News 2019

04 March 2019

RACVIAC Director meets the Croatian President

On 04 March 2019 RACVIAC Director MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo paid an inaugural visit to the President of the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.

MG (ret.) Bazo acquainted the President with RACVIAC Programme of activities and explained that apart from fostering dialogue and cooperation among the SEE countries networking has always been one of the most important aspects of RACVIAC overall aims in order to provide a platform for exchange of information, ideas and building of confidence. When talking about the security situation and relationships in the region he underlined that “speaking to rather than about each other” is what RACVIAC has been advocating for almost two decades. He also emphasized that the Centre is and will continue to be fully committed to supporting the ultimate goal of SEE aspiring countries: their full membership in Euro-Atlantic institutions as the best way to preserve stability and security in the region.

At the end MG (ret.) Bazo also availed himself of the opportunity to express his appreciation on behalf of the Organization for the constant and invaluable contribution and support that Croatia, as the host nation, has been providing to RACVIAC since its inception.

Speaking about RACVIAC mission and its role in the region H.E. Grabar-Kitarović expressed her appreciation for the Centre’s work and contribution to security dialogue in SEE. She pointed out that the Euro-Atlantic course of the region is the only right one and in that sense she supports all RACVIAC efforts aimed at accelerating the integration processes. The President continued by saying that no country is an island and able to deal alone with security issues, so that international cooperation among countries of the region is of highest importance. At the end she reiterated her readiness to continue supporting RACVIAC even by personally attending one of its events in the near future.

RACVIAC Deputy Director BG Gordana Garašić also attended the meeting.

26 February 2019

RACVIAC delegation pays a visit to GCMC and NATO School Oberammergau

RACVIAC delegation consisting of MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, Director, COL Josef Pulko, Planning and Liaison Officer, and Mr Boško Rotim, acting Programme Manager for Security Sector Reform Pillar, payed a visit to the George C. Marshall European Centre for Security Studies and the NATO School Oberammergau on 25-26 February 2019.

On the first day the delegation met with the GCMC leadership. The meeting was hosted by BG (ret.) Dieter Bareihs, U.S. Deputy Director, who gave a brief overview about the Centre. After a presentation given by MG (ret.) Bazo on RACVIAC history, mission, Programme of activities and the way ahead Dr Matthew Rhodes, area studies chair, moderated a discussion on potential programme cooperation.

Cooperation in the area of Cyber security, countering terrorism and organized crime, and emerging security challenges for South East Europe were discussed. Both delegations expressed their readiness to foster cooperation on security matters that could contribute more efficiently to security and stability in the region as well as encourage Euro-Atlantic integration of SEE aspirant countries.

Mr Christopher Burelli, Director of Alumni Programs, presented the work of the Marshall Center Alumni Programs, emphasizing the networking aspects, Scholars Program, regional Alumni conferences and benefits of accessing the Centre’s Library in support of academic work and research. While discussing the importance of networking the possibility of using RACVIAC as GCMC’s regional alumni hub was also underlined.

The visit to GCMC included also a lecture on Countering Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC) (the Course “Goals and Objectives”) as well as lunch with the Southeast European CTOC Course participants hosted by Dr Andrew Michta, the Dean.

On 26 February the RACVIAC delegation visited the NATO School Oberammergau and had an office call with the Commandant, COL Timothy Dreifke first. Afterwards, COL Brian A. Hill, the Dean of Academics and NATO School staff members took part in the meeting as well. The mission, role, structure, programs and future plans of both organizations were exchanged.

In the discussion that followed the NATO School expressed an interest and readiness to further explore opportunities for more intensive future cooperation as well as active participation in RACVIAC activities such as “Arms Control Symposium” and “The Security Challenges for Europe Conference”. At the end all agreed that the existing MoU between RACVIAC and NATO School has to be put into effect fully for the benefit of both organizations. In that regard NATO School staff promised to visit RACVIAC soon.

14 February 2019

RACVIAC Delegation meets EU representatives in Brussels

A RACVIAC delegation consisting of Director MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, Planning and Liaison Officer for Western Europe and International Organizations Colonel Josef Pulko, MSD and the Security Sector Reform Pillar acting Programme Manager Mr Boško Rotim paid a visit to Brussels on 13-14 February 2019.

