RCC Secretary General, EU Enlargement Director General agree 2010 successful for regional cooperation

13 December 2010

Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), Hido Biscevic, met in Brussels today with the European Commission's Director General for Enlargement, Michael Leigh, to discuss preparations for implementation of the RCC Strategy and Work Programme 2011-2013, and evaluate the progress made thus far.

The two officials agreed that 2010 has been a successful year for regional cooperation, with the RCC strategy being adopted and the progress achieved in improving the political climate in the region.

Secretary General Biscevic thanked Director General Leigh for a continued support to the RCC and highlighted a need to maintain the current spirit of rapprochement, moderation and pragmatism in the region as an environment conducive to further strengthening regional cooperation and stability.

He informed the Commission's Director General of the progress made in the areas of rule or law, fight against corruption, and justice and home affairs in general. He emphasized that the drafting of the regional strategy to fight organized crime and corruption is nearing completion. He informed of the second meeting of the region's chiefs of military intelligence held two months ago in Belgrade, the creation of South East European association of public broadcasters, cooperation among universities, and the conference on the Implementation of Single European Sky in South East Europe (ISIS Programme) in Budva in September.

Secretary General Biscevic also discussed remaining challenges in regional cooperation and the need for pragmatic solutions to inclusiveness to move forward with issues such as CEFTA and Transport Community Treaty, as well as shared views and observations on how to contribute to the facilitation of positive developments in this respect.

Director General Leigh showed particular interest in implementation of the RCC strategy and expressed hope that a formula could be developed that would work for regional cooperation and that the enlargement countries will continue with necessary reforms to maintain the enlargement momentum, in line with the recent European Commission’s enlargement strategy and progress reports.

He positively assessed the RCC Secretariat’s work so far, reiterated expectation of concrete results and supported the adaptations in the Secretariat’s structure together with the budget reductions envisaged in 2011. Director General Leigh expressed expectation that the RCC would successfully balance project design activities with the coordinating role and overall insight in the region, adding the regional cooperation value.

The two officials agreed on further cooperation between the European Commission and the RCC in implementing related aspects of Europe 2020 in Western Balkans.