BALKAN REGIONAL PROFILE:

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

(A Background and August 2003 Issue in Brief)

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

Research Study 52, 2003

Hard copy: ISSN 1311 – 3240

AN ISN-SPONSORED MONTHLY ELECTRONIC PERIODICAL


I. INTRODUCTION
II. SECURITY THREATS, CONFLICTS AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BALKANS
1. Security Threats
2. The Post-Conflict Issues in Macedonia, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina
III. THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES: SPECIFIC ISSUES
IV. THE STATE OF BILATERAL, MULTILATERAL AND REGIONAL RELATIONS IN THE BALKANS
V. THE ECONOMIC SITUATION OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES AND THE REGION
VI. THE PROCESS OF DIFFERENTIATED INTEGRATION OF SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE INTO THE EU AND NATO
VII. THE INFLUENCE OF OTHER EXTERNAL FACTORS ON THE REGION: NATIONAL GREAT POWERS AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
1. US
VIII. CONCLUSIONS

I. INTRODUCTION
As we approach the second anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks, it is evident that the most powerful nation in the world, the US, and many of its allies and friends have decisively embarked on a war on terrorism. The main elements of that war are in Afghanistan and Iraq, where two states that were in close link to terrorism are pushed on the road to transformation, slow democratization, and normalcy. The fight on terrorist networks globally is another key element of the war. National mobilization and counter-terrorism measures are the other important elements. Unfortunately, after the end of the Cold War, when people hoped to decrease their government’s costs for security, the financial burdens, connected with having security will continue until the new enemy of democracy and civilization is eliminated. All these four counter-terrorism focuses have a direct meaning for the individual countries of Southeastern Europeand for the region in general. In various degrees most of the Balkan nations are engaged in ISAF, in Afghanistan, and some – in the Coalition Forces, in Iraq. The cooperation against al-Qaida and al-Qaida-like networks in the region and with external partners and friends is strong. Depending on the national threat perceptions of terrorism, the mobilization of the Balkan societies against the new evil is different, but generally it is low.
August of this year marked the launch of the first out-of-area NATO mission in its 54-year history: the ISAF mission in Kabul, Afghanistan. NATO may eventually occupy the countryside, too. The military history of Afghanistan shows that no outside military involvement has ever succeeded. The challenge for the most successful military alliance in history is great and the start in Kabul with US support will show how further steps will succeed.
The terrorist attack on the UN Headquarters in Baghdad proved that the nature of the ousted regime and the terrorist networks easily overlap: they both hate ‘the outsiders’, the ‘foreigners’, the ‘internationals’, the representatives not only of foreign troops, but of international institutions that have always been on the side of the Iraqi people. The attack on the UN personnel in Baghdad confirmed that anything connected with the civilization that includes the Western components, which is not Muslim, and not allowed to enter the Muslim society guarded by the most extremist and middle-aged interpreters of Islam, is ‘the enemy’, ‘the infidel’ who must be killed in as many numbers as possible. The resolve of the UN and the anti-terrorist front of nations would not be undermined or shaken by the brutal act that killed innocent, including one of the most respected world diplomats, Sergio Vieira de Mello. The UN efforts, adding substantially to the sacrifices of the Coalition Forces to bring the decent and ancient Iraqi people to the life they deserve in the 21st century, will continue. The tasks in Iraq are difficult, but unless solidarity prevails, terrorists and dictators will. The two day visit of the Bulgarian Foreign Minister – the first high political visit to Baghdad after the terrorist attack on the UN Headquarters there - proved this solidarity and political support for the reconstruction efforts in Iraq are alive.
The security threat of drug trafficking loomed this month in Southeastern Europeafter the conclusion of an international police operation that deprived merchants of cocaine of some five tons of their precious poison. A real working cooperation of US, UK, and Bulgarian drug enforcement services provided the police in Bolivia with the opportunity to stop the transfer to Europe and North America.
This month was marked the second anniversary of the conclusion of the Ohrid Framework Agreement that helped stabilize the situation in Macedonia. The US and NATO leadership is not yet considering a transfer of military authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EU, as initially planned. Washington and Brussels would prefer to see the EU’s military muscle applied to the no less important police training functions to secure law and order in the young state troubled by ethnic tensions. In Kosovo, a new UNMIK administrator began his work amidst tensions and new killings of Serbs, following the arrest of former KLA Albanian commanders accused of atrocities during the Kosovo crisis some years ago. The long-awaited dialogue between Serbs and Albanians, between Belgrade and Pristina will have to be postponed despite the EU summit recommendations in June this year. Tensions in Southern Serbia also increased this month, proving the live link between the various rebellious Albanian enclaves throughout the Western Balkans.
A controversial step discussed in recent months by the Turkish parliament was finally undertaken in August – a reform package was adopted and the authority of the powerful Turkish military was curbed. The reactions were not just in favor of the reforms, because they would bring the country closer to the EU acquis communautaire. Another reading of these reforms is that the pro-Islamist government of Erdogan is hiding its legislative agenda behind the country’s drive towards the EU, while the real intention is to break the back of secularism, which enjoys staunch support in Turkey and especially in the Turkish armed forces. Adequate attention should be paid to these developments in the most powerful Balkan state.
Regional initiatives in Southeastern Europehave proved that highest efficiency in the security sector is reached via working together to crush criminality and training joint military units to react to other common security threats.
The activity of international financial institutions this month in the Balkans encouraged particular projects that would improve the retarded economy and infrastructure of the region. A particular activity also marked the US Trade and Development Agency.
Both NATO and the US continued their support for the region’s approach to NATO membership and defense establishment reforms. Serbia and Montenegro have become a special player in these efforts, though much yet is expected from the people and the leaders in Belgrade.

