Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe

From Stability Pact to Regional Cooperation Council – Greater ownership for South Eastern Europe

Logo of the Regional Cooperation CouncilThe most im­portant lesson to be learned from the Kosovo War was the re­ali­sation that a long-term crisis pre­vention policy is needed in the Balkans. On the initiative of the German government, more than 40 states, international financial institutions, and international organisations thus launched the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe in June 1999. Together, they aim to ensure political, legal and economic stability in South Eastern Europe.

So as to strengthen the ownership of the Balkan states with respect to their own political development, the Stability Pact was transformed into the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) in February 2008. 45 countries, organisations and international financial institutions are members.

Some of the most important tasks of the new Regional Cooperation Council, as well as promotion regional cooperation, involve European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

The EU Commission, the countries of the region and bilateral donors each pay one-third of the costs of the Secretariat of the Regional Cooperation Council.

Priority areas

The Regional Cooperation Council aims to ensure the political, legal and economic stability of the region, like the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe that went before it. To this end the work of the Council focuses on the priority areas of economic and social development, infrastructure and energy, justice and internal affairs, security sector cooperation, education and research and parliamentary cooperation, the latter being dealt with as a cross-cutting issue.

German commitment

The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and is now a member of the Regional Cooperation Council. Since 2000 it has made available more than one billion euros, largely in the form of special funds, for projects and programmes in the region. This makes Germany the second largest donor among individual states; only the USA provided more funds. The intensive and innovative efforts made by the BMZ are highly respected by the rest of the international community.

Every year, Germany pays a contribution of 200,000 euros to the Secretariat of the Regional Cooperation Council. As a major donor, it is also represented on the Board of the Council, in which capacity it provides political back-up for the work of the Council.

Three major sectoral focuses have been set by the German side for projects within the framework of the South East European cooperation process:

  • Infrastructure reconstruction

  • Revitalisation of local economic forces,
    in particular medium-sized businesses

  • Transformation of the general framework conditions, with
    the establishment of a democratic, social-market system.

In many sectors the BMZ acts as lead donor, meaning that it has a major
influence on the design of sector policies in the country or region in question
(for instance the energy sector in Kosovo and Serbia, the water supply and
sanitation sector in Montenegro and microfinance promotion in Serbia and
Montenegro). The ministry is involved in particular in promoting
cross-border programmes.

BMZ glossary

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