On the first day of the visit the delegation had a meeting with the Austrian representation to the European Union. After a very comprehensive briefing by Col Johann Trummer and Col Klaus Anderle on EU structures, instruments and procedures our delegation had an office call with the Austrian Military Representative to the European Union Lieutenant General Franz Leitgeb. The meeting provided the possibility to discuss the role of Austria as a partner country for RACVIAC in regards to EU related topics as well as some issues of common interest related to European security challenges.

The next day started with the meeting with the Head of the European Security Defence College, Mr Dirk Dubois. Mr Dubois informed RACVIAC delegation about the history, mission, structure and the curriculum of the College, explaining the new developments such as the establishment of the Cyber ETEE platform and the way ahead. Since both institutions have a lot in common in terms of addressing the most pressing transnational and regional security issues both agreed that the ESDC and RACVIAC have to formalize and enhance their cooperation in the near future focusing on facilitating the association process of SEE countries to the EU.

Afterwards, another significant meeting was held with the Chairman of the EU Military Committee General Claudio Graziano. At the meeting RACVIAC Director MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo used the opportunity to shortly present the Centre’s mission, Programme of activities, some flagship events and major achievements, underlining that RACVIAC is a regionally owned organization that works in the region and for the region exclusively.

General Graziano informed RACVIAC delegation about the most relevant issues within the EU Military Committee. During the discussion that followed several topics of common interest related to international and regional security and stability were discussed. At the end General Graziano expressed his firm commitment to support RACVIAC on broadening and intensifying its cooperation with the EU institutions as well as its overall work on accelerating the Euro-Atlantic integration processes of the SEE aspiring countries.

12 February 2019

Chemical Weapons Convention Workshop begins in RACVIAC

Workshop focusing on the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) started in RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation on 12 February 2019.

This activity is a continuation of fruitful cooperation between RACVIAC and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which started in 2004 and promotes the implementation of the CWC in South-Eastern Europe. This year’s Workshop will focus specifically on chemical safety and security management concepts and mitigation strategies.

Opening the event RACVIAC Director MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo noted: “This year the main focus will be on Chemical Safety and Security Management. It is an extraordinarily important issue in the wide range of topics we are covering since chemical safety and security is an essential first step to prevent accidental or intentional misuse of these materials. “ MG (ret.) Bazo, furthermore, stressed: “It is essential for all players in this very complex and also specialised field, encompassed by the CWC, to have a complex picture about the issues, the ways of prevention, the other players as well as the possible solutions and answers if problems arise. The Workshop will define and explain chemical safety and security as well as explore the tools and means to enforce chemical safety and security and will give a detailed overview of related matters.”

Speaking on behalf of the OPCW Mr Rohan Perera, Senior Programme Officer, International Cooperation Branch, International Cooperation and Assistance Division, expressed his highest appreciation to RACVIAC for hosting this Workshop, and said: “The successful operation of the Convention over the past 21 years, its global acceptance, establish it as a key multilateral instrument banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction under conditions of non-discrimination and strict verification. Many developing countries among the member states have an emerging chemical industry and they look forward to adopting best practices in chemical safety and security management. Countries also seek the safe use of chemicals to meet a number of challenges in such areas as health and environment”, pointed out Mr Perera.

The Workshop serves as a forum for discussing regional capacity building in the fight against chemical weapons and gaining a clear understanding of the measures that are currently in place in different SEE countries and the mechanisms deployed by them.

As a part of the Workshop agenda a Table top Exercise on National Chemical Asset, Threat, Vulnerability and Risk Assessment will be conducted. The exercise is developed to identify the risk based on the severity of harm and the likelihood of occurrence.

11 February 2019

Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt visits RACVIAC

The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the Republic of Croatia H.E. Mr Aly Omar Sirry, visited RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation on Monday, 11 February 2019.

The Ambassador was welcomed by RACVIAC Director, MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, Deputy Director Brigadier General Gordana Garašić and RACVIAC staff members.

Following a brief introduction and presentation on the history, mission, and RACVIAC annual Programme of activities, RACVIAC Director took the opportunity to underline that RACVIAC Programme is still evolving and is being constantly refined taking into account the SEE countries’ needs and requirements, especially when it comes to supporting their integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. Although it is not always easy to measure the progress and impacts on the ground the Centre has launched projects such as the C-WMD Network that have achieved visible results and represent added value to security and stability in the region.

