Tuesday, April 15, 2008


SOFIA, Bulgaria (April 15,2008) – The 7th conference of parliamentary speakers from the member states of the Sout East European Co-operation Process (SEECP) opened in the Bulgarian capital Sofia yesterday with the theme "enhancing the role of parliaments in the Interparliamentary Regional Cooperation of the countries of the region.

On behalf of the Bosnian State Parliament, Milorad Zivkovic attended the conference as the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives Speaker.

The Bulgarian Primer Minister Sergei Stanishev said yesterday that regional cooperation was a critical prerequisite for southeast European nations to integrate with NATO and the European Union (EU).

Speaking at the conference, Stanishev highlighted the importance of developing good neighborly relations and finding mutually acceptable solutions to regional disputes.

The Greek parliament speaker Dimitris Sioufas stressed the need for specific policies, actions and initiatives to render the region of southeastern Europe an "islet of stability, growth and creativity".

"The region of SE Europe can evolve from the weak link of Europe throughout the 20th century into an area of political stability, peace and cooperation among the peoples, today, a magnet for investments, and a region with high economic growth rates that ensure prospects of prosperity for our peoples," Sioufas said, adding that the "key" to achieving this goal was the region's European prospect,he said.

Reiterating Greece's support for EU accession for all the countries of the region, Sioufas noted that the benefits would be mutual: the SE Europe countries need the European Union and accession to its institutions, on the one hand, but on the other EU integration rlied on the incorporation of the entire neighborhood into a new European status quo, into the large European family.

SEECP parliamentary speakers issued a declaration yesterday calling for better parliamentary cooperation in an effort to solve regional disputes.

They also signed a memorandum of understanding titled "Inter-parliamentary Cooperation in Southeast Europe," pushing for the exchange of information between national legislatures, especially of countries seeking EU membership.

The South East European Co-operation Process (SEECP) was launched on Bulgaria's initiative in 1996. At the Bulgaria-chaired meeting in Sofia, the SEE countries laid the foundations for regional co-operation for the purposes of creating an atmosphere of trust, good neighbourly relations and stability.

Members include Albania,Bosnia,Bulgaria,Greece,Macedonia,Romania,
Serbia,Turkey,Croatia,Moldova and Montenegro.

The basic goals of regional co-operation within SEECP include the strengthening of security and political situation, intensification of economic relations and co-operation in human resources, democracy, justice, and battle against illegal activities. It is the intention of the SEECP to enable its members to approach the European and Euro-Atlantic structures through the strengthening of good neighbourly relations and transformation of the region into an area of peace and stability.

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