 

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

1. Security Threats

a) Terrorism and Post-War Reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan

1) The Situation in Afghanistan. At a ceremony in Kabul on 11 August, NATO took on an operational commitment outside Europe for the first time in 54 years, assuming command of 5’300 ISAF troops. The name and mission of ISAF will not change, according to NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alessandro Minuto Rizzo. The ceremony was also attended by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The change affect the level of commitment and capability NATO provides: headquarters, a force commander, strategic coordination, command and control, and political direction. NATO will do that as long as necessary and required. German Lieutenant-General Götz Gliemeroth is the new commander of ISAF, which has been under the joint command of Germany and the Netherlands for the past six months. Contributions from non-NATO countries , including Southeastern Europe, will continue. Leading and sustaining peace-support operations is part of NATO’s long experience. Since ISAF began its mission in December 2001, the Afghan capital Kabul has attracted expatriate Afghans, international investors, new business opportunities for its residents, and educational opportunities for its children, Afghan President Karzai said at the ceremony. Achievements claimed by the UN representative at the ceremony, Jean Arnault, included an improvement of the security situation, institution-building, and a new joint security coordination center in Kabul. Though Kabul has become a relatively safe city, the war-torn country is still generally dangerous, and remnants of the Taliban regime and al-Qaida are still at large in Afghanistan. NATO will probably take up patrols outside Kabul at some point. NATO’s ISAF operation is under the overall command of the Allied Command Operations, run by the Joint Force Commander, UK General Sir Jack Deverell, at NATO’s Regional Headquarters Allied Forces North Europe (RHQ AFNORTH). More than 31 NATO and non-NATO countries are contributing troops to ISAF. NATO has broken the mentality of the Cold War. Now it is out of area and there is much more unpredictability and uncertainty – a challenge NATO has to cope with. Security-building and nation-building have become new NATO tasks. SACEUR General James Jones also attended the ceremony in Kabul. The Southeastern European contribution to the ISAF mission is as follows: Albania – 23; Bulgaria – 42; Croatia – 36; Greece – 125; Hungary – 11; Macedonia – 10; Romania – 32, and Turkey – 163 troops. Apart from ISAF, restricted to Kabul, the US-led 12’000-strong ‘Enduring Freedom’ operation is still tracking down terrorists in the rest of the country, which remains quite insecure.

