SEDM, Its Role, Dinamics, Engagement And Extention In South East Europe

Southeastern European Defence Ministerial (SEDM) continues to be a real proof of consolidated bridges of friendship and cooperation, which we have been capable to build during these years by strengthening the good will and joint objective.
SEDM or in other words, the Process of Engagement of South East European countries in Ministerial level, is a process of integration and cooperation in the field of security and regional defence. Founded in 1996 in Tirana, with the participation of all the South East European countries and USA, SEDM today reflects the success of cooperation and regional integration.
In this process the following members participate: Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Rumania, Slovenia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and USA. The following countries are Observers: Moldavia, Georgia.
Member Countries: Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Rumania, Turkey, Slovenia, Serbia, Ukraine, USA.
Observer Countries: Georgia, Moldavia.

SEDM is an initiative that includes: Multinational Peace Force of South Eastern Europe Initiative (MPFSEE) or (SEEBRIG) and a number of projects. Some of them are:  SEESIM, CBSC, SEMEC, SEEDIRET, IMIHO as well as other projects that are undertaken in the framework of SEDM. A considerable number of meetings of all levels are part of this process.
Historical background of SEDM

In September 1996, some Defence Ministers of the region and the U.S. Defence Secretary met in Tirana to discuss and decide about a better future of the region. It was essential to find effective communicative ways for the creation of a collaborative and understanding climate, especially in a region split up by past misunderstandings, prejudices and antagonisms.
It is this moment and this concept that led to the beginning of the South East Defence Ministerial process. Since that time on, SEDM has been a fruitful means of development, strengthening of regional responsibilities and cooperation, in the field of Defence and Security. The recent facts of this process are a testimony of common will and a continuity of a better collaboration for regional peace and stability, and  they also are a mutual contribution with the international community to defend freedom, peace and democracy.
The whole history of this process is enhanced and expanded every year. The number of the activities, projects, engagements, participants as well as its borders have been enlarged to such an extent that SEDM definition cannot cover the whole geographical area, which it includes.  Ukraine became a full member in December 2005 during the Defence Ministers meeting in Washington D.C.
Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, Montenegro and Serbia were added as Observer Countries in September 2006, while in October 2007 Bosnia & Herzegovina became full members, and in October 2010, Montenegro and Serbia became full members of SEDM.
“The Open Door –Policy” is supported by SEDM, for all the countries which demonstrate and share common values towards security, peace, stability in region and beyond.
Due to this enlargement, SEDM has become a very successful process, which has already fulfilled its essential objectives concerning security and cooperation in Southeaster Europe, by expanding its influence beyond the region. There are thirteen years of engagement that SEDM joins together the regional countries in a number of activities, which are materialized in common projects and engagements in arm-control filed, border security, war against terrorism, demilitarisation, military technology exchange, common exercises, operations against natural disasters and peace keeping missions beyond the region.
During this time, SEDM Process has testified that cooperation in Defence field has been very fruitful by generating reciprocal and confidential spirit. Member countries estimate each other as friendly partners, far from disbelief and controversial spirit. On the other hand, besides the strengthening of cooperation and collaboration of SEDM countries, this process has played a vital role in bringing non member countries together, by giving the possibility to successfully cooperate with other NATO members, EU, offering them chances to express their will to be part of the Euro-Atlantic family.
The estamblishmetn the Multination Peacekeeping Force of East Europe (MPFSEE) is the distinct achievement among other initiatives of training, organising sectors; it is a brilliant achievement of integrating process, the main objective of all countries throughout years. SEDM has been successful in building a common effective military history, capable of operating in regional territorial space, and undertaking missions for peace and stability in the region.  
The deployment and the completion of SEEBRIG mission in Afghanistan, in February-August 2006, in the framework of ISAF, is the greatest success of this force, achieved by continuous cooperation, which was generated and demonstrated by SEDM in all its history.
Albania had its presidency of SEDM-it (SEDM-CC) Secretariat of the Main Ministerial Committee and Military Political Committee of the Multination Peacekeeping Force of East Europe (PMSC/MPFSEE) in July 2005 –July 2007.

Negotiation and consensus are the bases of functioning in this process.
SEDM Secretariat plays the moderator and catalyst role; whose forums generate an active negotiation process.
These negotiations include two main moments:
- Informal: meetings, correspondence, consultations and institutional formal meetings.

Formal meetings are institutionalised in meetings of political committees (PMSC and SEDM-CC) twice a year; deputy/chief/ chief of staff’s meetings once a year and Defence Minister’s meetings once a year. Regular expert meetings, work group and extraordinary meetings are held. Meetings are managed and held by SEDM Secretariat; they can be asked by SEDM forums or member countries.


It is important to mention that SEDM initiatives and activities have been increased and required a more suitable structure in the framework of this process, to coordinate the activities and initiatives in general. SEDM member countries founded the Ministerial Coordinating Committee of Defence of South East Europe (SEDM-CC), signed an agreement in Salonika, Greece on 9 October 2000. SEDM-CC countries are member and observer of PMSC.

SEDM presiding process is a two year rotation. Presiding country, also leads SEDM-CC & PMSC Secretariat. Presiding countries: Greece, Romania (2001-2003), Turkey (2003-2005), Albania (2005-2007), Macedonia (2007-2009), Bulgaria (2009-2011), Italy is actually presiding (2011 – 2013). In this context, SEDM Secretariat’s main task is to provide assistance in the above mentioned meetings. Other tasks are: leading, keeping correspondence and recording meetings of the above Committees.

Political-Military Steering Committee (PMSC)
PMSC of MPFSEE, plays a vital role in coordinating, managing and giving directions for all issues related to Multination Peacekeeping Force of East Europe, differently known as South East Europe Brigade.

Member Countries Delegations
Delegations of member countries of SEDM-CC and PMSC Secretariats meet regularly twice a year where the secretariat is actually working. Preparatory work, done by experts in high level meetings, is organised in SEDM member countries. The last PMSC and SEDM-CC meeting was organised in Sofia, 13-15 September 2010 (PMSC 24th meeting, and SEDM-CC 23rd meeting).

Defence Ministers and deputy/chiefs of Staff meet annually in high level meeting.

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