BALKAN REGIONAL PROFILE:

THE SECURITY SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING EVOLUTION OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE

(A Background and November 2002 Issue in Brief)

© Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS), Sofia

Research Study 43, 2002

Hard copy: ISSN 1311 - 3240

AN I S N-SPONSORED MONTHLY ELECTRONIC PERIODICAL


I. INTRODUCTION
II. SECURITY THREATS, CONFLICTS AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BALKANS

1. Security Threats: Terrorism

2. Post-Conflict Issues in Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina
III. THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES: SPECIFIC ISSUES
1. Bulgaria
2. Turkey

3. Slovenia

4. Serbia and Montenegro
IV. THE BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE BALKANS. THE STATE OF THE REGIONAL INITIATIVES
1. Bilateral Relations
2. Multilateral Relations
V. THE ECONOMIC SITUATION OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES AND THE REGION
1. Bulgaria - Macedonia
2. Greece - Bulgaria - Russia
VI. THE PROCESS OF DIFFERENTIATED INTEGRATION OF SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE IN EU AND IN NATO
1. EU
2. NATO
VII. THE INFLUENCE OF OTHER EXTERNAL FACTORS ON THE REGION: NATIONAL GREAT POWERS AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
1. US
2. United Nations
VIII. CONCLUSIONS

I. INTRODUCTION

November was a remarkable month for the international relations and security of Southeastern Europe for at least three reasons:

First, NATO extended a long-awaited invitation to seven candidate countries on 21 November in Prague during a summit meeting. Three of the invitees were Southeastern European states - Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia. The other four were Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. A geopolitical connection between the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and Adriatic Sea regions will be established once the accession treaties are ratified by the spring of 2004. This vast European region will be part of a homogenous security, defense, social, economic, political, and cultural bloc. The current US administration has emphasized that NATO is the US' most important global partner, and that the US strongly supports its enlargement now and in the future. The enlargement of NATO in the Balkans has a specific meaning. It is almost certain that the majority of Balkan states will be NATO members by May 2004, and that the rest will be on track (albeit at different speeds) to the same prestigious club. Albania and the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia (FYROM) are NATO candidates; Croatia is a PfP member and is already working on a Membership Action Plan to fulfill the conditions for membership in the alliance. Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Serbia and Montenegro are preparing to join the Partnership for Peace program. Never in the history of the Balkan peninsula have the concepts for the security and defense of the individual states reached such a degree of homogeneity and closeness; never has the future outlook been so peaceful and promising as after the last NATO enlargement. Another aspect of NATO enlargement with particular relevance to the Balkans is the strengthening of the processes of geopolitical inducement to the Black Sea area and its adjacent territories. The geopolitical importance of the Western Black Sea, in addition to that of the Southern Black Sea, increased in November and will definitely have longer-term consequences for the states of the Eastern and Northern Black Sea areas. Ukraine, Russia, and Georgia, as well as Azerbaijan and Armenia, are already active PfP partners. Ukraine and especially Russia have an even higher partnership and cooperation status with NATO because of their specific roles as regional and global (in the case of Russia) actors. The security of the whole Black Sea-Caucasus-Caspian Sea area is likely to increase after Bulgaria and Romania join NATO.

Second, in November, pressure increased on Iraq to implement a recent UN Security Council resolutions demanding that Iraq declare and destroy any weapons of mass destruction it may have or meet a military response for violating the UN Charter. Part of the rising pressure was applied by Bulgaria's intensive diplomatic efforts as a non-permanent UN Security Council member to achieve a peaceful solution of the crisis. Several Balkan countries, especially Greece, Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria were approached by US leaders about specific contributions towards eventual military pressure on Iraq.

The third notable development in international relations was the realization of the reality of the continuing terrorist threat in Europe. This change of perception was paralleled by national institutional reactions that more and more match those of the US. The as-yet incomplete European integration process does not allow decision-makers to think and act in defense of a 'European Homeland', but the growing awareness of the global presence of terrorism is already generating public support for the security institutions of the individual European states. The Balkans region is expected to play the role of a ' protective barrier' to global terrorism in its approaches to Central and Western Europe and the US. The enlargement of NATO to three Balkan countries will help the realization of this role.

