On 12 and 13 of December 1997 the 7th Annual International Conference of G.A.A.E.C. was organized in Zappeion Megaro. The subjects of the Conference consisted of: "The enlargement of NATO – The Mediterranean - South-eastern Europe, the next step of NATO".
The Minister of National Defense Mr. Akis Tsochatzopoulos opened the conference with his speech. In the inaugural meeting participants where, the Vice-president of Bulgaria, Mr. Todor Kavaldjiev, the Mayor of Athens Mr. D. Avramopoulos, the Chairman of DIKKI Mr. D. Tsovolas and representatives from the following parties, N.D. Mr. A. Papadogonas and from Sinaspismos Mr. Bistis.
The Chairman of G.A.A.E.C. and Atlantic Treaty Association Mr. Theodosis Georgiou opened the Conference. He presented the role of G.A.A.E.C. and in more general terms the role of NGOs in NATO and presented the concerns and obstacles on the enlargement of NATO and the safety of the Balkans and the Mediterranean.
It is worth mentioning that this year's Conference had a rather large number of foreign personalities participating and aside from the Bulgarian Vice President, the former Prime Minister of Italy Mr. Emilio Colombo, the Undersecretaries of Defense of Albania and the Czech Republic Mr. Teta and Mr. Novotny, the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria Mrs. Rrimatarova, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. M. Papakonstantinou, Chairmen of the Parliamentary Committees of Foreign Affairs Mr V. Bostinaru of the Romanian Parliament, Mr. El. Veryvakis of Greece and Mr. Dwarf Ruzin of F.Y.R.O.M., the American Minister Mr. M. Durkee representing the SACEUR, Ambassadors, Professors, former Ministers and other personalities from 30 countries in the Balkans, Mediterranean, Central, Eastern and Western Europe and USA were all present. It should be noted that a Parliamentary delegation from Azerbaijan and Georgia was also there. Roughly 50 Ambassadors and representatives of most Embassies in Athens, deputies, Diplomats, Military officials, representatives from the intellectual world, businessmen, journalists etc participated/observed the Conference.
For the first time, representatives of YATA and the new department of "Young persons of A.T.A." participated. This way, the opportunity was given to 18 new students and scientists from 11 countries, to watch the Conference but also to have separate meetings, at the same time.
It is noteworthy that G.A.A.E.C. took the initiative to call representatives of local government, in order Municipal Leaders to witness the work of the Atlantic Unions. Present were, the Mayor of Tirana Mr. Brojka and the Deputy Mayors from Skopie, Sofia and Bucharest but also a lot of members from KEDKE, the Mayor of Patras Mr. A. Karavolas and others.
This initiative was recognized and in particular, the Mayor of Athens, Mr. Avramopoylos proposed the possibility of a future meeting of Members of Atlantic Unions and Municipal representatives, which was accepted by the Chairman of ATA Mr. Georgiou.
After the end of the Conference the foreign participants returned to Thessalonica and visited the Gallery of the Treasures of Agion Oros as well as the Gallery of Musical Instruments of the Bank of Macedonia and Thrace.
The speech of Mr. Akis Tsohatzopoylos
The Minister of National Defense Mr. Akis Tsochatzopoulos stressed in his speech that in this fluid transient period the existence and the role of Atlantic Non-governmental Organizations are not only useful but can also prove exceptionally productive and effective.
At the same time, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos pointed out that in the threshold of twentieth first century the populations of Europe experience a period of determination of structures that are to condition their life in the new after war era.
More specifically, regarding the region of Balkans, the end of cold-war juxtaposition, lead to a new status-quo, which lead to a post cold-war environment where safety, important problems and tendencies of destabilization coexist with tendencies of stabilization and prospects of collaboration. Greece of course does not constitute only a part of Balkan space. The Mediterranean is also of Special geo-strategic' importance for Greece. With regard to the developments in the wider region of Mediterranean, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos stressed that after the end of Cold War, the geopolitical and strategic centre is shifted in the relations of developed North and the underdeveloped South. At the same time, the Mediterranean area becomes more important, because it is the, "line of contact" between two theme "worlds". More specifically, the security of the Mediterranean is influenced by factors that spring from the existence of "traditional" problems of security but also "new threats of" security, as the demographic explosion and consecutive tendencies of mass immigration from the south to the north of Mediterranean, the low economic growth, the elation of religious fanaticism, the increase of conventional equipment and the dissemination of arms of mass destruction, terrorism etc.
