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    • Report from our regional study tour

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    • In quest for partners and fresh outlook on old and new security issues, team of the Centre for Civil-Military Relations consisted of research fellows at Belgrade School of Security Studies (BSSS) and associates of the Centre went round Western Balkans Region, from 14th to 21st September 2008. On that occasion, we visited Zagreb, Sarajevo, Podgorica, Tirana and Skopje.

      In Bosnia Directorate for European Integration, Sarajevo, September 2008
      In Bosnia Directorate for European Integration, Sarajevo, September 2008
      The aim of our study visit was to gain information about the integration process, security sector reform, the status of the security studies in these countries, as well as strengthen contacts and cooperation with expert organizations in this field. The meetings were organized with the representatives of relevant non-governmental organizations, governmental and academic institutions. We signed Memorandum of understandings with the following organizations: Institute for International Relations from Zagreb, Centre for Security Studies from Sarajevo, Institute for Democracy and Mediation from Tirana, and Analytica from Skopje.

      Zagreb

      The tour started with a visit to the Institute for International Relations from Zagreb, with whom we signed the first Memorandum of understanding. The Institute is one of the leading organizations in Croatia for research of the process of European integration, international relations, security, resource economics, culture and communication. The Centre’s team was hosted by director of Institute, Mladen Staničić, PhD and research associate Sandro Knezovic, M.A. At the meeting, we exchanged publications and experiences about organization of research projects and financing of public and nongovernmental institutions. For the CCMR team, a research of efficiency of the Strategy of Communication in the process of accession of Government of Republic Croatia in NATO was the most interesting. Potential issues for joint researches were explored.

      Sonja Stojanovic and Mladen Stanicic in Zagreb, September 2008
      Sonja Stojanovic and Mladen Stanicic in Zagreb, September 2008
      Most of the Centre’s researchers have visited Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb, and Department of Sociology. The researchers were hosted by dr Ozren Zunec, Professor of Faculty of Philosophy, and his assistants Petra Rodik and Kruno Kardon. Considering that Prof. Zunec and his assistants are active on subject Sociology of Army and War, the topic of the debate was reform of the army in Croatia and Serbia, as well as current political situation in these countries. Also, at the meeting hosts and guests were discussing ongoing project „Military Culture and Identity of Armed Force of Republic Croatia“, conducted within the Department of Sociology. Furthermore, conversation showed potential ways of cooperation in different publications and journals, primarily in the Polemos and in the Western Security Observer.

      Third meeting was 14km north of Zagreb in place called Rakitje, where the researchers of Belgrade School of Security Studies visited RACVIAC - Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre. In RACVIAC host was its Excellency Nedžad S. Hadzimusić, director of RACVIAC, as well as leaders of certain sectors - military officers from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, and civilian experts from Germany and Austria. After short introduction of this multi-national centre, hosts and guests have started debate about regional security cooperation and future role of RACVIAC. Namely, there is an ongoing discussion about the structure, functioning, and future plans of this Centre, common to many other regional initiatives founded by Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, which recently have been transformed into the Regional Cooperation Council. Conclusion of the meeting was that countries of Western Balkans should be active and participate in European and Euro Atlantic integration to achieve regional stability. It is necessary to fight organized crime, corruption, and foster confidence building measures which will strengthen trust within the region.

      With friends from CSS in Sarajevo, September 2008. Denis Hadzovic speaking.
      With friends from CSS in Sarajevo, September 2008. Denis Hadzovic speaking.
      Sarajevo

      On the second day of the regional tour, 16th of September, CCMR delegation visited Sarajevo. The first meeting was held at the Centre for Security Studies' office, where we were warmly welcomed by the Centre's staff, headed by Mr Denis Hadžović. The Centre for Security Studies (CSS), established in 2001, is an independent research, educational and training enterprise dedicated to encouraging informed debate on security matters and to promoting and sustaining democratic structures and processes in foreign and security policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in the region of South-East Europe. After a brief introduction and presentation of the two organizations, the rest of the meeting was focused on current activities of the CSS,  with special regard on illegal arms reduction campaign, aimed at motivating citizens to hand over their weapons to authorities and to minimize its festive usage. The final goal of this campaign is lowering the number of casualties of the illegal firearms, and BSSS members have joined it by wearing t-shirts with LET'S DEFEAT FIREARMS slogan, presented by the hosts. CCMR delegation also had an opportunity to get familiar with the publications of the CSS, and to present its own publications.

