News archive - Stability Pact passes baton to Regional Co-operation Council

In the course of the final Regional Table meeting of the Stability Pact in Sofia on February 27, 2008, the Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe Erhard Busek handed over the responsibility for regional co-operation in South Eastern Europe to the Regional Co-operation Council (RCC) and its Secretary General Hido Bisčevič.

On the occasion of the Sofia meetings, Erhard Busek, the Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe underlined the significance of this transition, “the future of regional co-operation in South Eastern Europe starts here, today. Flexibility, adaptability, perseverance and tenacity have been prominent features of the Stability Pact’s approach and success.
I therefore encourage you Cooperation Council to persevere and be tenacious in your efforts to continue on the path of co-operation and integration”. Hido Bisˇcˇ evicˇ , the Secretary General of the RCC thanked Busek for the enormous contribution of the Stability Pact to transforming the region and changing the mindsets of its peoples. Ministers of Foreign Affairs of almost every South Eastern European country, as well as a number of European Union Member States Foreign Ministers, were present at the event.
Currently, the RCC is in the process of selecting future staff for its main office in Sarajevo and for the Liaison Office in Brussels. Several people have already been appointed and started working in Sarajevo. Parallel to this process, the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe will continue to function until June 2008 in order to assure the training of the new staff, as well as establishing operational links between numerous initiatives and the new structure of the RCC.

Memorandum of Understanding signed
This can especially be observed in the field of education and research.
On the occasion of the twenty-second session of the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education that took place in Istanbul on May 4-5, 2007, the Stability Pact organised the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed by the South Eastern European Ministers responsible for Education, Science and Research. All South Eastern European countries, except for Serbia, signed the document to this date. Thus, the signing countries agreed that education, higher education, science and research are areas of key importance for the future of the South East European region as well as for the EU integration process of the Western Balkan countries. Furthermore, on August 24, 2007, a Declaration of Intent (DoI) to strengthen and deepen the Co-operation in Education, Science and Research with the aim to foster and build Human Capital in South Eastern Europe was signed in Alpbach, Austria. The declaration was signed by Claudia Schmied, Federal Minister of Education, Arts and Culture of the Republic of Austria; Christian Mihai Adomnitei, Minister of Education, Research and Youth of Romania; Johannes Hahn, Federal Minister of Science
and Research of the Republic of Austria and was acknowledged by Erhard Busek, on behalf of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.
The signatories agreed to continue active engagement in the partnerships and activities initiated and led by the Task Force Education and Youth of the Stability Pact as well as to widen the field of activities to the area of science and research. Furthermore, the focus shall be expanded to the Fostering and Building Human Capital priority area of the RCC. Moreover, it was offered to other countries of the region to sign a proposal for the establishment of the Task Force Building Human Capital.
The aim was to expand the field of involvement of the Task Force to the area of research.

New Task Force Building Human Capital
The Working Table I of the Stability Pact (Democracy), in charge of the portfolio of Fostering and Building Human Capital, took note of the positive reaction of the South Eastern European Ministries of Education and Research to the aforementioned proposal. Moreover, the Working Table I underlined the significance of the new Task Force for creating awareness and facilitating the formulation of recommendations for the RCC in the area of Human Capital. In addition, Austria and Romania as chairman and co-chairman were entrusted by the Stability Pact to elaborate a profile and structure for the new Task Force, which is to be endorsed by April 2008.
The main objective of the new Task Force will be to promote and facilitate regular meetings of high level officials and senior experts from the education, higher education and research sectors of the South East European Co-operation Process region, which should feed into the ministerial levels in this sector. The RCC, the signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding from Istanbul, the Task Force Education and Youth, the Members of the Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE) and the Steering Platform on Research for the Western Balkans are invited to participate in the meetings of the Task Force Fostering and Building Human Capital as its founding members.

The two greatest challenges for this newly formed Task Force will be, firstly, to establish functional links with the RCC and its Senior Expert in charge of this portfolio, and secondly, to efficiently include the research portfolio into the operation of the new Task Force, since its predecessor Task Force Education and Youth did not, in the institutional sense, work in this field.

Srdjan Cvijic
Stability Pact

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.

Entry created by Elke Dall on April 30, 2008
Modified on May 4, 2008