First Conference of Speakers of Parliament - Athens, 15-16 October 1997
Parliamentary cooperation and its institutional form were given a conceptual outline during the Greek Chairmanship-in-Office (1997 – 1998) when the First Conference of Speakers of Parliament in South East Europe was held. Then, for the first time, the concept of „regular meetings at the higghest parliamentary level” took shape, with “meetings held on a rotation principle using the model of Speakers of Parliament meetings held by European Union Member States”. It was therefore proposed that the host country should at the same time hold the Chairmanship-in-Office and act as coordinator of South East European parliamentary cooperation. Creating a Working Group to incllude representatives and experts of each Parliameent in South East Europe to work on the implementation of resolutions made at parliamentary summits was proposed. The Working Group was expected to discuss and reach an agreement on the issue of institutionalising the Parliamentary Asembly of South East -European countries.
Second Conference of Speakers of Parliaments of South East Europe, Skopje, 19-21 March 2001
After a four year break in the parliamentary cooperation on highest level, on initiative of the host country the next conference was held on 19-21 March 2001 in Skopje on the topic: “The parliamentary contribution to stability, economic growth, democracy and good-neighbourly relations in SEE”.
The Annex to the Skopje Declaration contained a detailed procedural mechanism for parliamentary cooperation between SEE countries. It also listed a specific proposal that Speakers of Parliaments during their annual meetings do not just limit themselves to political declarations to encourage parliamentary cooperation, but will also provide their assessment of the cooperation at governmental level, and the overall development of the Proces.
Third Conference of Speakers of Parliaments of South East Europe, Tirana, 5 March 2002
The Tirana Declaration is notable for the fact that, in addition to the above mentioned ideas and mechanisms, it also contained a proposal to establish a Parliamentary Assembly to enhance the active exchange of information and experience, strengthen cooperation, promote security and stability in the region, and step up the process of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
The concepts and objectives of the meetings and the decllarations signed at the SEE Parliamentary Summit in Skopje in 2001 and in Tirana of March 2002 were very similar, with the emphasis being mostly on cooperation in the field of economy, trade, fight against terrorism etc.
Fourth Conference of Speakers of Parliament in Sarajevo, 27 March 2004
At the Sarajevo Conference /27 March 2004/, Speakers of Parliament expressed their satisfaction with the reaffirmed European perspective for the Western Balkans at the Thessaloniki meeting of SEECP Heads of State and Government, which accelerated the process of stabilization and association. Emphasis was placed on parliamentary cooperation among the countries and the exchange of experience to speed up the necessary reforms and transposition of the acquis. Parliaments were called upon to be more active at the national level in stepping up the process of European integration.
Fifth Conference of Speakers of Parliament in Athens, 17 March 2006
The fifth conference of Speakers of Parliament in the region took place on 17 March 2006 in Athens. The key topics discussed at the forum included: democrratisation and development of civil society, promoting active regional cooperation and the European perspective of the countries in the region.
At this meeting, participants unanimusly agreed on the need to establish stability and security in the region, adhere to the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of state borders in accordance with international law, and in particular with the United Nations Charter and the Final Act of Helsinki. In this context, the issue of the future status of Kosovo was raised, with participating countries uniting around the opinion that strengthening a democratic multi-ethnic society can be achieved through dialogue and compromise with assistance from the UN.
Sixth Conference of Speakers of Parliament in Zagreb, 16-17 April 2007
In June 2006, the SEECP presidency was taken over by Croatia. The objectives of the Stability Pact had, to a large extent, been achieved. The situation in the region was stable. The process of cooperation in SEE was irreversible. Numerous formats of cooperation in all priority areas were active. The idea of transforming the Stability Pact was beginning to take shape, especially in connection with the need to improve coordination between separate regional initiatives and formats. Such transformation was also becoming necessary due to the desire of SEE countries to take greater responsibility for the region's development in their own hands. The gradual process of institutionalisation and stronger coordination of cooperation started.
In Zagreb, the conference concluded that an entirely new role was now in place for South East European parliaments. Democratisation and European integration processes had entered a new phase. The European and Euro-Atlantic perspective of the countries in „the new” South East Europe had been clearly outlined.
The meeting in the Croatian capital emphasised the new opportunities open to countries in the region for dialogue, tolerance and cooperation in political and public life. Further emhasis was given to the contribution of regional cooperation to democracy, political and social dialogue and tolerance, as well as in encouraging the protection of human rights and enhanced economic growth.
At the meeting in Zagreb, in order to ensure continuity in developing parliamentary cooperation at the change of the rotation presidency, the Troika was introduced /former, current and next president/. At the same meeting, Bulgaria was designated to host the Regional Focal Point for Parliamentary Co- operation in SE Europe / renamed in 2008 to Regional Secretariat for Parliamentary Cooperation/.
The forum also welcomed the proposal for the establishment of a Regional Cooperation Council as a step to improve the coordination of activities of SEECP countries, the European Union and other international partners. The forum also noted the establishment of the Conference of the European Integration Parliamentary Committees of States participating to the Stabilisation of Association Process (COSAP) and welcomed the Republic of Moldova as a full member of SEECP.