During the discussion that followed some of the transnational contemporary security threats related to migration and arms control were addressed.

11 February 2019

Azerbaijani Ambassador visits RACVIAC

On Monday, 11 February 2019, H.E. Mr Fakhraddin Gurbanov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Republic of Croatia, visited RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation. He was welcomed by RACVIAC Director, MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo.

Since Ambassador Gurbanov is familiar with RACVIAC history, mission and its overall aims MG (ret.) Bazo took this opportunity to provide further explanations related to the Centre’s recent developments and the Programme of activities for 2019. He emphasized that RACVIAC intends to broaden and intensify its cooperation with the EU and NATO institutions and agencies in order to support more efficiently Euro-Atlantic integration processes of the SEE aspiring countries.

MG (ret.) Bazo also provided additional information related to RACVIAC flagship activities and projects such as the C-WMD network and energy security that are also contributing to dialogue and cooperation in the region.

In continuation other issues related to security and stability in the SEE region and beyond were addressed.

08 February 2019

Meeting with the Head of EU Commission Representation in Croatia

On 08 February 2019 RACVIAC Director MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo met H.E. Ambassador Branko Baričević, the Head of the European Commission Representation in Croatia.

MG (ret.) Bazo used the opportunity to shortly present RACVIAC history, mission, Programme of activities and major projects and achievements. He explained that since its inception in 2000 RACVIAC serves as a platform for dialogue and networking on different security topics, such as Arms Control, security sector reform and transnational security challenges. MG (ret.) Bazo underlined that cooperation is and has always been a key word for building of trust and confidence among SEE countries which is directly connected to stability and security in Europe. He added that RACVIAC will focus more on supporting the Euro-Atlantic integration processes in SEE in the near future.

H.E. Ambassador Baričević presented some aspects of the new dynamics in the SEE region as well as European Commission’s recent involvement in the security and defence domain. Speaking about Commission’s “A Europe that protects” work programme Ambassador underlined that it will focus much more on safety and security measures in the future.

During the discussion that followed matters of common interest related to security and stability in SEE as well as further cooperation were addressed.

At the end both expressed the strong commitment for sharing information and further strengthening cooperation between RACVIAC and the EU Commission, thus contributing to enhancing trust and confidence in the region and beyond.

07 February 2019

Director General for Defence Policy of MOD of Montenegro visits RACVIAC

Mr Ivica Ivanović, Director General for Defence Policy of the Ministry of Defence of Montenegro, accompanied by Colonel Ivan Mašulović, Defence Attaché, visited RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation on Thursday, 07 February 2019.

The Montenegrin delegation was welcomed by RACVIAC Director, Major General (ret.) Jeronim Bazo and Deputy Director, Brigadier General Gordana Garašić.

MG (ret.) Bazo presented RACVIAC Programme of activities for 2019 emphasizing particular projects and flagship activities. He added that the activities of the Centre primarily reflect the Members’ needs and requirements focusing at the same time on the contemporary security agenda of the EU and SEE region in particular. MG (ret.) Bazo took the opportunity to express his gratitude for the ongoing support that Montenegro is providing to RACVIAC, especially when it comes to financial contribution and continuous hosting of certain activities.

Mr Ivanović expressed his appreciation for RACVIAC work on enhancing security and dialogue in the SEE region and its role in leveraging the Euro-Atlantic integration processes. He emphasized that Montenegro will continue to provide strong support to the Organization and confirmed that the secondment of the first Montenegrin member of staff in RACVIAC is under way.

In continuation they discussed possibilities of intensifying mutual cooperation in the near future.

05 February 2019

Eleventh C-WMD Network meeting starts in RACVIAC

Organized by RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation, US European Command (USEUCOM), the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the International Counterproliferation Program (ICP), and the Republic of Croatia the 11th meeting of the C-WMD Network, titled “C-WMD National Strategies - The Mechanics of Regional Cooperation”, started on RACVIAC premises on 5 February 2019.

The Workshop continues facilitating the development of national C-WMD Strategies and Action Plans as a key focus of the project, with special focus on regional cooperation in counter-proliferation. The event is aimed at examining the benefits of a regional cooperation approach to counter-proliferation, as well as discussing various approaches and national proposals for engaging in activities within the regional cooperation framework.