Greece, as a non-revisory country, does not claim nothing, but also does not let go any sovereign right, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos pointed out. Besides, Greece aspires constitutes a bridge between the Balkans and the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa. And with this significance it is a State spreading in three continents, it can undertake initiatives to a lot of directions. As the only state member simultaneously in EU, NATO and WEO in the region of Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean, Greece can and wishes to play a consolidating role in the wider region.
More specifically, in the frame of NATO, Greece - stressed Mr. Tsochatzopoulos - participates actively in the efforts of Alliance for radical reformation of her strategic objectives, structures and her operation and her evolution from a clearly deterrent military organism in a Organism with political-diplomatic and, at the same time, military character that its main concern will be the maintenance of peace in a wider geographic region, beyond the traditional sectors of responsibility of the Alliance.
Also with regard to in the region of Balkans Greece seeks a consolidating role and works in the direction of creating the conditions of friendship and collaboration between the populations of the region. Greece promotes, moreover, initiatives of political and economic nature that focus in the area of the Mediterranean. In this frame, Greece has proposed the creation of the Mediterranean Area of Safety and Collaboration, as well as a line of other meters. In this direction, Greece, pointed out Mr. Tsochatzopoulos - participates actively in the decisions of the Conference of Barcelona on the creation of the Euromediteranean Corporate Relation, which Greece considers that constitutes a unique solution for the guarantee of stability in the region of Mediterranean.
Mr. D. Avramopoulos
The Mayor of Athens Mr. D. Avramopoulos in his greeting, mentioned in his argument: "...thus it would be perhaps useful NATO to exam the possibility to use the role of cities, as constitutive element of political peace, which is to a large extent determined and by the will as much as the attendance of citizens... you can not overlook that new Europe is built one from the more basic principles that is the principle of subsidiary. Meaning the decisions that concern the course to the Integration completion to be nearest possible to the citizen ... "
Mr. T. Kavaldjiev
From his side the Vice-president of Bulgaria Mr. Todor Kavaldjiev presented the fights of the Bulgarian population and particularly his party, the old Rural party of Bulgaria against the Communistic arrangement.
He repeated the efforts of his country for integration in the NATO and the EU and he stressed that the presence here as assistant of Head of State (Chairman P. Stoyanov) symbolizes: the unity of the Bulgarian people to the direction of Euro Atlantic institutions.
The work of Two-day Conference summarized the last day, Mrs. Euthalia (Olive) Hatzigjanni, Scientific Collaborator of G.A.A.E.C. and Mr. Thanos Dokos, Person in charge of Research of the Department Strategic Studies of EPYECA and Mr. Panagiotis Tsakonas, Scientific Adviser of the Department of Strategic Studies of EPYECA.
The enlargement of NATO
Mrs. Euthalia Hatzigianni
The discussion in the "round table" for the enlargement of NATO began with the professor Mr. C. Hristodoulidi, who in his introductive speech presented the main points of discussion on the enlargement (points that stressed also other speakers).
Attributing to the NATO the characterization of Walter Lippman, that of "Community of Interests", the professor pointed out the fact that the Alliance is in place and should survive even after the collapse of the bipolarization. A fact that is supported by the recent conditions and the ability of the Alliance to be transformed depending on the circumstances.
The necessity of its existence is focused, firstly, on the fact that the new environment of security, with its main characteristics the change of threat, the increase of action, the increase of institutions, the uncertainty and the mistrust, is exceptionally unstable because of the critical transient period. Consequently, the NATO, as the main institution of collective defense and security that is very widely acceptable, is called to contribute actively in the creation of a new perception for Europe and to ensure the conditions of reunification of western part of Europe with Eastern. The reforming effort of countries in the Central and Eastern Europe, aims at the harmonization of their systems with those of western world, can be proved an exceptionally difficult undertaking if it is not achieved in the frames of experienced institutions and in the base of the principle of good neighborhood, brotherhood of populations and democracy.