Seventh Conference of Speakers of Parliament in Sofia, 13- 15 April 2008
The Seventh Conference of SEECP Speakers of Parliaments was held on 13 - 15 April 2008 in Sofia and was dedicated to “Enhancing the Overarching Role of Interparliamentary Cooperation in South East Europe”. Participants in the forum united around the view that cooperation in the region had been brought to a new level after the phasing-out of the Stability Pact and its transformation into a Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and RSPC SEE. Participants in the Seventh Conference of SEECP Speakers of Parliament signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation.
The document aimed to ensure a stronger and accelerated cooperation between parliaments in the region.
The meetings at different levels organised by the SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office, with support from the Regional Secretariat for Parliamentary Cooperation, were expected to be a forum for dialogue and decisions on specific steps in implementation of common regional goals.
Eighth Conference of Speakers of Parliament in Antalya, 5-8 June 2010
The Eighth Conference of the SEECP Spekers of the Parliament was held in Antalya on 5-8 June 2010.
The title of the Conference was “Perspectives on establishing a Parliamentary Assembly”. The agenda of the Conference also included “Combating with the negative effects of World Economic Crisis on SEECP Member Countries” and “Cooperation of the SEECP Parliamentary Dimension with Parliamentary organisations and regional/international institutions”.
In Antalya the Speakers of SEECP Parliaments reaffirmed the engagement in making concerted efforts to promote all-round growth of good-neighbourly relations, friendship and cooperation based on international law and mutual interests, and to contribute more ambitiously to ensuring peace, stability, prosperity and development of the states and peoples in the region in light of the common European perspective.
They also underlined the importance of the regional ownership principle for the further stabilisation of the South East Europe and express their readiness to endorse regional cooperation and joint acts to contribute to assurance of sustainable regional stability and wealth of the region and on overcoming the negative impacts of the world economic crisis on SEECP countries.
In light with the proposal by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on establishing the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly, in their Final Declaration the Speakers of the SEECP Parliaments gave support on further institutionalisation of the SEECP Parliamentary Dimension.
Ninth Conference of the SEECP Speakers of Parliaments in Becici, 13-15 June
Podgorica took over the Chairmanship-in-Office of the South East European Cooperation Process at the Istanbul Summit on 23 June 2010. In fulfilling its duties as CiO the Parliament in Podgorica organized two meetings of the newly established Working Group of the SEECP Parliamentary Dimension and the 9th Conference of the SEECP Speakers of Parliament which took place in Bečići on 13-15 June 2011.
The main topic of the agenda of the 9th Conference was dedicated to discussions on relations between Parliaments and Governments in the process of EU Integration – Strengthening the role and the capacities of the Parliament as a response to the framework set by the Lisbon Treaty. The agenda included presentation of the Report of the Working group of the SEECP PD in fulfilling the guidelines of the previous Speakers' Conference and adoption of a Final Declaration.
The Final Declaration of the 9th Conference of SEECP Speakers of Parliament outlines that ones of the main objectives of mutual cooperation in this framework must be the strong and unanimous endeavour for enlargement of EU and that SEECP is one of important networks and means for achieving political and economical stability in this part of Europe.
The Speakers of Parliament affirm the necessity of stronger proactive approach by the parliaments as regards all relevant areas, which should result in establishing various authentic regional initiatives and networks as close regional partners of the SEECP Parliamentary dimension.
Tenth Conference of the Presidents of Parliament of the SEECP Participating States
On 26-28 May2013 10th Conference of the Presidents of Parliament of the SEECP Participating States took placein Ohrid.
The Agenda of the Conference, proposed by the Macedonian Chairmanship-in-Office, included debates on issues concerning the role of the national parliaments and regional interparliamentary cooperation in overcoming the effects of the economic crisis; Report on the guidelines and modalities for further development of SEECP Parliamentary dimension and leading to setting up a Parliamentary Assembly which was presented by the Chair of the SEECP PD Working Group and adoption of Final Declaration and other official documents of the 10th Conference of the SEECP Presidents of Parliament.
In a Joint Statement the SEECP Presidents of Parliament reaffirmed their commitment to the continuous contribution for fulfilling the letter and spirit of the Bucharest Charter of Good Neighbourly Relations, Stability, Security and Cooperation in South East Europe, as well as the Memorandum of Understanding on Interparliamentary Cooperation in South East Europe and the Final Declarations from the previous nine Conferences of the SEECP Speakers of Parliament which have repeatedly expresed the will for continuous realization, development and promotion of the SEECP parliamentary dimension. They declared their commitment for institutionalization and transformation of the SEECP Parliamentary Dimension into SEECP Parliamentary Assembly as a regular parliamentary forum for exchange of experiences, dialogue and cooperation on issues of special interest for the SEE countries and their citizens, that would act in synergy with the regional and international partners.
The adopted Final Declaration welcomedthe Europe 2020 strategy of the EU and the SEE 2020 strategy of the Regional Cooperation Council that are aimed at achieving sustainable and inclusive development, as well as initiating activities in the priority areas such as economic and social development, energy and infrastructure, justice and domestic affairs, security cooperation, and human resources development.
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