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International Conference: Shaping a Common Security Agenda for Southeast Europe - New Approaches and Shared Responsibilities September 5-6, 2003, Sofia Bakground
 
In the last five years CSD has focused its efforts to counter organized crime and corruption considered among the gravest problems of the transition period in Bulgaria. CSD has been working on assessing the impact of the trans-border organized crime on corruption within security forces.

The proposed conference comes as part of a series of events organized by the CSD with the purpose to address security issues. Among them are the regional conference "Institutionalizing the Prevention of Corruption in Security Forces: Enhancing Preventive Structures" (organized jointly with the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on March 11-14, 2002, Sofia), the regional forum "International Cooperation in Countering Terrorism" (June 27, 2002) and the international conference "Informal Economy in the EU Accession Countries: Size, Scope and the Trends in Trafficking and Corruption" (November 29-30, 2002, Sofia). These forums examined the threat posed by organized crime and corruption to the national security in the region by streamlining the anticorruption strategies and public-private cooperation approach in that area.

The Center's considerable research capacity on these issues is evident in the unique methodology, developed by CSD, for assessing the corruption pressure generated by organized trafficking in commercial goods. Applied for a third year in Bulgaria, this method allows policy makers to identify the weak spots in border controls and design responses that target the latest developments in the techniques used by organized crime.


The Center is also the Executive Secretariat of the Southeast European Legal Development Initiative (SELDI), which aims at enhancing the rule of law in the region. In this capacity, CSD has developed a number of analyses on the origins of organized crime in SEE and policy recommendations for reducing its impact in the security forces.

One of CSD's key contributions is demonstrating the viability of public-private partnerships in this area. A number of task forces of government and CSD and other independent experts have been established by the Center to carry out analyses and policy recommendations on these issues.


FORMAT

The debate will benefit from the participation of NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, high level EU officials, Government ministers and senior officials from SEE countries, representatives of international organizations and aid agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations.
The conference will be a two-day event divided into four plenary sessions. Each session will be introduced by panel speakers. Following this, the session chair will encourage 5 minute interventions by the participants.

DISCUSSION TOPICS
The conference will deal with two major sets of issues: the need for an adequate doctrine for making crime a priority issue in the framework of the newly defined regional and European security, and the innovative responses to the new security risks.

More than a decade of conflicts, economic sanctions, breakdown of institutions, law and order, unresolved territorial issues etc., led to a sharp increase of the levels of organized crime, trafficking, corruption and related security problems in the countries of Southeastern Europe. Not only do these problems slow down the full integration of SEE countries in the EU but they also jeopardize security in a greater Europe.

As NATO and the EU are expected to continue having a key role for the security in SEE, there are increased concerns as to whether the security framework they provide would be adequate to these new risks and threats. The Iraq debate had serious implications for the transatlantic relationship in general, and for the future of NATO and the ESDP in particular, as it touched upon fundamental issues of roles and missions.

The four sessions of the conference are intended to cover some of the key aspects of the future of SEE security in the context of EU and NATO enlargement:

Enlargement, leadership and shared responsibilities in facing security challenges in Southeastern Europe

Strong leadership both institutional and personal was indispensable for containing, preventing from spillover, and ultimately stopping armed conflicts within the territory of the Former Yugoslavia. At critical moments NATO was called to play the major role. The Dayton peace accords, the Kosovo campaign, the prevention of civil war in Macedonia and ultimately the downfall of the Milosevic regime were all achievements resulting from bold and responsible action of the international community, actively backed by the countries of SEE. The decision for NATO enlargement to include also Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia was a further demonstration of NATO's capability to address fundamental security problems with resolve. Today NATO continues to provide the overall security framework in the region. At the same time, as the security situation evolves the nature of the risks and threats shifts from military to non-military. Institution building, countering organized crime, trafficking corruption etc. become the high priorities. However, with the war against terrorism shifting the focus of attention of major security organizations and leading countries to Afghanistan, Iraq and etc. there is growing concern, that the Balkans may remain a "mission unaccomplished".


The transatlantic relationship and its impact on regional security

The Iraq debate had serious implications for the transatlantic relationship in general and in particular the future of NATO and the ESDP. Among other things, it touched upon fundamental issues of roles and missions. As NATO and the EU are expected to continue having a key role for the security in SEE, anxiety grows as to whether the security framework they provide would be adequate to the new risks and threats. A US pullout from the region would generate uncertainties and may ultimately lead to resumption of localized hostilities and further deterioration. Meanwhile the EU has taken over security functions in Macedonia and its role in BIH and Kosovo is expected to grow. As the future of European defense remains increasingly obscure and uncertain the question remains whether the EU has the political will and physical capabilities to further stabilize the region. NATO enlargement included 3 regional countries, which potentially enhances the pool of resources in this respect. These countries, as well as those expecting invitations for membership are willing to take their responsibility for solving the common security problems. Defense and security sector reform are complementary in this respect. The SEDM process and especially SEEBRIG could be brought more actively into play. The EU could look at SEEBRIG from a new perspective, which would essentially mean changing of present patterns of funding European defense and security projects.


The risks to integration: threats from organized crime and corruption

The security threats of most pressing current concern in SEE relate to undermining the stability of national and regional governance institutions. The most significant pressure on the security of governance in the region comes from the various forms of organized crime. Among the key aspects of SEE transition was the connection between the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the growth of the transborder crime. The free reign, given to the criminal networks in the war-ridden Western Balkans, had an impact on all the countries in the region.

These are presently not only problems for the region proper, but also for greater Europe. They also slow down the full integration of SEE in the EU. Adapting the regional candidate countries to the requirements for EU membership inter alia through building up their potential to contribute for resolving Europe's priority security problems on the one hand and on the other- EU's assistance to accelerate this process should be better synchronized. There should be a clear and shared vision of the fundamentals of the security situation, backed by a common bold agenda of how to address them. Thus, an adequate doctrine for making crime a priority issue in the framework of the newly defined regional and European security is urgently needed. The integration of institutional responses to these new threats is vital and pressing (e.g. law enforcement agencies responsible for border controls - which are considered the "first line of defense" in a number of democratic countries and which contribute importantly to curbing the contraband and trafficking - are in fact excluded from the scope of the security infrastructure). There is also a need for systematic threat assessment which would prioritize various risks.


Breaking with stereotypes: innovative responses to the new security risks

One of the most "successful" public-private partnerships (PPP) to develop in the last decade in Southeast Europe has been between cross-border traffickers and other criminal networks and corrupt public officials trusted with enforcing law and order.

Why do public institutions need the cooperation of the private sector to reduce the impact of criminal networks and other security risks? Where crime makes inroads into development through corruption is where governance failures could be redressed through public-private partnerships - neither public governance structures nor the private sector could do it alone. The gravity of the problem calls for bold and radical measures which should upset entrenched interests. For this to happen, broad public coalitions need to be formed both within countries, and region-wide. Traditional bureaucracies - be they national or international - cannot muster the type of public support needed if these reforms are to be successful. The instruments of PPP might include, among others: public pressure mechanisms; establishment of joint expert task forces; overcoming "failures of imagination" etc.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Conference venue:
Boyana Conference Center, Pavilion 2
16 Vitoshko lale St.
Sofia


Conference Secretariat:
Center for the Study of Democracy
5 Alexander Zhendov str., Sofia 1113
Tel: (+3592) 971 3000
Fax: (+3592) 971 2233

Contact person:
Denislava Simeonova, Conference Secretary
Tel: (+3592) 971 3000, ext. 332
Fax: (+3592) 971 2233
Email: denislava.simeonova@online.bg
 
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