The South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) was launched on Bulgaria's initiative in 1996. At the Bulgaria-chaired meeting in Sofia, the Southeast Europe (SEE) countries laid the foundations for regional co-operation for the purposes of creating an atmosphere of trust, good neighbourly relations and stability.
A special characteristic of SEECP is that it is an original form of co-operation among the countries in the region launched on their own initiative, and not on the initiative of some other international organisation or countries. In that regard, the SEECP seeks to define itself as an authentic voice of SEE, complementary to the Stability Pact, Southeast European Cooperative Initiative or the Stabilisation and Association Process.
The basic goals of regional co-operation within SEECP include the strengthening of security and the political situation, intensification of economic relations and co-operation in the areas of human resources, democracy, justice, and battle against illegal activities. It is the intention of the SEECP to enable its members to approach the European and Euro-Atlantic structures through the strengthening of good neighbourly relations and transformation of the region into an area of peace and stability.
The SEECP is a regional non-institutionalised process co-ordinated by the presiding country. The SEECP presidency lasts for one year and is rotated among the members. The presiding country presents the Process at international meetings and hosts the annual meeting of heads of state and government, foreign ministers meeting and a number of annual meetings of political directors. Depending on the situation, the presiding country may call extraordinary meetings.
The Regional Cooperation Council was established at a 2008 meeting of foreign affairs ministers from the SEECP. The organization was founded by SEECP participants and is funded in part by the European Union to further promote European integration and cooperation. The RCC is led by a Secretary-General, currently Majlinda Bregu and consists of 46 participants. Participants are made up of the SEECP countries, along with other countries and supranational organizations who are interested in the stability and development of the region. A major project of the RCC is the development of the Regional Economic Area (REA), to better integrate South East European economies. The status of the REA has been uncertain with competing integration projects like the 2019 "mini-Schengen" agreement.
Presiding country is changed each year:
Heads of state and government meetings:
Foreign ministers meetings: