Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, and Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and the European Neighbourhood Policy, today made the following statement:

“We welcome the appointment of Mr Goran Svilanovic as the new Secretary-General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).

We are confident that Mr Svilanovic will provide new impetus to regional cooperation by ensuring that the RCC becomes the principal organisation of South East Europe to strengthen regional ownership, increase efficiency and ensure inclusiveness in regional cooperation.

Regional cooperation is an essential element of the Stabilisation and Association Process and consequently one of the criteria for the evaluation of candidates and potential candidates. Moreover, regional cooperation is a cornerstone of European integration. It is one of the founding principles of the European Union itself. It has an inherent value for the region, for the accession process and beyond.

We also take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Secretary General of the RCC, Mr. Hido Biscevic, for his tireless efforts in setting up the RCC structures and ensuring that it has become the operational arm of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) and the main interlocutor of the EU on regional issues.”

(June 18, 2012)