The Workshop was opened by MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, RACVIAC Director, who said: “The risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction increased by the evolving nature of terrorism is further complicated by the rapid advances in science, technology and international commerce. That’s why the need to counter the proliferation and misuse is greater than ever! Disarmament and non-proliferation remain indispensable to making the SEE region favorable to peace, security and development”, underlined MG (ret.) Bazo. At the end he expressed his hope that at the end of this meeting there will be clear proposals for continuation of the project in the future.

The event Keynote speech was delivered by General Mirko Šundov, Chief of Defence of the Republic of Croatia. Addressing the audience General Šundov said: “New security threats that we are facing require common respond and different approaches. They are evident in a number of various ways at different levels, both global and regional. Taking this into account, we can confirm that the close cooperation among the state actors is more important than ever”. General Šundov stressed the importance and the role of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation saying: “During the time, from its funding until today, RACVIAC has played an important role. The proof of that is the RACVIAC’s program and activities that are tailored for the members’ needs and requests“. In continuation General Šundov explained how Croatia is organized in order to respond to possible threats and crises, what is important for the decision-making process, indicated some of the challenges and stressed the importance of the National C-WMD Strategy. Speaking about challenges General Šundov said: “The trends are showing that potential adversaries will reach technological parity with us”. He also added: “The employment of new technologies in operations will certainly require adaptive mind-sets, technological awareness and appropriate policies and legal frameworks to facilitate the adoption of new technologies, as well as to ensure the highest level of interoperability for capabilities that will be increasingly connected.“ He concluded saying: “Effective non-proliferation is possible only if we have been continuously strengthening our national systems and wider international cooperation”.

The first day of the Workshop started with a review of the long-term objectives of the RACVIAC C-WMD Network and a review of national strategies development. In continuation the event will be entirely dedicated to discussion on proposals for furthering cooperation.

The Workshop has gathered 25 participants, representatives of the countries that have been engaged in the process of developing C-WMD national strategies for the past 36 months, supported by the experts from U.S European Command (USEUCOM), the U.S. Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the International Counterproliferation Program (ICP), the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and the Republic of Croatia.

The C-WMD Network has entered its fourth year of the project and a great majority of participating nations’ C-WMD National Strategies have been approved by their respective governments. Two countries had their strategies already tested and validated at the national level and three more countries will go through the testing and validation process in 2019. The rest of the countries are expected to complete the whole cycle in the coming year.

01 February 2019

US Ambassador visits RACVIAC

On Friday, 01 February 2019, H.E. Mr W. Robert Kohorst, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Croatia, visited RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation. Ambassador Kohorst was accompanied by the Political Officer Mr Daniel Carroll.

After a presentation on RACVIAC history, mission and accomplishments RACVIAC Director MG (Ret.) Jeronim Bazo provided further explanations related to the nature, aim and process of development of RACVIAC Programme of activities, emphasizing that apart from promoting dialogue and cooperation between the SEE countries networking has always been a very important aspect of RACVIAC overall aims in order to exchange information and harmonize practices and procedures.

MG (ret.) Bazo also took the opportunity to express appreciation to Ambassador Kohorst for the support that USA, as a RACVIAC Observer, is providing to the Centre, especially to the C-WMD Network project launched in 2015 with the aim of facilitating the development of national WMD counter-proliferation strategies and management of response plans.

Director briefly summarized the progress and achievements of the C-WMD Network project underlining that it has entered its second phase since most of the participating nations’ C-WMD National Strategies have been approved by their respective governments.

In continuation some aspects of future cooperation that will contribute to safe and stable SEE region were discussed.

Ambassador Kohorst thanked for the information provided and expressed his appreciation for RACVIAC contribution to the security of the SEE region as a whole.

29 January 2019

RACVIAC Director visits Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 29 January 2019 Director of RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo paid courtesy visits to the Ministry of Security, Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

During the meeting at the Ministry of Security MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo acquainted Minister Dragan Mektić with RACVIAC activities in 2019 and availed himself of the opportunity to thank Bosnia and Herzegovina for its ongoing support. Mr Mektić highlighted that RACVIAC serves as an efficient regional platform for discussion on several contemporary security challenges, indicating that the Centre should continue with the activities related to the prevention of radicalization and extremism, cyber security, migrations, etc. Both expressed hope that this cooperation will be further enhanced in the forthcoming period thus facilitating the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the EU.