Uncertainties concerning the extension of NATO's Amber Fox mission in Macedonia were also overcome in November. The task force will remain there for another six months - either as a NATO or an EU force. In Bulgaria, the opposition presented a formal proposal for a non-confidence vote on 22 November. In Turkey the Islamic-based Justice Party on 3 November won the early general elections . The winners pledged to maintain the country's pro-Western and secular stance. Constructive bilateral relations added to an improving security situation, including important Macedonian-Albanian and Greek-Turkish contacts. An earlier trilateral agreement signed on 24 November by the Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Serb/Montenegrin foreign ministers led to the inauguration of the trilateral border pyramid in a significant and symbolic act for the Balkans conducive to both the legal regulation of inter-state relationships and to reconciliation, especially between Macedonia and Serbia.

After the elections in Turkey, the winning party sent a clear message to the EU that Ankara expects a date for starting accession negotiations from the Copenhagen EU summit. Finally, the US government in November approached fifty countries, including Balkan states, about potential participation in a possible attack on Iraq.

II. SECURITY THREATS, CONFLICTS AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BALKANS

1. Security Threats: Terrorism

a) Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC)
At the meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council on 22 November in Prague, the partners declared their resolve to undertake all efforts to combat terrorism, including through the Partnership Action Plan Against Terrorism. All countries of Southeastern Europe except Serbia and Montenegro as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina are members of the EAPC.

b) Bulgaria-Romania
On 12 November, the two neighboring countries agreed in Sofia to cooperate to protect their nuclear plants from possible terrorist attacks from the air. Each country has one nuclear plant, both located along their common border, the Danube River. The agreement links the two countries' air defense systems, allowing them to react faster against possible airborne attacks. The agreement was signed by the ministers of defense of Bulgaria and Romania, Nikolai Svinarov and Ioan Pascu. The new system will take at least two years to implement..

c) Bulgaria
The heads of Bulgarian intelligence and counter-intelligence services, as well as the head of the organized crime task force, were queried on 7 November by the parliament's security and defense commissions, and outlined the status of their respective institutions' counter-terrorist capabilities status. Neither the experts nor the MPs could exclude the possibility that terrorists might recruit criminals for terrorist acts in return for money. Legislative changes will allow greater cooperation of the Bulgarian armed forces and the police in the investigation of extremist groups. Bulgaria's central position in Southeastern Europe allows it to contribute substantially with a 'Carabinieri'-type service to the international counter-terrorist activity as well as in the fight against illegal drugs, human trafficking, and illegal arms trading.

d) Turkey
Turkish and Israeli special services succeeded on 18 November in neutralizing an Arab terrorist who was attempting a kamikaze-style attack on Tel Aviv similar to the 9/11 attacks. He tried to hijack a regular Tel Aviv - Istanbul El Al flight.

2. Post-Conflict Issues in Macedonia Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina

a) Macedonia
(1) Macedonia's new multi-ethnic coalition government reaffirmed its Euro-Atlantic orientation. If this ethnic experiment works well in Skopje, it will be the second successful effort in the Balkans, after a similar model that has worked for more than 13 years in Bulgaria. The complete implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement is the key to the successful functioning of the new multi-ethnic government. (2) 'Home-made' problems in extending NATO's mission were overcome on 20 November, when France agreed to a compromise that leaves the door open for the EU to take over the peacekeeping mission. In principle, it is agreed that over the next six months, NATO will guarantee the security of the international monitors observing the return of government forces and displaced people to areas controlled by ethnic Albanian guerrillas during an insurgency in 2001. The 700-strong peacekeeping mission may be taken over by the EU after an expected review of the mission in February 2003. (3) In the upcoming census, which will be Macedonia's third in the last decade, the authorities omitted to include the nationality option 'Bulgarian'. Ten years after the end of the Serbian oppression in the former Yugoslav republic, the Bulgarian ethnic group still has the most difficult stance. It is obvious that ethnic tolerance cannot be just a pragmatic pro-NATO and pro-EU policy, but must emanate from an authentic respect of human rights.

b) Kosovo
(1) A donors' conference took place in on 5 November Brussels. The US has pledged more than US$350 million and will continue its aid, but without exceeding 15 per cent of the resources pledged by other donors. (2) On 15 November, US President George Bush confirmed to Congress his administration's commitment to the stability of Kosovo by keeping 4'350 military personnel in the province.

c) Bosnia and Herzegovina.
SFOR troops disclosed on 22 November that they had found eight tons of arms and ammunition in a privately owned warehouse in the small town of Prijedor in northwestern Bosnia. It will take a longer period to establish the exact quantity and types of weapons. At least 20 weapons types have already been identified, including mortars, mortar rounds, anti-tank grenade launchers, 300'000 small arms rounds, mines, and machine-gun ammunition.

III. THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES: SPECIFIC ISSUES

1. Bulgaria
(1) Deputy Prime Minister Kostadin Paskalev on 1 November submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Simeon Coburgotski, who accepted it. This was due to the government's apparent inability to provide his Ministry of Regional Development with a minimum of funds to implement joint projects with the EU that he had already committed to. (2) The right-wing opposition Union of the Democratic Forces (UDF) on 22 November brought a no-confidence vote against the government. The left-wing party 'Coalition for Bulgaria' also called for a no-confidence vote on 25 November. Though the parties have different motives, this step was triggered by the way the government of Prime Minister Coburgotski tackled the negotiations with the EU on the chapter 'Energy'. The promised shutdown of the third and fourth reactors of the Kozloduy nuclear power plant by the end of 2006 clashed with the parliament's decision to link this compromise on the part of Bulgaria with an EU agreement to accept Bulgaria as a full-fledged member on 1 January 2007. Whatever the arguments of the two negotiating sides, the issue of the closure of the third and fourth nuclear reactors has not been adequately assessed in terms of the regional energy security situation: many neighbors of Bulgaria and other Balkan countries rely on the import of electric power from Sofia. This capability will be gone after the end of 2006, and there is no timely substitute in place in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian economy itself is also highly dependent on electric power from Kozloduy. (3) On 7 November, the heads of the Bulgarian security services and top defense decision-makers approved a plan to create a new National Security Agency with cabinet rank. Bulgarian lawmakers are expected to start discussions on a new national security draft law that will channel the flow of information from the intelligence services in a more coherent way towards the executive power.

2. Turkey
On 3 November, Turkey's Islamist Justice and Development Party, led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won an overwhelming victory in the early parliamentary elections. The new prime minister of Turkey is Abdullah Gül. For the first time in 15 years, a Turkish political party has won an absolute majority and can form a government on its own. Party leader Erdogan stated clearly that he and his party maintained a secular stance. Some Turks believe that Erdogan is involved in a tactical deceit to advance an Islamist agenda over time. Because of these fears, the Turkish military warned that it would defend the secular character of the republic if required.
Turkey is a key geostrategic state straddling Europe and Northwestern Asia. The new government, as well as Turkey as a whole, must resolve several pressing issues such as repaying a US$16 billion loan from the IMF; the participation of this major US ally in the evolving war against Iraq; maintaining the secular appearance of the party's Islamist activists while advancing civil-military relations within a democratic framework, and preserving a working relationship with the EU after the Copenhagen summit in December, even if Ankara does not receive a clear date for launching accession negotiations as it has demanded over the last few months.

3. Slovenia
In the first round of Slovenia's presidential elections on 10 November, Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek, leader of the Liberal democrats, won 44.36 per cent of the vote. The second round will be convened on 1 December and Drnovsek will face Barbara Brezigar - a center-right candidate who won 30.75 per cent of the vote in the first round.

4. Serbia and Montenegro
(1) New presidential elections will be held in Serbia on 8 December. There was no winner in the October elections due to lack of voter participation. After the president of Serbia and Montenegro, Vojislav Kostunica, and the prime minister of Serbia, Zoran Djindjic, reached an agreement involving much political bargaining and compromise, and after the return of Kostunica's members of parliament who were expelled earlier by Djindjic's majority coalition followers, the law was amended and the required electoral turnout rate of over 50 per cent was scrapped. The presidential candidate supported by Djindjic at the October presidential elections, Miroljub Labus, together with his G17 Plus experts, defected from the ranks of the Serbian prime minister's Democratic Party. Apart from Kostunica, radical nationalist Vojislav Seselj and probably Labus will run for the office of Serbian president. (2) The president of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, resigned from his position to take on the job of prime minister, for which he had been nominated by his Democratic Party that won the country's elections in the beginning of November. Until the January 2003 presidential elections, the speaker of the parliament of Montenegro, Philip Vujanovic, will hold Djukanovic's office.