2) The Situation in Iraq: 2.1) UN. The UN Special Envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was killed in a massive truck bomb attack on the UN Headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August, together with at least 23 more persons. The bomb injured an estimated 100 people. During the previous months, which the top UN diplomat had spent in Iraq, the political, economic, and security situation had improved with the assistance of the UN, its late high-level representative, and in cooperation with the US civilian administration in Iraq. On 13 July was formed 25-member Governing Council, whose task is to nominate ministers for an interim government, draft a constitution, hold elections that would lead to an internationally recognized representative government. On the economic front, currency unification is planned for October and efforts are under way to establish an Iraqi Trade Bank. In security developments, an Iraqi defense corps has been organized to work with Coalition forces on security tasks, and a Facilities Protection Service is being formed to guard critical infrastructure, government facilities, and cultural and educational assets. According to the Commander of the US Central Command, Army General John Abizaid, terrorism is becoming the principal threat facing coalition forces in Iraq and the Iraqi people. The Kurdish terrorist group Ansar al-Islam has increased its operations and migrated from the northern part of Iraq to an area near Baghdad and has established there. Foreign terrorist fighters are infiltrating from Syria and terrorist cells are establishing themselves mostly around Baghdad, according to US claims.
Besides the 140’000 US military personnel, more than 50’000 Iraqis are under arms again and are working in coordination with the coalition. The police force has 35’000 staff; a border force is about to be formed; and there are over 2’300 volunteers in the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps. Furthermore, 21’700 troops from 27 countries (including Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia, and Romania from Southeastern Europe) contribute significantly to the ongoing stability operations in Iraq. Forty nations have pledged more than US$3billion in assistance to help the Iraqi people.
The attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad was aimed at restoring the reign of terror of the Saddam regime and the Ba’ath party, to terrify those from the international community that want to build free and democratic Iraq, to create a new battleground in the global war between terrorists and civilized nations. Within hours after the blast, the UN made clear that such vicious attacks would not shut down the UN mission, nor deter the international organization from helping the people of Iraq. Both the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary-General sent political signals in this direction. Sergio Vieira de Mello was expected to complete his mission to Iraq in the end of August. The UN Security Council Resolution condemning the attack was tough and adopted only for 20 minutes by the 15-member UN body.
2.2) Bulgaria. Between 11-13 August, 416 Bulgarian rangers were flown to Kuwait to join the vanguard group preparing logistics for the Bulgarian peacekeeping contingent in Iraq. A group of Bulgarian press journalists already have a permanent bureau in Iraq to cover the activities of the Kerbela-based Bulgarian peacekeepers. This act opens a practical stage in the process of solving an issue, concerning the democratic control of the peacekeeping forces, stationed abroad. Transparency, informing the public is indispensable in that situation and the Bulgarian journalists are doing a really beneficial work for society. Some initial frictions between them and the General Staff of the Bulgarian armed forces showed how important it is to have separate source of information from the official one on the evolving events in Kerbela and Iraq in general.
From 24-25 August, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy made the first official political visit to Baghdad after the attack on the UN Headquarters in the Iraqi capital. The visit proved that the political will of the international community will not be crushed and will withstand the provocations and terror. The protection of the Bulgarian delegation was provided by private bodyguards, since the military command of the Coalition forces did not take the responsibility of the safety of the visit. Bulgaria, operating within the Polish sector, may send civilians to Iraq to help run the holy city of Kerbela, in addition to the 500-strong force based there. The visit of Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski to Bulgaria from 25-26 August helped to solve certain coordination issues concerning the forces in Iraq.
2.3) Turkey. Throughout August, US and Turkish officials have been communicating and negotiating on a bigger Turkish military contingent for the peacekeeping force in neighboring Iraq. Some in Turkey view the possibility of sending peacekeepers to Iraq as a chance to repair relations with the US. Parliament must approve any deployment of Turkish troops abroad. The Turkish military are ready to carry out the mission, but it is a political decision, as General Yasar Buyukanit, deputy chief of General Staff of the Turkish armed forces, said on 10 August. On 12 August, Turkish military commanders and top officials under the chairmanship of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer discussed the US request for peacekeeping troops in Iraq. The meeting was attended by the Chief of the General Staff, Gen. Hilmi Ozkök, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, and Defense Minister Vecdi Gönul. On 13 August, Foreign Minister Gül said Turkey might not decide until at least the middle or end of September on the US request to send peacekeepers to Iraq. On 22 August, he told the Turkish press that Ankara and Washington had agreed in preliminary talks that any Turkish troops would control their own separate region to the north or west of Baghdad. There would eventually be a separate Turkish sector under Turkish command and with a separate chain of command. The Turkish government has not made a final decision, and the parliament will still have the last say on the issue. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said on 26 August that the government had no plans to recall the parliament early, signaling that a decision on sending Turkish troops to Iraq was unlikely before October.