The Agreement of Madrid confirmed the intention of Atlantic Alliance to contribute in the reforming effort of countries in the Central and Eastern Europe: three countries were called to become members, while remainder received the assurance that the doors of NATO will remain open for that they want they are included in this.
As for the enlargement, it was pointed out : the new members of NATO, should take into consideration seriously that the article of 5 Pact, that constitutes the more powerful motive for the integration of Central European countries in the Alliance, is even in effect, with regard to his potential application, afterwards the signature of "Founding Act of Collaboration NATO-Russia", that declares nor the intention of members of the Alliance to develop nuclear arms neither to install additional military forces in the territory of new members.
Regarding the attitude of Russia in the enlargement of NATO it was indeed supported that it is justified by the fear of Russia that the enlargement involves the indication of new map of Policies for Europe, from the loss of a vital sector of its economy or of areas of influence but also the exceptionally fragile internal political situation in this country. Accordingly, the effort of Alliance, with regard to Russia, should be focused in the amusement of Russian concerns and in the projection of advantages of enlargement as means of establishment of stability and democracy in the Russian environment.
The Russian reserves as for the enlargement were also confirmed by the speech of Russian representative Mr. E.Siline. He pointed out that the majority of Russian population considers that "the enlargement of NATO constitutes the biggest mistake of Western Countries after the end of the Second World War", is particularly decisive. It is based on the opinion that after the enlargement of NATO, Europe will be separated in two different levels of security, and that the enlargement, that Russia considers that it does not aim at concrete, aims substantially in its future aggressive activity.
At the opinion of Mr. Siline, the construction of climate of confidence is necessary between Russia and the rests of countries in order to avoid the isolation of the first. Here the Russian representative stressed the role that each country can play in the Union of Atlantic Pact in the briefing of citizens aiming at mutual confidence. The collaboration in the frames of existing Organizations, its active attendance in the O.A.S.E., the recognition of its interests are very important for that sectors but the reject of use of military force by the NATO is far from its jurisdiction which are factors that can also contribute positively and guarantee the balance in the new Europe, whose security , according to the Russian representative, cannot be guaranteed by a model of security based exclusively on the NATO. This fears of Russia with regard to the enlargement of NATO, is shared by the American representative. Mr. A. Karagiannis, Political Adviser of the American Embassy, pointing out the intention of I.P.A. to continue promoting the intensification of beams of collaboration and friendship with Russia underlines that, this differences can contribute and no object in the creation of productive relations between the NATO from one side and Russia and Ukraine from the other. The enlargement of NATO, that is realized in the base of incorporating of certain countries and not in the rejection of other, is capable to contribute much in the event of future conflict between neighboring states which guarantees the balance in the interior of these states. And be a process that should and can become rightly so much for the already existing members of Alliance and for the three new members as the countries that will be included in the future but also Ukraine and Russia. The last one, the American representative noted, because of its leading role, is supposed to activate itself in the frames of international institutions, to advance in opening of the economy and to participate actively in the effort of stabilization of the world.
On the subject of the cost of the enlargement, the representative of NATO and SHAPE. Mr. M. Durkee, Diplomatic Adviser of SACEUR, pointed out firstly, that the prevention of a crisis costs less from a confrontation and, that the need of adaptation in the new technological reality renders inevitable the cover of concrete defensive and technological expenses from the Alliance, sum that the enlargement does not increase considerably (2 billions dollars roughly).
The representatives of countries that have been called to become members of NATO, that is to say Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland (Mr. Korosi, Oyggrjkoy' YPEX, Mr. Novotny, Undersecretary of defense of Czech Republic and Mr. Lamentowicz, Polish Ambassador), underlined the readiness of their countries to include themselves in the Alliance. With the opinion that the enlargement should not stop here accorded: other countries should be included in the future with a process that will be characterized by transparency. They consider, that their relations with Russia can be constructive to the extend the principles of good neighborhood and partnership of populations are held.
The deputy of Azerbaijan Mr. Guliyev in his speech presented Azerbaijan as the country that can function as intermediary for the distribution of western values in the region of Caucasus and Central Asia. Presenting the military and economic possibilities of his country, he underlined the need of collaboration with the International Organizations and the NATO both in intergovernmental and non-governmental Organizations.
