On-Live Chats with Decision Makers

Live Chat
with Dr Erhart Busek, Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe
Monday, November 17th 2003

Dr Busek with his secretary during the chat session

Below is the edited transcript of the chat with Dr. Erhard Busek, Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. The online chat took place on Monday November 17, 2003 and was organised by the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in South East Europe.

Erhard_Busek: I am Erhard Busek, Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, a fan of the region and convinced that we have to work on reconciliation.

pmonica: We would like to ask from you some useful suggestions for youth NGOs in our region. We are asking this because we are at the beginning from this point of view.

Erhard_Busek: It is necessary to develop youth exchange on a very basic level. Maybe smaller groups can visit each other. Also you can make a comparative study about the living conditions of youngsters in South East Europe. We have to know more about each other.

Roxana: This is one of the main objectives of our work, at our future IG Alpbach-Brasov.

Nenadsebek: So... Dr Busek... suggestions for how the young generation should get involved in the NGO and reconciliation activities?

Erhard_Busek: Please exchange information about the different aims of the NGOs and identify possible co-operations. Maybe there are some ideas which can be brought to the political level from NGOs together.

pmonica: a message to Mr. Busek but also for everyone. Could you please give us some ideas and suggestions for creating a viable Youth NGOs network in the region? And maybe some possible funding sources /ideas for future joint-projects.

Erhard_Busek: First of all you have to get in contact, and then you have to identify what the agenda of the cooperation shall be. If we know what you intend to do, we can develop a project and look around to see if some money is available.

Berti_ALBANIA: Well Mr. Busek, I think that we already have done that agenda.

Erhard_Busek: Support depends on the kind of project. Stability Pact is a humble broker but I may tell you that there is a lot of interest that the younger generation is coming together. First we need an idea, then to know how to realize it and only then can we look for money.

Roxana: to develop Berti's idea and Mr. Busek's suggestion, what would be the first steps in establishing our contacts and exchanging our ideas?

Berti_ALBANIA: Well, I am happy to hear that…

Nenadsebek: There you are Berti.... Dr Busek... what is the best way for Berti... and others to do what you suggested?

Berti_ALBANIA: because people of Change (youth) in the Balkans concluded in 3 ideas...

Berti_ALBANIA: So Mr Busek, next question, for me is, how we can show you our ideas, drafts and project proposals? When I say WE I speak even on behalf of the young people involved in 'Building A future Together'.

Erhard_Busek: You can send it to me to

usakosnick: I would like to ask Mr. Busek what he thinks about the future of Kosova, does he think the Kosova would be independent, and when?

Erhard_Busek: Concerning Kosovo: It depends on how the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina goes. The first step must be to do something on technical matters like transport, electricity, refugee return etc., to gain better standards and to create regional cooperation. In 2005 the international community is prepared to proceed to talks about status.

usakosnick: Mr. Busek yes I do understand the standards, and we have to work on that, but the UNMIK administration in Kosova is very corrupt, and I don't believe a lot in this administration…

Erhard_Busek: Yesterday I had a good talk with Harri Holkeri. I think we are on the right track now. But it is not possible from one day to the other.

usakosnick: Mr. Busek how we can fight the UNMIK corruption in Kosova, we have a lot of facts proving that Administration is corrupt...

Erhard_Busek: If you can prove it, give it directly to Holkeri or me.

der: following usakosnick's comment - how do you intend to address the continuing problem of violence against Serbs in Kosovo and the refusal of the KLA to disarm?

Erhard_Busek: That is the job of UNMIK. I have no mandate.

usakosnick : Mr. Busek, yes I can do that, but you heard about the KEK problem, the man from Germany Joe Trysler. He stole the 4.5 million euro and left for Germany. And after that they put him in jail just 4 years that's shame for the international community.

Erhard_Busek : KEK: We are aware that problem has gone to court and also to OLAF.

usakosnick : Mr. Busek yes, but you see that is the corruption right, they left him to take all that money and to send to Germany right, and after a year they put him in jail...

der: Mr. Busek, I would like to know how specific to each individual state is the SP decision-making process.