b) Drugs. A long-prepared drug interdiction operation by anti-narcotics agents from Bulgaria, the US, Britain, and Bolivia ended successfully on 6 August and led to the arrest of 5t of processed cocaine, in one of the biggest drug hauls in police history. Both the US and the UK governments thanked the Bulgarian authorities for the key role that Bulgarian security services played. Twenty-four drug-traffickers were arrested in Bolivia and six in Bulgaria. The prosecution continues.


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

a) Macedonia. (1) The EU Council of Ministers decided in late July to end the EU operation ‘Concordia’ in Macedonia by mid-December. The European Operational Rapid Force (EUROFOR) was dispatched to Macedonia at the end of March and was considered a test for the takeover of command in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ‘Concordia’ mission might be replaced by a certain police unit, whose task would be to monitor the work of the local authorities, similar to the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the beginning of 2003. (2) On 2 August, the Macedonian police arrested Mirko Hristov (45), suspected of an attempt to assassinate Macedonian President, Boris Trajkovski. The suspect was caught with hand grenade and a revolver minutes before Trajkovski was to deliver a speech at a national celebration in Krushevo. The Bulgarian vice-president was also attending the celebration. Hristov had earlier declared that he would personally end the rule of Boris Trajkovski and called on the people of Macedonia to join an interim revolutionary government. The arrested suspect is leader of the anti-globalization Macedonian people’s movement and an anti-NATO activist. (3) The second anniversary of the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement was marked on 13 August. It is still seen as a monumental and courageous political act, working for more ethnic solidarity and a better future for all ethnic groups. The challenge of implementing this Agreement is still great: after amending the Constitution, passing the required new legislation, and achieving a firm commitment by all communities to the political process, the rule of law, and a unitary multiethnic state, it remains to enforce ethnic tolerance and respect for the law at the behavioral level. The country is safer today than two years ago, with new multiethnic police patrols educated by the OSCE. But much more is needed before one could call Macedonia stable. The process of the Framework Agreement has not ended, and this overlaps with persistent, fundamental national identity problems and generates perceptions of ongoing instability of the young state. Criminal activity, terrorist ANA, and inadequacies of ethnic/national policy are major factors contributing to the persisting Macedonian instability two years after the signing of the Ohrid Agreement.

