commended the High-Level Meeting on the Western Balkans held on 2 June 2010 in Sarajevo and the Statement by the Chair therein, which reinforced and encouraged the EU integration processes in the region and provided a fresh impetus and guidance for moving ahead on this path.
24. We expressed our support for the “open door” policy of NATO to aspirant countries, and underlined the importance of the MAP as an instrument in bringing aspirant countries closer to NATO membership. In this vein, we congratulate two Participating States for being invited to MAP in December 2009 and in April 2010, respectively, after having reached significant progress on reforms. We are convinced that one Participating State will now start working earnestly on preparing its first MAP Annual National Programme.
25. We also acknowledged NATO’s determination to extend an invitation to one SEECP Participating State as soon as a mutually acceptable solution on the name issue will be reached within the framework of the UN.
IV. Towards a Stable, Secure and Prosperous Southeast Europe
26. We noted that parliamentary and presidential elections were held in several Participating States in the period since the Chisinau Summit. All these elections took place in orderly and democratic manner, and the results thereof confirmed the European and Euro-Atlantic convergence of each respective country. This marked the political maturity achieved in the region.
27. We reiterated our commitment for open and tolerant societies based on the rule of law, good governance, functioning democratic institutions and respect for human rights. We encouraged all political parties in our countries to promote and follow international democratic norms and standards in electoral field.
28. We underlined the need to increase the public awareness on European integration processes and on the importance of dialogues, tolerance, peaceful co-existence and preserving the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual nature of our societies in line with the European standards. In this respect, we underlined the importance of the Cultural Corridors of South Eastern Europe, in the framework of UNESCO and the Council of Europe,
29. We also expressed our support for the UN Initiative Alliance of Civilizations. In this regard, we highly appreciated its first South Eastern Europe Conference that was held in Sarajevo on 14 December 2009, and emphasized the importance of the “Alliance of Civilizations’ Regional Strategy on Intercultural Dialogue and Cooperation in South Eastern Europe”. We also underlined the importance of cooperation in achieving the goals enshrined in the Strategy, including through the adoption of an Action Plan encompassing concrete regional projects
30. We emphasized our firm support and strong commitment for the territorial integrity, sovereignty, equality of the two entities and the three constituent peoples and others, within internationally recognized borders of one Participating State, and expressed our full solidarity with its peoples.
31. We welcomed the international initiatives which aim at developing confidence building measures among the stakeholders in one Participating State and the neighboring countries, as well as helping its authorities for the advancement of the reform process in the country.
32. We put a particular emphasis on the 2nd Meeting of the SEECP Political Directors, held on 25 January 2010, Antalya, whereby the document called “Conclusions on Developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina” was adopted. We welcomed this document, which is presented at annex, as an expression of solidarity with Bosnia and Herzegovina and its peoples.
33. We welcomed the trilateral consultation mechanisms aiming at achieving national reconciliation and overall progress across the region as well as establishing good neighborly relations and solidarity. We acknowledged these mechanisms as resilient cooperation schemes in the spirit of regional ownership which yielded concrete results. In particular we welcomed, the five trilateral meetings at the level of Foreign Ministers of Three Participating States, the Istanbul Balkan Summit of 24 April 2010, the Budapest Trilateral Meeting of 29 March 2010 and the Bucharest Trilateral Meeting of 21 May 2010, which we consider as significant steps towards reconciliation and stabilization in the region.
34. We agreed on the importance of the consolidation of peace, security, stability and inclusiveness as a major contribution to the well-being of the entire region.
35. We strongly condemned terrorism and all forms of violence and extremism, irrespective of their motives. We also reaffirmed the pressing need to vigorously combat all forms of organized crime and corruption.
36. We acknowledged that a full recovery and sustainable growth, in the current economic crisis era, relies on effective cooperation in the region, in such vital areas as environment, energy, infrastructure, transport, trade liberalization and promotion of investments and we will engage in policy actions in a coordinated manner. We believe the most efficient medium and long term response to the challenges of the crisis is defined by structural reforms and investments that will encourage long-term growth. We agreed on the need to find ways to advance on this path and ensure long-term economic competitiveness, with due consideration to the social difficulties.