      Next, CCMR members visited the Directorate for European Integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina where they had the pleasure to meet its director, Mr Osman Topčagić. During this interesting meeting it was discussed about different issues regarding Bosnian integration into the EU. CCMR delegation was presented with a brief overview of this process, its planned course and some significant hot-spots and problems that have to be dealt with. Mr Topčagić also gave very detailed and open elaboration of specific challenges Bosnia encounters on its integration route, like the role of High representative, development of institutional capacities, revaluation of the Dayton Constitution, harmonization of the entities, etc.

      Finally, CCMR delegation met with the representatives of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) successor of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. Dr Jelica Minić, deputy Secretary General and Head of the Expert Team, and Mr Efrem Radev, Senior Expert for Security Cooperation, briefed the delegation about the RCC's functions. One of the highlighted functions was Council's role as a link between regional initiatives and donor community. They also stressed potential problems for further development of the region - energy resources and infrastructural development difficulties, among others - and RCC's endeavors to overcome them. The essence of the RCC's being was effectively described by Mr Radev, using a good metaphor of joining regional “bare nerves” into functional “nervous system”, which should enable good communication between decision makers.

      Presentation in the Nansen Dialogue Centre, Montenegro
      Presentation in the Nansen Dialogue Centre, Montenegro
      Podgorica

      Centre for democracy and human rights (CEDEM) was the first organization visited by the CCMR representatives in Montenegro. Unlike CCMR which is mainly focused on the security sector and its reform, the CEDEM’s sphere of activities is broader and includes numerous aspects of the transition. CEDEM is best known regarding its public opinion surveys and analyses of political trends. During the meeting discussion mainly concerned two organizations’ projects in progress and possible areas of cooperation. From the point of view of CCMR, the most relevant activities are CEDEM’s surveys of public opinion on Montenegro accession to NATO and the popular trust in the Army and the other security sector organizations, as well as the CEDEM’s work on the development of the index of democracy. Memorandum on understanding with CEDEM was signed in June 2008 since this organization has been recognized as a reliable research partner.

      Nansen Dialog Centre (NDC) in Montenegro is a part of a ‘Balkan Dialog Project’ network whose mission is to promote a dialog as a basic pattern for a solution of key social and political problems. For the CCMR representatives the most interesting part of the NDC’s activity is the publication of quarterly Watchdog reports on the process of Montenegro’s Atlantic integration. In this report and during the discussion with Boris Raonic, NDC’s project coordinator prevailed critical approach to the transparency of the Ministry of Defence of Republic of Montenegro and the other governmental institutions’ work on the Montenegro accession to NATO and quality of information on that process which is revealed to the experts and wider public. 

      One activity planned for Zagreb was a visit to RACVIAC
      One activity planned for Zagreb was a visit to RACVIAC
      Unlike the NDC’s representatives, Savo Kentera, director of the Centre for International Relations (CIR) claims that the process of Montenegro integration to NATO is transparent and democratic. CIR’s representatives are engaged in the process of drafting strategic documents on the defence of Montenegro and they are leading training organization for the security sector reform issues and informal diplomacy which aims at Montenegro accession to NATO. According to the intention to research the process of security sector reform in Montenegro, BSSS researchers have been told that in the upcoming period CIR will organize the conference which will summarize achievements in that process. During the meeting possible areas of cooperation, such are common trainings and exchange of publications, have been discussed.