b) Kosovo. (1) Ethnically-motivated killings in Kosovo in the first days of August coincided with the inaugural visit to Kosovo of the new UNMIK chief, Finnish former prime minister Harri Holkeri. Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic called for an emergency session of the UN Security Council and said the UN was in control of the situation and branded the attacks on Serbs as terrorist acts. (2) On 12 August, the Serbian government officially declared its intention to retake control of Kosovo. This was the first comprehensive official statement on its policy in Kosovo since Milosevic was ousted in 2000. The document promised to give Kosovo substantial autonomy. The Serbian parliament unanimously adopted a resolution on 27 August declaring Kosovo an integral part of the republic, triggering an angry reaction from the province's independence-seeking ethnic Albanians. The declaration mapping out Serbia's strategy for Kosovo, which is administered by NATO and the United Nations, was approved by all 186 lawmakers present in the republic's 250-seat assembly. The document also calls for the return of some 200’000 Kosovo Serbs who have fled the southern province since NATO's 1999 bombardment, which forced then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to end his bloody crackdown on the province's majority Albanians. Kosovo's ethnic Albanian prime minister, Bajram Rexhepi, said Serbia's Kosovo declaration would do nothing but increase tensions in the volatile province, where most ethnic Albanians want independence. (3) On 8 August US Secretary of State, Colin Powell met with the new UN Special Representative to Kosovo, Harri Holkeri. The US official reaffirmed the American commitment to helping build a democratic, multiethnic Kosovo. Mr. Holker’s appointment came at an important time for Kosovo, as it seeks to achieve internationally-endorsed standards, including building democratic institutions, establishing rule of law, promoting the return of displaced persons and refugees, and beginning a dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. (4) On 19 August Mr. Holkeri said that his one-year mandate might be too short to bring the region’s ethnic Serbs and Albanians to the negotiating table. This is very much due to the outbreak of violence since the beginning of August in Kosovo. This means postponement of a EU plan, adopted at the Union’s Thessaloniki summit in June, anticipating that negotiations could start in July at the earliest. The atmosphere for talks is really inappropriate. The August tensions are very much because of the Pristina court ruling against four senior members of the disbanded KLA (UCK), who were found guilty of carrying out abductions, torture, and murders. (5) KFOR’s annual month-long operational exercise in Kosovo, ‘Dynamic response 2003’, began on 26 August. 6’500 soldiers out of the 21’000-strong force participated in the exercise. NATO is strongly committed to maintaining peace and stability in the overall Balkan region.

c) Southern Serbia. Three 60-mm rocket propelled grenades were fired at a base of the army of Serbia and Montenegro on 11 and 12 August in the village of Dobrosin, Southern Serbia, close to the border with Kosovo. The grenades were fired from the village, which is populated by Albanians. Nobody was injured, but a part of the barracks was damaged. In the spring of 2001, the main headquarters of the disbanded “Army for the Liberation of Presevo, Bujanovaz, and Medvedza” was stationed in Dobrosin. That group provoked a major ethnic and military clash, which ended with a political settlement after the Albanian rebels were crushed militarily. On 24 August three more blasts, this time in Presevo, wounded two Albanians. The target was a near-by Serbian police station, but the neighboring House of Culture’s yard was hit. The defense minister of Serbia and Montenegro, Boris Tadic, said that this was an escalation of conflict and a synchronized operation by ethnic Albanian extremists aiming to prevent peaceful talks between Serbs and Albanians on the future of Kosovo.

d) Bosnia and Herzegovina. SACEUR and US European Commander General James Jones said on 4 August that the proposed date of 2004 might be too early for the EU to take over the command in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Jones also questioned whether a European military mission in Bosnia would be needed. The United States considers the Balkan region to be extremely important for counter-terrorism operations. EU authorities think the military of the Union is ready to undertake such a task. The EU is conducting military missions in Macedonia and Congo and is preparing another in Moldova. None, however, are on the scale of the SFOR operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Jones believes it would be more appropriate for the EU to concentrate on providing a police force, especially if the positive trends in Bosnia and Herzegovina continue. The follow-up mission there could be a EU military one, but it should be essentially a policing action, Jones said. Lord Ashdown, the international community’s High Representative, backs the EU mission, but thinks changes on the ground should be made first. The EU had initially planned to take over the command of SFOR this spring, but the debates over Iraq with Washington changed the initial course of development on the issue.