Erhard_Busek : Every country in the SP is deciding for itself. But it has to follow the general aim that we need closer regional cooperation and all the countries want to join EU and NATO.

der: And this regional cooperation - how is its focus determined?

Erhard_Busek : Now we have a lot of new states on the map. But on the other hand some problems can only be solved in close cooperation. To give you some examples: Trade, energy, fighting organized crime, corruption, transport but also developing democracy and human rights. We need to discuss the history books, cooperation on culture and education and also free mobility.

der: There are many issue needing to be faced and that is why I am interested in how it is prioritized and how decisions are reached and with what standard and what influences are greatest and least in the decision-making and agenda building processes - for example which outside states or governments or leaders have or do not have an impact and why...

Erhard_Busek: Priority setting is necessary, but it comes out of the fact that priorities of life like employment and security exist.

der: With that understood - what do you see as the greatest security issues in Serbia. I understand that but it is a security issue affecting the applicability of the SP.

Erhard_Busek : I don't understand the question regarding security.

der: You said that the main priorities are life issues such as employment and security; my question then was though UNMIK is supposed to settle the security issues of the KLA, it still does affect the applicability of the SP process to the Balkans. My question then is how does your administration prioritize security issues such as the continuing refusal of the KLA to disarm?

Erhard_Busek : Security has high priority and we are involved together with UNMIK and NATO.

der: yes - that is what I would like to understand, what is your involvement and how to you address these issues in conjunction with UNMIK and NATO

der : ...and more specifically to Serbia proper, what do you see as the main obstacles to reforms of the issues you mentioned (employment, security, democratization, education, etc).

Erhard_Busek: The main obstacles are sometimes political crisis which for example is now in Serbia, a lack of legislation and decision making and a lack of cross-border cooperation.

der: I apologize - I mean you as a collective in regard to your administration rather than you personally.

Erhard_Busek: Do it through UNMIK or SP.

Jehona: I am in London at the moment, doing a masters on European enlargement - the message I am getting here, which should be no surprise to Dr Busek is - we should face that SEE will possibly never join the EU.

Erhard_Busek: On the contrary, there are clear statements from the beginning of SP until the Thessaloniki Summit 2003. It depends on the countries of the region, if they are fulfilling the conditions.

Jehona: Last week there were reports that France and Germany wish to consider creating more formal structures between the two of them…

Jehona: It seems that there is great anxiety about the new states joining in, and the effect it will have on the Union.

Erhard_Busek: With the new constitutional convention everything is now on track within the EU.

jehona: Everyone is dreading the negotiations for post 2006 EU budget and the CAP and SF reforms needed before it is negotiated. The convention is under serious strain. To sum up - challenges to the EU, not least due to enlargement, are formidable...

Erhard_Busek: It is quite clear. There are 25 members instead of 15 and also we need a new budget regulation. It takes time but in the past European integration was able to overcome all difficulties.

jehona: ...are formidable - and it is difficult to see how the SEE is to move in partnership with the EU, bearing in mind the challenges it faces...

nenadsebek: Jehona... that was more a statement than a question for Dr Busek... please rephrase!

jehona: Well, I suppose, should we be more realistic, and accept the EU is increasingly a faraway dream?

Erhard_Busek: I was born in 1941. I lived 60 km from the iron curtain and I never expected that we can discuss the problems mentioned. So I am more optimistic because a lot of dreams are now realized.

Berti_ALBANIA: What about present political chaos in Albania?

Erhard_Busek: There was some improvement in Albania in comparison to four years ago. We are keeping pressure on it. The SP will be in Tirana 5th December 2003.

Leon: I would like to ask a question to Dr. Busek: what does the International community do to develop the economy in the Western Balkans?

Erhard_Busek : Concerning the economy we are doing a lot for the framework conditions. Concerning a sustainable legislation the countries have to do it by themselves. We only can assist.

anima: Dear Sir, we are preparing a film concerning sexual abuse inside a family, and we would like to know if you could recommend some European funds and institutions we could turn to for funding? I apologise if this is not the appropriate moment for this kind of questions, but we would be happy to give you more information about the project on a more appropriate occasion.

Erhard_Busek: It is not possible because we are more involved in projects on the ground like home and justice affairs, unemployment etc. I cannot promise anything but send me the project and I will look for help.

anima: Thank you very much. We will send you detailed documentation. If you could just tell us where it would be best to send it to?

