Black Sea Region 

Promoting Security and Regional Cooperation: The Perspectives of NATO Enlargement and EU Association of Southeastern Europe (May 2001 - April 2002)


IRIS International Security and Democratization Program implemented the project entitled “Promoting Security and Regional Cooperation: The Perspectives of NATO Enlargement and EU Association of Southeastern Europe Towards the Year 2002” started on May 1, 2001. Project aimed primarily at providing IRIS with the necessary resources and strengthening of its capacity to actively contribute to the process of policy formulation and implementation concerning Southeastern Europe. Policy analyses and recommendation developed during the program implementation were focused on four priority areas: military-political dimensions of security, soft-security issues, strategies and instruments for regional cooperation, and institutional development of the Balkan states. Generated policy analyses and recommendations were included in the final program publication entitled Bulgaria for NATO – 2002.


The final publication entitled Bulgaria for NATO – 2002 was published on-line and in print. The publication was targeted at and was distributed among foreign and security policy experts, experts on Europe, journalists, civic activists and opinion-leaders, institutions that provide analytical and information support to political bodies. The target audience also consisted of governments and agencies of NATO member-states that elaborate national positions on NATO enlargement, as well as NATO bodies and officials involved in preparing NATO Prague Summit 2002.


From June 17-25, 2002 an IRIS delegation had a series of presentations on the book "Bulgaria for NATO 2002" in Washington DC. The delegation included IRIS Director Dr. Ognyan Minchev and other key authors who contributed to the book, including Vladimir Shopov, IRIS research associate, Todor Tagarev, Director of Programs of the Centre for National Security and Defence Research, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Maria Atanassova, NATO desk officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Marin Lessenski, Program Director with IRIS and Milen Minchev, Radio Free Europe.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosted the first presentation. The forum, chaired by Dr. Janusz Bugajski, CSIS East Europe Program Director, was attended by representatives of the US Congress and State Department, US think tanks, including Robert Hunter, Senior Advisor at RAND, diplomats and journalists. The Bulgarian ambassador to Washington, DC, H.E. Ms. Elena Poptodorova was also present. The audience was highly impressed by the presentation of the Bulgarian experts.


A public discussion on "Democracy in Bulgaria: Political Reform and the NATO Accession Process" was hosted by the National Endowment for Democracy and started with a comprehensive presentation by Dr. Ognyan Minchev. The meeting was focused on Bulgaria′s democratic process and was chaired by Paul B. McCarthy, NED Program Officer for Southeastern Europe and Thomas W. Skladony, Senior Program Officer with the NED International Forum for Democratic Studies. H.E. Ms. Avis Bolen, H.E. Mr. Sol Polansky, former US ambassadors to Bulgaria was among the participants.

The duration of the project was one year and it was implemented with the financial support of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.


Type of services provided:


IRIS delegation also provided in-depth briefings on Bulgaria′s accession to NATO to senior staffers of the House International Relations Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The issues that were singled out were practical measure to tackle corruption, army and security sector reforms, political and public attitudes to NATO accession, Bulgaria′s policy to contribute to NATO′s essential tasks and the war against terrorism.


During their five-day-working visit to Washington, DC Bulgarian experts also had working meetings with representatives of Department of Defense and the Department of State. The delegation had discussions on NATO′s enlargement and transformation at key institutions, including the Heritage Foundation, the Institute for Defense Analyses, the US Institute of Peace and the Hudson Institute. At the National Defense University Dr. Ognyan Minchev and Dr. Todor Tagarev met Dr. Jeffrey Simon.


The book was presented to the Bulgarian public on July 18, 2002. The event took place at the National Assembly and was attended by Mr. Solomon Passy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Stanimir Ilchev, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Policy, Defense and Security to the National Assembly, foreign diplomats and military attaches. Members of Parliament, governmental officials, experts, NGO activists, think-tank representatives and journalists were also present. In their addresses to the audience, Mr. Passy and Mr. Ilchev expressed high appreciation of the work done by IRIS.


Dr. Ognyan Minchev, Valery Rachev, Vladimir Shopov, Todor Tagarev, Lyubomir Ivanov and Lydia Yordanova made presentations on the major concepts and ideas developed within the book. The authors’ presentations proceeded with an open discussion. Bulgarian National Television and major media covered the event.

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