11 May 2007
Zagreb - Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe Erhard Busek welcomed the approval by the South East European Co-operation Process (SEECP) Heads of State and Government Summit today (11 May) of the appointment of Mr Hido Biscevic, currently State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Croatia, to be the Regional Co-operation Council (RCC)’s first Secretary General and of Sarajevo as the host of the RCC Secretariat.
“These decisions are a clear demonstration of a new constructive and responsible atmosphere in the region,” Special Co-ordinator Busek said in his speech to the Summit, congratulating SEECP countries for both the results achieved and the process through which decisions were taken. “Such a high degree of co-operation between the countries of the region was not even thinkable only a few years ago,” Busek added.
The nominations approved by SEECP Heads of State and Government had been endorsed by the Stability Pact Regional Table and decided on by SEECP Foreign Ministers the day before.
Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, as the host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel representing the EU Presidency and the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, who among other leaders from the region attended the Summit, underlined the key role of enhanced regional co-operation through the RCC for the future of South East Europe.
Prime Minister Sanader said that the SEECP was now growing into an authentic and powerful voice for countries of the region and “will, through the assistance of the new RCC, ensure the development of solidarity and advancement in modernisation in this part of the continent”.
“The bonds of regional co-operation are tightened and the process of integration into Euro-Atlantic structures has advanced considerably. Now it is important to ensure that these achievements are firmly rooted in the region. With the transformation of the Stability Pact into regional ownership this is now taking place. Special Co-ordinator Busek had an instrumental role in this process,” Chancellor Merkel told the Summit.
The President of the European Commission Barroso also commended the Stability Pact for the work done since 1999 and told SEECP countries’ heads of State and Government that “[m]ore regional co-operation goes hand in hand with increased EU and Commission involvement in the region. Regional co-operation brings you closer to EU accession, as good neighbourly relations and cross border co-operation is the very essence of the European Union”.
Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, also attending the summit, said that the important step taken with the decisions at the SEECP and Regional Table meetings “reflects the maturity of a region that is moving away from the tragedies of the 90s, increasingly pursues co-operation among its countries and follows a European course”.