Erhard_Busek : Send it to 1050 Brussels, Rue Wiertz 50.

Erhard_Busek: Yes, but the projects have to be identified quite exactly. There is a lot going on. Please have a look at our website:

Djoka: They (Projects) are in progress, but we have been informed about stopping financing in the next year (by DAAD). How to contact directly Pact for Stability office regarding continuation of very successful projects?

Erhard_Busek: We can try to do something but I cannot guarantee success.

Djoka: Thank You. The idea was to avoid intermediary, money-spending distribution organizations, which is also a big problem.

alvis: Dr. Busek, what is the biggest challenge of SP?

Erhard_Busek : The biggest challenge is regional cooperation and complementarity to the Copenhagen criteria of the EU. Sometimes we are asking for more patience because miracles are seldom.

CDRSEE: Dr. Busek, are there any concrete projects by the SP to fight unemployment and in particular youth unemployment and the brain drain phenomenon?

Erhard_Busek: By the Thessaloniki summit we opened the possibility for the region to join the EU mobility programmes like Socrates, Erasmus etc. We are trying to get money for it in the next year. Concerning unemployment: We are campaigning for foreign direct investment. We have created a free trade zone. We developed proposals on public private partnership. We have a Business Advisory Council to promote the business in the region.

erionveliaj: Dear Sir, Several EU aspirants including Albania where I write from, have often sided with the US Govt. regarding sensitive issues to the EU, i.e. ICC, GMOs etc. How does SP look at these developments?

Erhard_Busek: The transatlantic partnership is very well developed in SP. We have no problems. Concerning other sensitive issues: It is a question between US and EU.

CDRSEE: Is Moldova included in your Charter?

Erhard_Busek: Moldova is included in the SP but there are a lot of difficulties, especially concerning Transnistria.

Hedi: Are there joint projects in the region under the SP umbrella which deal with youth participation in local governance?

Erhard_Busek: Yes

Hedi: What is the outcome of those participation projects?

Erhard_Busek: Please give me your e-mail address. Vera Budway in the office of SP will answer it directly because I cannot know everything...Beg your pardon.

Hedi : Is the MARRI program dealing with visa regulations of EU towards the region?

Erhard_Busek: MARRI is looking to Visa regulations first internally in the region because sometimes the countries of the region are more difficult than the EU. We are asking for Visa free move if somebody has got a Schengen Visa.

Jehona: Dr Busek, why is there such a reluctance from the donor community to (part) fund projects in the SEE that are profit making?

Erhard_Busek: I don't know.

CDRSEE: Does the SP do any projects on election monitoring or citizenship issues in the region?

Erhard_Busek: Election monitoring is a job of OSCE. Citizenship issues are done by the Migration, Asylum and Refugee Return Initiative.

Djoka: In spite of fact that all the governments in SEE are declarative democratic, all the bureaucratic structures behind them are old communist structures, i.e. reform-destructing bodies. What do you think about assisting that?

Erhard_Busek : You are right. But you cannot kick-out everybody. We are trying to create more assistance.

CDRSEE: Who do you think will join the EU first: Turkey or the W. Balkan countries?

miki: replying to CDRSEE the one who builds the most trustful institutions

Erhard_Busek : I can only give a personal answer: I think some of the Western Balkan countries will be first, even if they are later candidate countries.

CDRSEE: Will the W. Balkan countries join the EU as a package or one by one?

Erhard_Busek: Nobody knows. It depends on the conditions being fulfilled.

Erhard_Busek : Many thanks for your participation. It was a pleasure for me to meet you. I am asking you to look courageously to your own future. My life experience is supporting this because I was born in World War II and now I can discuss with you in this way. What an impressive experience!

nenadsebek: Dr Busek... thank you very much for your time... and we would like to invite you for a repeat performance at a convenient time!

Erhard_Busek: Accepted!

Hedi: It was great, please repeat it as soon as possible


nenadsebek: OK... ladies and gents... bye from me... please keep in mind that the Internet Forum continues...and that your postings there are not just welcome... but necessary of we're to move forward.