      Although the Institute for Strategic Studies and Prognoses in Podgorica was established as a nongovernmental organization focused on the process of economic reforms, the representatives of two organizations have come to the conclusion that there is room for projects which would engage researchers from different areas. Experiences and knowledge on the economy and economic projections and analyses are particularly applicable to CCMR projects ‘Mapping and Monitoring of the Security Sector’ and on the preparation of conference ‘Business and Security’.

      Tirana

      CCMR representatives spent their fourth day visiting Tirana, Albania. Albanian Ministry of Defence was the first institution visited, where deputy director of Directorate for Euro-Atlantic Integrations and Defence Policy mr. Astrit Gjunkshi addressed them. This expert, who is covering military reform since 1992, emphasized that Albania has no enemies in the region. Three national security strategies have been adopted, and military forces were significantly reduced since then. Euro-Atlantic integrations are strategic goal of this country, for which there is a great popular support, more than 90% of population. Albanian population accept all initiatives comming from the West without any cost-benefit analysis or consequences regarding their soveregnity, and one remark was that „Albanians do not choose their allies rationally, but by intuition”. Mrs. Ivis Noçke, chief of Albanian MoD’s Monitoring Office, presented this Office, which monitors donations for specific programs and support projects for Military and MoD. They are faced with problems of coordination and different systems of subordination within civil administration and the military, also present in other transitional countries.

      Albanian Institute for National Affairs is independent think tank, founded in 2001, with the goal of consolidation of democratic principles, development of society and institutions in Albania, national security, social and economic development of country, human rights and European integrations. We exchanged views about police reform and reform of security services in Albania with representatives of this organization, according to data from Special Report, their yearly publication. Mutual willingnes for cooperation was expressed.

      The last, but not the least organization visited by CCMR is Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) with whom we already have cooperation thru exchange of lecturers and publications. Mission  of this organization is to foster confidence between political and civic actors for building democratic and prosperous society inclined towards Euro-Atlantic integrations. IDM is leading organization for monitoring of implementation of five-years strategy of police reform 2007 - 2013 and its team is engaged on implementation of community policing programme, in several municipalities in Albania. Also, IDM is recognized as leading independent organization in country  for research and training related to security sector reform, and that is the reason why we signed memorandum of cooperation with president of this organization, Mr. Sotiraq Hroni. Discussion was focused on mutual research interests and possibilities for cooperation on projects „Business and Security”, „Mapping and Monitoring Security Sector”, as well as research of problems of privatizing of security.

      Signing the MoU with Analytica in Skopje
      Signing the MoU with Analytica in Skopje
      Skopje

      In Macedonia researchers of Centre visited think-tank Analytica and Institute for defence and peace studies. Institute of defence and peace studies is part of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Skopje. It has developed programmes of peace and defence studies at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and is preparing security studies. The Institute is especially interested in developing regional programmes of exchange of researchers, as part of Bologna process. Associates of the institute prepare journal Contemporary Macedonian Defence and other publications. Researchers of the Centre met Professors and associates at the institute, as well as the Faculty Dean, to discuss challenges in Macedonian society and achievements and obstacles of security sector reform and integration.

      Analytica is a non-profit independent institution dedicated to helping individuals and institutions with the aim to foster lasting improvement in the democracy and governance in Macedonia and elsewhere in the region of South Eastern Europe. It is a public policy research organization and a "think tank". It draws solutions to contemporary problems from the ideas, principles and traditions that make Macedonia such an important historical and geopolitical place. Analytica developed several programs: Public Policy Analysis and Administration program, Foreign and Security Program, Agriculture and rural development and environment, EU Approximation and Integration Advocacy, Energy and Infrastructure. Activities of Analytica include research and policy papers that are available on website in English. This think-thank is interested to further develop capacities for research of security issues. CCMR and Analytica signed Memorandum of Understanding.

      What are we planning further?

      We asked the representatives of all organizations which we visited to come in our organization, to send us their analysis for publishing in our journal Western Balkan Security Observer and to delegate candidates for Research Fellows from Western Balkan countries. The selected candidates will have the chance through practical work in Centre to familiarize with the research methodology of the Centre and to help in developing concrete projects with regional focus.

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