IV. THE BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE BALKANS. THE STATE OF THE REGIONAL INITIATIVES

1. Bilateral Relations

a) Greece-Bulgaria
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Coburgotski in Athens from 1-2 November. They opened a Greek-Bulgarian Economic Forum. The two leaders agreed on a key joint economic project - the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil-pipeline: each of the participants (Greece, Russia, and Bulgaria) will receive one-third of the profits. Greece confirmed its pledge to carry on the project of reconstructing the Balkans and to provide investments that would benefit Bulgaria alone to the tune of  54 million. The prime ministers confirmed that work on three checkpoints at the border would continue. Greece repeated her support for Bulgaria's application to join NATO and the EU.

b) Albania-Macedonia
Personal contacts between the presidents of these two countries, Alfred Moisiu and Boris Trajkovski, were developed in the course of several bilateral contacts this month. This development reflects the improved relationship between the two countries. The perspective of NATO membership motivates the two countries' leaders to cooperate. There are even ideas for launching a trilateral bid for NATO membership if Croatia agrees to join the project.

c) Greece-Turkey
On 18 November, Turkish unofficial leader Recep Erdogan made a short visit to Athens and met with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis. He declared that Greece should no longer be perceived as an adversary and promised to contribute to the improvement of the bilateral relations. Erdogan thinks the Cyprus issue cannot be resolved before the Copenhagen EU summit in December. The leader of the Justice and Development Party of Turkey tried to win Greek support at the upcoming meeting of EU heads of governments.

d) Bulgaria-Macedonia
A Macedonian overture on the eve of the Prague summit tried to persuade the Bulgarian leadership to scrap older weapon systems and replace them with newer technology, Macedonian Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski said on 15 November in Sofia. In addition, Macedonia asked for permission to sell 94 T-55 tanks and 108 howitzers worth US$3.5 million that were donated by Bulgaria in 1999. On 17 November the presidents of the two states, Georgi Parvanov and Boris Trajkovski, met in southwestern Bulgaria and paid their respects to an icon of the two countries' shared heritage, Yane Sandansky, who was a Bulgarian freedom fighter in Macedonia. In Prague, the Macedonian president congratulated his Bulgarian counterpart for Bulgaria's invitation to join NATO. The Bulgarian president told the NATO leaders that Bulgaria's moral obligation would be to help and facilitate the other Balkan countries' NATO entry.

e) Serbia and Montenegro-Romania
On 4 November in Belgrade the two neighboring countries' representatives signed a bilateral agreement on the protection of national minorities.

2. Multilateral Relations

a) Quadrilateral Relations: Bulgaria-Turkey-Greece-Romania
The defense ministers of Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey, Nikolay Svinarov, Ioan Mircea Pascu, and Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, as well as Greek Deputy Defense Minister Lukas Apostolidis, met on 13 November in the southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, just a few days before the Prague NATO summit. Turkish and Greek support for Bulgaria's and Romania's NATO candidatures was confirmed. The participants agreed to continue the meetings in this format even within NATO, because of the specifics of the region.

b) Trilateral Relations: Macedonia - Bulgaria - Serbia and Montenegro
The foreign ministers of these three states, Ilinka Mitreva, Solomon Passy, and Goran Svilanovic, met on 24 November and laid the border pyramid at a point agreed earlier that connects the borders of their countries. They also confirmed their desire to give the already functioning 'Euro-region' Skopje-Sofia-Nis a purpose and use its potential to improve the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Passy told his counterparts that Bulgaria would do its best to help the two neighboring countries join NATO.

V. THE ECONOMIC SITUATION OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES AND THE REGION

1. Bulgaria-Macedonia
The construction of a 400 kW electric-power line that will provide Macedonia with Bulgarian electric energy began on 1 November. The Bulgarian section will be 81km long and will cost US$14 million, and the Macedonian section will be 110km long and will cost US$20 million.

2. Greece - Bulgaria - Russia
Reconstruction work estimated to cost US$144 million continues at the port of Burgas. This Bulgarian port will be used by Russian oil tankers, and a new terminal will be built for this purpose. The Greek agreement to accept an equal share as that of Bulgaria and Russia broke the deadlock. The whole project will cost US$660 million, and the Bulgarian consortium of companies will be responsible for providing one third of the capital - US$220 million. The Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline is a private project.

VI. THE PROCESS OF DIFFERENTIATED INTEGRATION OF SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE IN EU AND IN NATO

1. EU

a) EU-Turkey
Turkey continued its diplomatic campaign to receive from the EU a date for launching accession negotiations at the 12-13 December EU summit in Copenhagen . This issue was discussed at the meeting of the defense ministers of Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, and Romania in Plovdiv. The Turkish minister insisted on Greek support at the summit. The US also strongly voiced its support for Turkey's EU bid, although Washington does not have a say on this matter. Britain is carefully exploring the options for reaching a compromise on this issue. Human rights, the secular future of the Turkish state, democratic control of the armed forces, the formation of an EU intervention force with access to NATO assets, and progress in solving the Cyprus question are contentious issues that various EU states as well as the community as a whole are raising with the Turkish partner. In view of the significant role Turkey may be expected to play in applying military pressure on Iraq - which in turn may coincide in temporal terms with the EU Copenhagen summit - a compromise formula may be suggested by the European Council: if Turkey cooperates on Cyprus and EU-NATO relations, the EU will review the date for starting negotiations, probably in 2003.