During his visit to the Ministry of Defence Ms Marina Pendeš said that Euro-Atlantic integrations are of utmost importance for Bosnia and Herzegovina. She reiterated the readiness of the Ministry of Defence to continue cooperating with RACVIAC as well as to organize joint activities. MG (ret.) Bazo also thanked the Minister for the strong support and active participation in all RACVIAC events. He briefly presented RACVIAC Programme for 2019 emphasizing the focus of some activities for this year as well as their importance. MG (ret.) Bazo underlined that Euro-Atlantic integrations are the best way of preserving stability and security in the region.

At the meeting held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the Deputy Minister Mr Josip Brkić expressed satisfaction with RACVIAC as a platform that works pro-actively and encourages Euro-Atlantic integrations. Deputy Minister added that the MFA wishes to further strengthen cooperation with RACVIAC and is open to share expertize and ideas regarding activities and projects to be implemented at the Centre. At the end RACVIAC Director underlined the full dedication of RACVIAC to enhance networking and foster cooperation and dialogue and thus contribute to overall stability and security in the SEE region.

During his stay in Sarajevo MG (ret.) Bazo also visited the European Union Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina where he met Mr Filip De Ceuninck, Regional CT/Security Advisor at the European Union Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina with whom he discussed possible areas of future cooperation.

28 January 2019

RACVIAC Director visits Croatian Ministry of Defence

On 28 January 2019 RACVIAC Director MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo paid an inaugural visit to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Republic of Croatia Mr Damir Krstičević.

At the beginning the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Mr Damir Krstičević congratulated MG (ret.) Bazo for his appointment adding that over the years RACVIAC has proven itself as an important platform for security dialogue in the region by connecting politicians, members of academia, Subject Matter Experts and the civil society.

Speaking about RACVIAC mission the Minister availed himself of this opportunity to underline that Croatia as the host nation greatly appreciates RACVIAC work and will continue to support it as a relevant multinational forum for exchange of knowledge and experience on contemporary security threats in SEE, contributing financially, with personnel and expertise. The Minister also expressed his hope that, due to the changed security paradigm, RACVIAC will come up with some new initiatives and projects in the near future thus further improving and enhancing its role in SEE.

MG (ret.) Bazo expressed his appreciation on behalf of the Organization for the constant and strong support that Croatia has been providing to RACVIAC since its inception in 2000. He emphasized that the Centre is and will continue to be fully committed to supporting the ultimate goal for SEE countries: full membership in Euro-Atlantic institutions.

Both of them agreed that the only way to achieve this is by working together and enhancing regional cooperation, networking and capacity building.

The Assistant Minister for Defence Policy Mr Petar Mihatov , BG Denis Tretinjak, Head of J5 of the Croatian Armed Forces General Staff, and RACVIAC Deputy Director BG Gordana Garašić, also attended the meeting.

17 January 2019

German Ambassador visits RACVIAC

On Thursday, 17 January 2019, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Dr Robert Klinke, visited RACVIAC - Centre for Security Cooperation. He was accompanied by LTC Dirk Bocklet, the German Defence Attaché to Croatia.

The guests were welcomed by RACVIAC Director, MG (ret.) Jeronim Bazo, Deputy Director BG Gordana Garašić, and RACVIAC senior staff members.

Following the presentation covering the history, mission, annual Programme, and accomplishments of the Centre, MG (ret.) Bazo provided additional explanation related to the Programme of activities emphasizing that in the future they will reflect even more the Members’ needs and requests, especially in terms of supporting Euro-Atlantic integrations of SEE aspiring countries. He also took the opportunity to express his appreciation on behalf of the Organization for the constant and invaluable contribution and support that Germany has been providing to RACVIAC since its inception in terms of finances, expertise and overall support.

Speaking about RACVIAC mission and its role in the region, H.E. Dr Robert Klinke availed himself of this opportunity to underline that RACVIAC proved to be an important and prominent actor that contributes to security and stability in SEE.

Ambassador Klinke also took the opportunity to reassure RACVIAC of German’s commitment and continued political support not only in the Arms Control area but also in other areas that contribute to confidence and security building, and enable it to become an even stronger think-tank on regional security issues.