 

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

1. Turkey. The Turkish Parliament adopted a package of reforms on 31 July that substantially reduces the influence of the Turkish military. The Turkish generals will have diminished powers in the National Security Council – a monthly forum and the main institutional power instrument of the military. The Council will be chaired by a civilian (a secretary general), not by a military officer as previously. The reforms are significant, but what will matter is the way they will be implemented. This reform package is a major pre-condition for Turkey’s starting EU accession negotiations. On 6 August, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer approved the reforms, signing them into law. The military, whose leadership is strictly secular and pro-Western, has pledged its support for EU membership, but many officers suspect that the country’s current government is not pursuing EU membership, but an Islamic agenda. The reforms are perceived as an effort to break the backbone of the staunchest supporter of secularism – the military - and not so much to fit to the EU requirements. Top generals on 10 August criticized Prime Minister Erdogan’s objections to the sacking of 18 officers accused of having ties with radical Islamic groups.

2. Serbia and Montenegro. On 8 August the top military committee of Serbia and Montenegro, the Supreme Defense Council, dismissed 16 generals, including the chief of the country’s military intelligence, General Radoslav Skoric. The dismissals are considered to be part of a purge among top-ranking officers who served under Slobodan Milosevic. It was also an act of reforming the military leadership of the former Yugoslav republic. Among the dismissed was the deputy chief of the General Staff, General Vladimir Lazarevic. He was the commander of the Yugoslav forces in Kosovo during the NATO bombing in 1999. The dismissed were loyal to the Milosevic regime during the wars in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. The government of Serbia and Montenegro plans to cut the armed forces from 78’000 to 50’000 personnel. The military reform includes the short-term dismissal of 200 lower-ranking officers.

 

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

1. Bilateral Relations
Bulgaria-Macedonia.
The chief of the general staff of the Macedonian armed forces, General Metodi Stamboliski, visited Bulgaria on 11 August. He met with his Bulgarian counterpart, General Nikola Kolev. This was General Stamboliski’s first official visit to Bulgaria. The two military leaders agreed to hold joint army exercises, and to train Macedonian officers and repair Macedonian aircraft in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

2. Regional Relations
a) SECI.
A conference organized by the Southeastern Cooperative Initiative (SECI) on “Progress Against Trafficking in Persons in Southeastern Europe” was convened on 1 August at the US Department of State in Washington, D. C.. Diplomats, government officials, law enforcement officers, policy-makers, activists, service providers, advocates, and others from across the Balkans and the United States gathered to discuss the state of the issues and how further progress might be made.
b) SEEBRIG. The Constanta-based Multinational Peacekeeping Force in Southeastern Europe, or SEEBRIG, on 14 August began preparations for its first exercise in December. The exercise will involve the command structures, and will be conducted under a scenario designed for specific peacekeeping missions, intervention in case of disaster, humanitarian catastrophe, and aid for victims of a disaster.

 

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

1. USTDA-South East Europe. On 6 August the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) provided to Serbia and Montenegro a grant of US$253,314 for improving its telecommunications services. On 19 August USTDA provided US$710’000 to Croatia to improve its oil and gas industry. On 20 August USTDA signed a grant agreement of US$547’285 to Romania to help it achieve EU environmental standards.

2. IMF-South East Europe. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) decided on 31 July to lend Serbia and Montenegro US$140million after completing the second review of the country’s economic program. The IMF expects Belgrade to implement sound macroeconomic policies and to achieve an acceleration of the pace of structural reforms by the end of 2003. On 1 August, the IMF completed its review of Turkey’s economic performance and allowed Ankara to draw US$476million under its stand-by agreement. Continued strong political action is required from Turkey to achieve its macroeconomic targets. Also on 1 August, the IMF completed its first review of Croatia’s 14-month stand-by credit. The Croat authorities continue to treat the stand-by agreement as precautionary and do not intend to draw on the funds available under it. The IMF expects Croatia to improve its sizable fiscal and external current account deficits. The government should focus also on public enterprise restructuring and privatization. There are other issues that must be resolved to promote Croatia’s EU bid.