The discussion on the enlargement was completed with the speech of Danish professor, Mr. L. Baerentsen. His two points were particularly important: firstly, that the unique solution for the small States is that of collective safety for this and their attendance in the Alliance is judged essential and second, that Europe stood particularly lucky in the post Cold War years. We cannot, however, be based on the factor "luck" for the future.
Dr. Thanos Dokos
The speakers agreed that in the after Cold War era, the Mediterranean region is characterized by instability, fluidity and uncertainty. The region is found in search of balance, the regional structures of security have not been shaped still.
As the former Prime Minister of Italy Mr. Emilio Colombo stressed, even if an explicit regional dynamic and "local" problem of security exists, it must be supposed that the indivisibilities of the European and the Mediterranean are unquestionable. Moreover, the security of the Mediterranean is uncomprehended without the apprised of the developments in the Balkans, the Black Sea and the Middle East.
All the speakers agreed that even if the "traditional" problems of security continued, that is to say the regional conflicts, which are exceptionally important for the involved countries, there are new threats of safety in the region of the Mediterranean such as:
Slow or even negative economic growth.
Demographic explosion in a lot of countries (and the possibility of increasing the rate of immigration in European countries, with all the negative consequences of racism, xenophobia, etc).
Spreading of religious fanaticism (which is not limited, of course, only in the Islamic religion) even if this causes the more important source of concern. However, as Mr. E. Veruvakis underlined (Chairman of Committee of Exterior Relations and defense, member of the Greek Parliament), that simplified generalizations should be avoided and overwhelmed by a sincere effort of common understanding between West and Islamic world).
Dissemination of arms of mass destruction.
Lack of democracy and respect of human rights.
Environmental problems of the Mediterranean.
International organized crime and the smuggling of narcotics.
As Mr. Colombo and Mr. Balasy (Vice-president of French Atlantic Union) stressed, the connection between stability and growth is explicit and the need for collaboration North-South in the region of Mediterranean, the discovery of new ways of approach of problems of the region is imperative.
In regard to the role of the international organizations and security organizations, Mr. Colombo stressed the sovereign role of European Union in the political and economic sector, mainly via the Euromediteranean Collaboration, while Mr. Veryvakis, Mr. Granit (from the Israeli MFA) and Mr. Balasy stressed the fundamental role of NATO (with the WEO and the OASE in additional role).
According to the speakers, the initiatives of NATO and WEO (Mediterranean Dialogue-initiative) should be developed more, so much in breadth (with the addition of new countries), as much in-depth with the growth of new initiatives and collaborations on issues pacificatory enterprises, management of crises, confrontation of natural destructions and humanitarian missions. Moreover, the expediency of certain Meters of Construction of Confidence and Safety (MOEA) in the Mediterranean should be examined, without, placing excessively ambitious objectives that would lead to the failure of the effort.
It was also expressed that it will be given essential "explanations" in the countries of the South Mediterranean which is worrying because the creation of military forces of WEO (EUROMARFOR and EUROFOR) gives "Strategic Perception of NATO" in the southern wing of the Alliance.
Finally, Mr. Colombo proposed the review of Italian-Spanish proposal of 1990 for the creation of Mediterranean CSCE (DASM), pointing out that a forum of regional safety in the Mediterranean does not exist.
Southeastern Europe - Next Step of NATO
Dr. Panagiotis Tsakonas
At the second day of works of 7th Conference of G.A.A.E.C., several exceptionally interesting speeches were presented from distinguished politicians and academic people of the region of South-Eastern Europe. It important that many of the distinguished speakers located the problem of definition of the term of South-Eastern Europe. As the Undersecretary of Defense of Albania Mr. Perikli Teta stressed, the geographic background or even "functional" criteria, are often used even if they do not lead to a wider acceptable content. As Professor Mr. Dwarf Ruzin (Deputy and head of Parliamentary Committee in the North Atlantic Assembly of FYROM) characteristically pointed out, the term "Euro Balkans" appears in the current after Cold War era allocating particularly the content and describing the adversative tendencies that appear to characterize the region. This break down implies the term "balkanization" which coexists with tendencies of Europeanization and Westernalization of new states of the region. It should also be noted that the proposals of various speakers substantially were turned around two basic security perceptions. The first concern is of the former communistic Balkan states that are found near enough or far enough from the next step of the enlargement of the Atlantic Alliance. The second perception of security, concerns the two countries that are already members of NATO, Greece and Turkey, and that - far from the special problems that characterize the relations between them -have up to some extent common opinions in regard to the imminent investigation of NATO in the region of Balkans.
