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History and Objectives
The SEDM Process in brief
In consequence of the tumultuous experiences of the last decade and following NATO-led missions that aimed to build as well as to maintain peace and security in South-East Europe, a consideration for a necessity of a consistent regional cooperation mechanism in this region emerged in the international society. Hence came forward the South-East Europe Defense Ministerial (SEDM) Process, which began with a meeting of Ministers of Defense held in Tirana in March 1996, first of a series of meetings that convened the Ministers of Defense, Deputy Ministers of Defense and Deputy Chiefs of Defense of nations of South-East Europe. The activities undertaken within the context of the SEDM Process have developed the security of South-East Europe by three major ways: promoting regional cooperation and good neighborly relations, strengthening regional Defense capabilities as well as cooperation through collective efforts and last but not least, establishing links facilitating integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions.
Main objective of the SEDM process is strengthening understanding and politico-military cooperation in the region in order to enhance the stability and security in SEE.
- Promotion of mutual understanding, confidence and cooperation among member countries
- Contribution of SEDM and Multinational Peace Force of the SEE (MPFSEE) / South-Eastern Europe Brigade (SEEBRIG) to regional and worldwide security and stability
- Enhancement of the SEEBRIG interoperability and capability to deploy in peace support missions
- Facilitation of SEEBRIG employment in peace support operations
- Promotion of Euro-Atlantic integration processes of SEDM member nations
- Implementation and development of the SEDM projects
- Enlargement of the SEDM process with new members
- Cooperation with International Organizations (UN, EU, NATO and OCSE)
Since the MPFSEE Agreement was signed on 26 September 1998 the SEDM, with its constituent member nations, has achieved considerable progress. To date the South Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial (SEDM) has had a role to play in strengthening peace and stability in the region of South Eastern Europe and importantly has contributed to peace efforts further afield. During the past thirteen years the SEDM forum has been effective, with dialogue aimed at building a more secure and prosperous region through close regional co-operation and sharing common aims between member countries and observer nations. SEDM has achieved an internationally recognised image, including being held as an excellent model of mutual co-operation among States that are committed to strengthen international peace and stability. The development of those basic values is enshrined in such internationally renowned organisations, such as the UN, NATO, the EU and the OSCE. We have also created a military instrument, SEEBRIG, which enables us to work more closely together, to improve our joint defence capabilities, to assist in joining larger organisations such as NATO and the EU, which will strengthen Euro-Atlantic ties. In this vein could be suitable the proposal to stop the command rotation that takes place every four years in order to offer further possibilities to share professional expertise and to strengthen the already-existing cooperation.
MPFSEE / SEDM Outline Concept
Nevertheless, despite our achievement this is not the time for inactivity; further efforts should be made to develop and progress further this initiative. The MPFSEE / SEDM is no different – if we stand still our current structure will lack purpose, direction and effectiveness. We must do all we can, within the resources available, to co-ordinate ongoing regional security initiatives, promote the employment of SEEBRIG in conflict prevention and other peace support operations and to assist in the international community’s wider peace efforts. For those risks that we can predict, we must act both to reduce the likelihood of their occurring and develop the resilience to reduce their impact. Furthermore, the only way to improve the capacity of conflict prevention could be the wider integration into the useful partnership on a regional or international basis. Should we seek to undertake security tasks only within the boundaries of our countries or should we assist the wider international security effort to assure peace and stability inside and outside our region? Alliances and partnerships are a fundamental part of our approach to defence and security. We have built a constructive relationship across South Eastern Europe and we must maintain this to ensure peace and the conditions for mutual growth. However, we can go further by seeking greater international engagement that is essential to our future security that is based prioritarily on the Euro Atlantic structures as the bedrock of our defence, but also with an outward-facing EU that promotes security and prosperity. These deepened relationships, from which we can share capabilities, technologies and programmes, aim to ensure that collective resources can go further. Much of what we want to achieve can be fulfilled through SEEBRIG. However, we need to determine what we want SEEBRIG to do and, importantly, what we want it to become in the future. By utilising SEEBRIG in this way it can assist members willing to attain and maintain Euro-Atlantic standards, which are necessary to meet and maintain Euro-Atlantic and European aspirations. Importantly, we should also strive to raise the profile of SEDM and SEEBRIG, both internationally and nationally, so that communities understand what we do, why we do it and what benefits are derived from such collective efforts.
Sofia Chairmanship 2021-2023
Secretariat of the South-Eastern Europe Defense Ministerial Process Coordination Committee (SEDM-CC) And Politico-Military Steering Committee (PMSC)
Message from Chairman, Plamen Hristov Yordanov, Deputy Minister of Defence
As of July 2021 Sofia takes over the rotational Chairmanship of the South-Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial Process.
The SEDM Process as a forum is an excellent example of constructive cooperation which reinforces mutual trust and understanding between the SEDM nations. Within that context we should continue our joint efforts to cope with all the challenges we are facing thus enhancing security and stability in South-Eastern Europe.
No doubt the Process is an excellent format that provides good opportunities for active regional dialogue and cooperation on defence and security matters. For sure, the future development of the SEDM Process will contribute to building confidence and enhancing the military cooperation.
I would like to assure you that Sofia’s Chairmanship endeavors will be aimed at keeping the momentum and will make its best to identify new mechanisms so as to further develop the initiative and the projects it encompasses.
Sofia’s Chairmanship slogan – “Wisdom, Cooperation and Strength” has been elaborated based on the accumulated past and present knowledge and experience, namely the first host of SEEBRIG HQ in Plovdiv 1999-2003; the first SEEBRIG deployment under the command of BG Neyko Nenov in 2006; Sofia Chairmanship – 2007-2009. We firmly believe that through our experience and your collaboration the SEDM Process will overcome the contemporary challenges, will strengthen the unity of the participating nations and will contribute to the regional stability and prosperity.
The priorities of Sofia Chairmanship are, as follows:
- Keeping the “Open door” policy and constructive participation of SEDM countries in the projects and activities within the framework of the initiative aimed at enhancing the defense capabilities and interoperability of the Armed Forces of the countries in the region;
- Enabling a high-level political-military dialogue within the SEDM Process framework, that would systematically contribute to strengthening SEE defense cooperation;
- Strengthening the regional defense cooperation based on the implementation of concrete joint projects, trainings and exercises with tangible results, as well as enhancing the interoperability and capabilities of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force for South East Europe (MPFSEE) and their physical dimension – SEEBRIG;
- Further developing the participating countries’ capacity for timely and effective response to potential asymmetric threats, crisis management and disaster response in SEE region;
- Increasing the visibility and the role of the SEDM process and the Multinational Peacekeeping Force for South East Europe, by presenting their goals and achieved results, as well as, their added value as confidence-building instruments within the region of SEE.