State Secretary Dobran Božič attends Ministerial Meeting of the South-East European Cooperation Process
Dobran Božič, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attended the ministerial meeting of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEEPC) held in Sarajevo on 7 and 8 July. A Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) annual meeting was organised on the margins of the ministerial meeting.
Both events marked the conclusion of the one-year chairmanship of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The upcoming chairmanship was supposed to be formally assumed by Kosovo on 1 July, but due to the late organisation of the event on the part of Bosnia and Herzegovina this was not possible. While the delay constitutes a violation of the SEECP Charter, Kosovo did not raise it as an issue.
At the plenary attended by 11 SEECP foreign ministers or their deputies, representing all members except Kosovo and Albania, the discussion focused on the current state of European integration and further efforts to enhance connectivity in the SEECP region and beyond, which is a condition for both sustainable development and regional and European integration processes. In his address, State Secretary Božič emphasised that stability in the Western Balkans was a prerequisite for stability in Europe. The EU’s task is to remain fully engaged in the region and to foster conditions facilitating the resolution of all outstanding issues. The European Union has a strategic responsibility for the region, and enlargement must stay on the EU’s agenda, he argued. The Union must step up its positive pressure and help the region make the necessary reforms in order to contribute to stability and prosperity. The State Secretary noted the progress made by SEECP members in the implementation of the Digital Agenda, which, together with infrastructural and human connectivity projects, is contributing significantly to the emergence of a regional economic area. He went on to underline the importance of the Positive Agenda for the Youth, Slovenia’s initiative addressing the challenges facing the young generation. At the end of his address, State Secretary Božič reaffirmed Slovenia’s constant support for regional cooperation in the fields of migration, counter-terrorism, and the fight against corruption and organised crime.
The RCC annual meeting dealt with the progress achieved in regional cooperation, the working programme of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Chairmanship-in-Office, and the new three-year strategy for the 2020–2022 period. The debate focused on the prominent activities undertaken by SEECP members, guided by the principles of inclusion, mutual trust and respect, coordination, synergy, and a joint future within the European and Euro-Atlantic families.