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    • What can we learn from the EU on the matters of regional security cooperation?

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    • Date: 27 October 2010
      Florian Trauner, researcher at the Institute for European Integration of the Austrian Academy of Sciences held at the Belgrade Center for Security Policy lecture entitled "Security cooperation and European perspective of South Eastern Europe" on Wednesday, October 27. This session was conducted within the project "Capacity of Serbia for regional security cooperation" supported by the European Fund for the Balkans.

      "Basically," said Trauner in the introduction, "the EU itself can be understood as a project of regional security cooperation". Considering the scope of this cooperation in internal affairs, he stressed that despite the rapid development of policies aimed at creating a space of freedom, security and justice the essential problem, of how to make decisions lead to the following dilemma: is the EU target to achieve integration where there will be one, centralized structure and harmonized legislation, or is it promoting horizontal cooperation that will include mutual recognition of procedures and decisions?

      Since cooperation between member states is marked by different perceptions of threats, then considered Trauner,"size is also important," being the one factor that determines how cooperation within the former "second pillar" (EU foreign and security policy) will be carried out. Crucial decisions of the EU foreign policy are made by three key countries, Great Britain, France and Germany ever since 1998 and the Treaty of Saint-Malo. However, small countries that are interested in a foreign and security policy can count on "new perspectives opening up". Problems caused by this domination of the "big three", include  "free-riding" of "small" member states that receive the "service" without having to have invested significant effort; and lack of democratic oversight.

      From the EU experience Trauner has pulled a number of recommendations for decision makers in the Western Balkans, which can be summarized as follows: do not be afraid to take the lead; consider flexible ways of cooperation; focus on meeting the criteria for membership which are a common problem. Finally, he recommended the use of capacities Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).

      Related topics:regional, cooperation, Serbia, eu, balkans
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