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September 5-6, 2003
Mr. Guner Ismail
President of the Board FORUM-CSRD Republic of Macedonia

Which are the new challenges?

This is the corpus of questions which we need to respond to in order to constitute not only a theoretical debate, but also totally real actions. At the very star I would like to say that at the beginning of this century, and this might have already been said, it is quite clear that: there are no new security risks! I hope that this is not a surprising statement, on the other hand it enables us to percept things in their continuity, and with the solutions to determine productive and up to a point new answers. Unfortunately the security risks in South-east Europe in the past 15 years have not remained only on the level of predicted threats but they have happened. It seems that on one hand everybody who was supposed to deal with them, to prevent them, to reduce them, were quite unsuccessful and on the other all those who projected, generated risks were successful in their intentions. Even though this is not a retrospective we need simply to remind ourselves that the South-east European countries and the International Community during this entire period managed, up to a point, to narrow down the area of high risks, and in the case of Former Yugoslavia to help in establishing regimes that in their agenda will not turn to methods of projecting any kind of risks. Hence, the only novelty in the region is that there are no more states, or to be more clear regimes which in their political agendas are more inclined towards projecting extremisms (primarily ethnical, and less religious) and all these, as everybody here knows, commonly accompanied by servicing various forms of crime.

If this is so, and for the time being we see that such regimes exist, the "old" risks remain: from crime and totally conditionally from the so-called Ethnic Extremism.

We have faced crime in all its forms. I think that it would be counterproductive to go into a debate concerning clarification of the differences between organised and non-organised crime since it is not so important because in Southeast Europe it always ends up as organised one and I would like to emphasise that Southeast Europe at the end of the 1980's hadn't had registered forms of the so called endemic crime. One could not say that some traditional, patriarchal forms of uniting, organising of crime like the Mafia existed. It was not possible because of the simple reason that totalitarian regimes do not bear the existence of parallel forms of organisation, except in the cases of their own state stimulation, servicing, because of some "political" reasons. Still this happened to the countries from Southeast Europe during the period of preparations for the realisation of the project "the Fall of Communism". Today we are all familiar with the fact that many criminals and their organisations were used by certain structures of certain states, almost without exception. A coupling was created that through the criminal activities provided not only one type of specific self-financing but also constituted a real force that in return serviced certain parts of the political elites helping them and participating in the realisation of their political projects. Hence the Crime in this form, constituted as one of the fundamental risk factors for the region, was born in the coupling with the political structures. Thus when in the region regimes are established which are prepared for new civilised rules of game the crime should at least remain with out the support of the states. I believe that this is what is happening to us today or will happen soon. The process of cutting of the coupling is underway. At some places this is going on faster and at other slower, but I think we should be optimists and we should stimulate these processes, through various mechanisms both within the state and within the international community. If the states in the region succeed in their efforts to establish an efficient and politically very sincere method of breaking with crime we'll be able to say that the region will have new perspectives even within the framework of the rather unpleasant process of establishing a new World Architecture.

When mentioning the Ethnic Extremism I used the conditional formulation having in mind that the extremist political platforms in Southeast Europe have ceased long time ago to be the area for romantic emancipation dedicated fighters and even then it was not really like that so they became the ideal haven for tele-conducted serviced criminals dressed up in political clothes. The place that we have indicated as the place of birth of Crime, located as the embracement of certain political projects of various regimes, completely stands for the Ethnic Extremism, now totally recognisable as a derivation of crime, even more dangerous because of an additional political attraction. I would like to briefly mention that at least in the area of former Yugoslavia what has been previously said about Crime as the most universal phenomenon, and at the same time because of clear political reasons, generated phenomenon, it also fully refers to the so called Ethnic Extremism for which there are many evidences.

If, as we have said, crime exists on the entire territory of Southeast Europe the so-called Ethnic Extremism dominates in Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia. What's most characteristic in this situation is that nobody, at least on the obvious level does not support it or identifies with it. When being discussed it is closely related to the issue of the status of Kosovo, and as an implicit and sometimes even explicit inspirers are presented the arguments that should accuse the political elites in Kosovo!? Furthermore, the incompetence, corruption, and the bias attitude of the international factor (UNMIK, KFOR) are pointed out as one of the reasons for its existence, and the criminal activities all over the world are established as the material support for their actions. Certainly the discussion is seasoned by many exaggerations, but it would be equally naive to stick to the assessment of exaggeration. It is totally clear that crime follows its own logic and that it could exist without the support of certain administrations just as it is quite clear that in that crime-politics coupling crime may dominate. The same goes for the Ethnic Extremism which manages to stay on the surface in any form of irregular reality, including Kosovo, and it is helped by numerous unsolved status issues, as well the extraordinary quietness primarily by the Kosovo political elites. Namely, these elites are wasting precious time in abstract discussions about the "Future" instead of dissociating themselves clearly and intensively from what is attributed to the extremists. The Macedonian case and the one of Southern Serbia are similar.

If, because of the limited time, I have managed so far to locate the security risks at the end I will try to suggest few possible solutions.

The objective circumstances point out that the Governments of the Southeast European countries have shown a totally clear political will to deal with crime in its most universal forms. Furthermore, I guess it is sincere these governments are prepared to break with all forms of alliance, and cooperation with crime. These governments already are building mechanisms of cooperation on bilateral and regional level in the field of dealing with crime. Here I'm referring to an area which, regardless of what many have suggested here, needs to be conquered.
Namely, none of these states have dilemmas that everything necessary needs be done in order to get closer to the big integrations such as NATO and the EU. In that direction each of the countries invests efforts that mean economic and political rapprochement and harmonisation. In that sense I believe that as a priority for the region of Southeast Europe should be the joining of a so-called Small Balkan Entente for unification of the legislation in the area of fight against crime, in its broadest sense. This will not mean only unification of laws but series of necessary sub-legal acts by which the states administrations will be limited to strictly legal frameworks to standardise their procedures in order to prevent crime regardless of its origin, inspiration even place of generation, without the stereotypes of the past when crime, because of some kind short-sighted, short-term so-called state reason, was and still is declared to be an ally.

The unification of the laws, regulations would be another step that would help in the liberation of this already endemic phenomenon. Maybe we will be lucky to avoid having our nations being referred by the rest of the world as dens of talented criminals.
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