The Bulgarian presidency of the SEECP
Daniel MitovThe Balkan countries have made remarkable progress in solving a number of serious problems during the past two decades, but more efforts are required to achieve lasting peace and prosperity in the region. Taking over the South East European Cooperation Project (SEECP) chairmanship for the third time, Bulgaria will work towards increasing the voice of the SEECP countries within the framework of the continental debates and the integration processes. A collective and persistent “we” – mutually spoken by all of us – will add more strength and legitimacy to the countries in the region.
Looking towards the future, we should firmly and definitely wipe out the alternatives replacing democracy as well as aggressive nationalism and populism. The European future is the unifying factor for the region, while the integration process is its driving force in that direction. The cooperation among the countries is a powerful tool for moving ahead in the future. Each country in the region can and should contribute to the peaceful, democratic and prosperous Balkans. We should strive towards common standards in the interpretation of history, politics, diplomacy, rule of law and media freedom. Finally, we should stop being hostages of the subjective interpretations of our historical past and start being people sharing a common interest in the future – including decent income for our citizens, guaranteeing their regional security and democratic perspective.
Balkans can be an example of effective cooperation
That is the reason why the main priorities set out by Bulgaria are so clearly formulated and concrete in their search for an answer to the most relevant and serious challenges southeastern European countries face. Precisely, the South-East European Cooperation Process, which has proven itself an effective and relevant mechanism for fruitful political dialogue among the countries in the region, will be the key instrument to ensure stability and security in the region. During the one-year period of its chairmanship, Bulgaria will aim to achieve concrete results in major issues on the regional agenda. Only through joint efforts and shared values, stability and economic growth can be achieved and hence the southeastern European people will enjoy the prosperity and fair-dealing which we deserve along with everyone else.
We thank our Romanian and Albanian colleagues for the fruitful cooperation within the “Troika” format. We welcome the willingness of Croatia to take over the next SEECP chairmanship. Our country will strongly support each successive chairmanship of the process that is committed to the Euro-Atlantic perspective of the region. We are convinced that our joint work within the SEECP will show to the rest of the world the effective and beneficial example of the Balkans. We all together will transform the current challenges in the region into new opportunities for the decent future of our peoples.
Daniel Mitov is Bulgaria’s foreign minister