3. WB-Romania. The World Bank (WB) on 31 July approved a loan of US$80million to Romania to help the rehabilitation and modernization of the country’s agricultural irrigation system. The improvements are expected to directly benefit approximately 40’000 farming families and workers in agricultural associations.

 

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

1. NATO-Romania. SACEUR General James Jones visited Romania from 4-5 August. He told the Romanian leaders to continue the reforms of the state’s armed forces as it prepares to join NATO in May 2004. The reforms should lead to a higher quality and more professionalism and efficiency in the army. SACEUR did not specify what reforms were necessary, but urged downsizing the Romanian armed forces. By 2005, Romania should have 112’000 military and 28’000 civilian personnel remaining from the current total of 200’000.

2. NATO-Seven Candidate Countries. The Czech parliament on 7 August ratified, with an overwhelming majority of votes, the NATO accession protocols to the Washington Treaty of 1949 of seven European countries including Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia. Fifty members of the Senate voted in favor of the accession and two against. The Czech Republic was the ninth NATO member country to ratify the accession of the seven candidates. Ratification procedures had already been already completed by Canada, Norway, the US, Denmark, Hungary, Luxembourg, Germany, and Italy. The NATO accession protocols were signed on 26 March in Brussels and their ratification process in all 19 NATO member countries should be concluded by May 2004. The US and the US Department of State are the depository state and institution respectively of the ratified agreements.

 

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

1. US
a) US-Romania. Government representatives of Romania and the US on 5 August signed an agreement in Bucharest for granting supplementary assistance of almost US$1million to the Balkan country to fight corruption in the public sector, and to upgrade the police’s capabilities for investigating cyber-crime and for carrying out anti-drug operations. This agreement on supplementary assistance is in addition to a similar agreement of 2001 worth US$975’000. The new grant will be used for three different projects.

b) USA-Serbia and Montenegro. In the first days of August, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic and Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro Goran Svilanovic visited Washington, D. C. The visit was an interesting display of the two sides’ different feelings and expectations towards each other. Prime Minister Zivkovic shared, with a black sense of humor, his perception that the Serbs cannot stand an independent Kosovo, NATO, or the United States. Goran Svilanovic during his meetings with top US officials accused the US (as well as the EU) of lacking the courage to promote Serbia’s case. In the old traditional ‘Serbian way’, the Foreign Minister pointed out to the US officials what he perceived to be ‘their main problems’ in Europe: Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. It is difficult to comment on this view in a few short words; however, the US side had expected to hear more about the fate of General Ratko Mladic and about the future of the legal case upheld by official Serbian institutions against NATO and US leaders. Unless the Serbian leaders stop casting their country and people as the victims of Europe, identifying other nations as ‘the problematic cases’, and not Serbia itself, while expecting financial, political, economic, and military support – in other words, without cleaning up their own past act – they will hardly achieve the results that the people of Serbia expect. Even proposals for a stronger partnership between Serbia and Montenegro and the US in Iraq would not compensate existing deficiencies that require patience, persistence, and effective democratization. Belgrade is formally a candidate for PfP. Standard transformations in the country’s defense establishment, security sector, civil-military relations, and the national political elite’s mentality are required before the Balkan country qualifies for membership in NATO’s PfP.

 

VIII. CONCLUSIONS

The different fronts of the war on terrorism – Afghanistan, Iraq, the global fight against al-Qaida, national anti-terrorism measures, have focused the security policy of the majority of the Balkan countries. The problems in the region, however, persist. Though progress has been evident for the last several months, tensions in Macedonia, Kosovo, and Southern Serbia have re-appeared and do not allow any distraction from the problems of stability in the Western Balkans. Serbia and Montenegro, a large and important country in the heart of the Western Balkans, is still lagging behind the required pace of reforming its state and society. The autumn of this year is, as always in the region, expected to be difficult and politically hot.


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