37. We expressed our belief that our common vision should bring about, among others, a perception and conduct of economic interdependence paving the way to regional economic integration. This could allow for an efficient, target-oriented collaboration in such vital areas as environment, energy, infrastructure, transport, trade liberalization and promotion of investments. In this vein, we tasked the RCC to contribute to elaboration of concrete and targeted regional projects within the framework of its mandate and the RCC Strategy and Work Programme 2011-2013.
38. We underlined the necessity of having a visa free regime among the SEE countries, as a very important element which will enhance cooperation in our region.
V. SEECP Turkish Chairmanship-in-Office
39. We expressed our appreciation for the ambitious and dynamic efforts of the Turkish Chairmanship-in-Office for setting a sound base for an effective regional cooperation, and highly evaluated the qualitatively and quantitatively rich program of events that have taken place to this effect since June 2009. In this respect;
-We welcomed the 8th Conference of the Speakers of SEECP Parliaments, which was held on 5-8 June 2010 in Antalya, and highly appreciated the declaration adopted thereby which puts forward the intention of the National Parliaments to establish SEECP Parliamentary Assembly (SEECP PA) and proposes the establishment of a Working Group to bring this intention into being in the coming years. We expressed our readiness to support SEECP PA, once founded, in carrying out its goals and tasks.
-We commended the Meeting of the SEECP Ministers of Culture that was held on 17 December 2009 in Konya. We underlined the importance of preserving cultural diversity, safeguarding tangible and intangible heritage and promoting cultural exchanges in Southeast Europe, as stated in the Declaration adopted at that Meeting.
-We highly appreciated the organization and results of the Meeting of the SEECP Ministers of Transport which was conducted on 11 March 2010 in Izmir, and welcomed the “Izmir Declaration on the development of a new common vision for transport sector within the SEECP region” that was adopted thereby.
-We underlined the importance and relevance of the Meeting of SEECP Trade Ministers on 30 March 2010 in Istanbul, in terms of our joint efforts for encouraging free flow of goods, removal of obstacles to trade and investment, harmonization of trade and transport policies, and facilitation of business contacts.
-We also commended the SEECP Economy and Finance Ministers Meeting, held on 10 April 2010 in Istanbul, the results of which shed light on future efforts in deepening regional cooperation in the fields of economy and finance, especially following the global economic crisis.
-We expressed our appreciation for the Ministerial and Experts Meeting on Disaster and Emergency Management done on 13-15 May in Antalya.
-We also praised the successful organization and results of the Conference on “Regional Security through Regional Ownership: A New Era of Cooperation” which was conducted by the SEECP CiO in cooperation with RACVIAC-Security Cooperation Center on 8-10 December 2009 in Ankara.
VI. The Incoming Chairmanship-in-Office
40. We expressed our highest appreciation for the effectiveness and dynamism of the present Chairmanship-in-Office, and extended our warmest gratitude for the excellent organization of this 13th Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the SEECP in Istanbul.
41. We welcomed the Republic of Slovenia as full-fledged participant of the SEECP. We believe that Slovenia’s participation in the SEECP will bring added value to cooperation in Southeast Europe, helping it pursue the principles and goals of Euro-Atlantic integration.
42. We welcomed the incoming Chairmanship-in-Office of Montenegro, and decided that the next SEECP Summit will be held in Montenegro in June 2011.
43. We held the 13th Meeting of the Heads of State and Government in Istanbul on June 23rd 2010. We agreed that SEECP Heads of State and Government Summit will be held in Belgrade after the conclusion of its 2011-12 chairmanship, and in Ohrid after the termination of its 2012-2013 chairmanship. We reconfirmed the established SEECP practice in documents and in all relevant activities of the Chairmanship-in-Office.
Adopted in Istanbul on 23 June 2010