In regard to the first perception of security, as it was expressed by the totality of former communistic Balkan states, it was developed in three more special thematic regions. The first thematic region concerns the highest level of consent (consensus) in the interior of these states in regard to in their NATO's orientation. As it stressed in his intervention the Chairman of Committee of Exterior Affairs of Parliament of Romania Mr. Victor Bostinaru "constitutes a fundamental obligation of the Romanian population to render its members of society to be based on the common principal of democracy and freedom". While the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria Mrs. Antoinetta Primatarova pointed out that the integration of her country in the Atlantic Alliance constitutes "affair of high priority". In the same wavelength, the faith of Albanian population in the Euro Atlantic beginnings was stressed by the representatives of two of the biggest political leaders of Albania Mr. Teta and Mr. Leonard Demi (General Secretary of International Relations of Democratic Party of Albania) despite the differentiation or disagreements between the two parties in other questions of foreign policy.
The second thematic concerned the level of preparation and readiness of countries that are near found by the remained Balkan countries, that is to say Romania and Bulgaria, in the integration in the Atlantic Alliance to achieve NATO conditions.
Indeed, by the side of Romania, Mr. Bostinaru reported that the geo-strategic and political reasons that the integration of his country will involve will increase the possibility of further extension of the element of stability in the Eastern side of the European continent stressing at the same time, that Romania has achieved high levels of interoperability (interoperability) in the frames of Alliance. For her part, the representative of Bulgaria Mrs. Primatarova pointed out the positive results, which she has already begun to attribute to the four-year governmental program in her country. It should also be stressed that also the two speakers underlined the need for aid of regional stability and security, the strengthening of Democracy, the political control of Armed Forces and the achievement of internal order and stability.
The third thematic region concerned the common ascertainment of speakers from the various states of Balkan peninsula that the integration of Romania and Bulgaria in the NATO will contribute to increase the elements of stability in the region, and contribute in the extension of feeling security more deeply in the Eastern side of Europe while, at the same time, it leads to the balance of northern with the southern wing of Alliance.
Those who are concerned in the second perception of security, that was expressed by the ambassador Mr. Ali Hikmet Alp (head of Department of Balkan Affairs of Ministry of Foreign Affaires of Turkey) focused the opinions and the reflections of NATO countries on the consequences of the under integration of former communistic countries of the region. The ambassador Mr. Alp who characterized as "institutional exercise" the investigation of Atlantic Alliance to the east, stressed the need of Alliance for parallel metamorphosis (via the creation of new structures and mechanisms of decisions) and maintenance (old and achieved basic operations).
The ambassador Mr. Alp pointed out the oxymoron exclusion at the first stage of the enlargement of NATO of certain countries of Balkan peninsula, which have a better relationship with NATO and need the umbrella of NATO while he stressed that the South-eastern European states should shortly reap the fruits of also those profits of their attendance in a new extended NATO. At the same time he warned for the existence of various special problems and particularities in regard to in the region of Balkans stressing that, despite the exceptionally high rate of consent in the interior of Balkan states, in regard to their future exterior orientation, the above particularities should be taken into consideration seriously from the leaders in the Atlantic Alliance.
In conclusion, the total of speakers pointed out the challenges that are presented with the end of Cold War in the region of South-eastern Europe but also the new possibilities that have the populations of the region to build a new future for their countries. It was common that the enlargement of the Atlantic Alliance will rationalize its affairs and to attend as much as possible to a more reliable legalization under its enlargment, concerning her members. On the other hand the states of South-eastern Europe should move themselves in the new post Cold War environment of challenges and occasions taking into consideration that the new NATO will be rendered mainly producer of security and consumer of security.