b) EU-Romania, Bulgaria
Bulgaria and Romania expect "road maps" for accelerating accession talks from the EU's Copenhagen summit, as well as additional funds that would reinforce this effort, and 1 January 2007 to be named as their accession date. Both Bulgarian and Romanian political leaders would do well to focus on the many details they need to tackle, especially on those particular terms that the candidates have committed to and that the EU has serious doubts will be implemented. The Bulgarian and Romanian negotiators should take note of the opportunities both countries will have to improve their positions after May 2004, when the integration of the group of 10 will be completed. A new acceleration of the accession process is not impossible during that period.

2. NATO

a) NATO-Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia
These three Balkan countries received a long-expected invitation on 21 November at the Prague summit to join NATO in the spring of 2004. Each of the invitees has a specific list of problems that needs to be treated and resolved before the parliaments of the 19-member alliance ratify the upcoming accession treaties to the Washington Treaty. The best option that can be expected is a 'package ratification' including all seven candidates, but this will be defined by the individual countries' readiness to fulfill the remaining conditions. The experts and leaders in these countries are under no illusions that the whole job is completed. An important step was made in Prague and the opportunity to go further has grown tremendously.

b) NATO-Croatia
The message from the NATO summit in Prague to Croatia was that the alliance is keeping its doors open for Zagreb. Croatian leaders trust they will be ready to receive an invitation in 2004, after fulfilling the Individual Membership Action Plan.

VII. THE INFLUENCE OF OTHER EXTERNAL FACTORS ON THE REGION: NATIONAL GREAT POWERS AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

1. US

a) US-Turkey
The US government is considering the sale of attack helicopters to Turkey as part of a broader aid package aimed at receiving support from this key ally ahead of a possible US strike on Iraq, Reuters reported on 8 November. The proposed military and economic aid package is likely to total US$1 billion.

b) US-Romania
On 23 November, US President George Bush made a short visit to Bucharest and expressed US gratitude for the support provided by Romania to the US-led operation "Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan. President Bush's visit came soon after the end of the Prague summit, where Romania received a long-expected invitation to join NATO. Romania had earlier declared its readiness to provide support required for a possible US strike on Iraq.

2. United Nations

* UN-Bulgaria
Less than ten days before the NATO summit in Prague, Bulgaria uncovered and halted illegal exports of weapons parts for armored personnel carriers (APCs) from a state-owned plant to Syria. There were speculations that these parts would have ended in Iraq. Police intercepted the spare parts on 20 October at Kapitan Andreevo, a border crossing with Turkey 315km southeast of Sofia. The Bulgarian government's reaction was immediate and effective, but the administrative and judicial follow-up is still not completed. There have been six arrests at the producing plant and it is expected that new arrests will follow - this time, members of the security services are expected to be arrested. The whole board of directors of the producer has been fired. The government of Bulgaria adopted a new, strict regime for arms exports by Bulgarian companies. Bulgaria produces its own brand of Kalashnikov assault rifles, other light guns, ammunition, spare parts, and APCs. The investigation of the case by the National Investigation Service continues.

VIII. CONCLUSIONS
In November 2002, the Balkans made another significant geopolitical step that increased the region's cohesion on the basis of the Euro-Atlantic security community after the North Atlantic Council invited, among others, Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia to join NATO. The doors of NATO remained open for candidates Croatia, Albania, and Macedonia . Important domestic changes in Turkey did not worsen the regional security situation. Turkey, on the contrary, intensified its bilateral contacts with Greece and also with the European Union. The preparations for applying intensive military pressure on Iraq also significantly influenced the regional security situation in November. Bilateral and multilateral relations in the Balkans continued almost invariably to contribute to the stability of the region. The upcoming EU summit in December is also seen to add positively to the formation and stabilization of Southeastern Europe.


EDITORIAL STAFF:

CONTACT AND REFERENCE

Dr. Plamen Pantev, Editor–in–Chief

ISSN 1311 – 3240

Dr. Tatiana Houbenova-Delissivkova

Address: ISIS, 1618 Sofia,

Mr. Valeri Rachev, M. A.

P. O. Box 231, Bulgaria

Mr. Ivan Tsvetkov, M. A.

Phone/Fax: ++(359 - 2-) 551 828

Dr. Todor Tagarev

E-Mail Address: isis@cserv.mgu.bg


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