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Annual Meeting of the International Institute for Security and Cooperation, Budapest, Hungary

The annual meeting of the International Institute for Security and Cooperation was held in Budapest, Hungary. It is the organization's gathering to hear the report and to hold an election and was sticking to an agenda that had been proposed and pre-released. The total number of the IISC General Assembly is 14 (fourteen) members - 13 individuals and one legal entity. In his opening speech Mr. Rumen Petkov who was elected chair of the meeting made a short analysis of the IISC activities in the period under review and presented the IISC Managing Board's 2017/2018 activity report. The documents were unanimously approved by the attendees of the meeting and a decision was taken that they should be uploaded on the Institute's website.

The new IISC Managing Board is represented by Prof. Svetla Toshkova, Prof. Kamen Penkov, Law. Lyubomir Mihailovski, Gen. Valentin Petrov and Dragutin Mate. Prof. Svetla Toshkova was elected Chair of the Managing Board; Prof. Kamen Penkov was reelected Chief Executive Officer of the association; Mr. Rumen Petkov was reelected Chairman of the IISC General Assembly.

Mr. Petkov presented a draft activity program 2018/2019. One of the main focuses of the Institute's future activity is to make analyses and organize discussion forums on the processes that lead to drugs production increase and the alarming changes in the market of illicit opioids - substances that continue to be associated with high morbidity and death rates in Europe and with the overall increase of overdose deaths. Since the drug phenomenon continues to grow uncontrollably, a point was made of the need to take sustained action in Europe via the framework of coordinated activities set out in the EU Drugs Strategy (2013-2020). Reference was made to the new EU Action Plan on Drugs 2017-2020 that has been debated by the European Parliament.

Another essential element of the IISC activity is the ongoing analysis and monitoring of the post-Brexit security architecture in Europe, especially the component that is to follow and assess the condition and shape of the Schengen area ten years after its last enlargement, the Balkan countries' condition and problems from a political and geostrategic perspective during the Presidency of the Council of the European Union of Bulgaria (2018) and Romania (2019).

The discussion gave serious attention to the issue, inter alia, of the opportunities and implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. The Strategy brings together the efforts of the countries concerned providing them with a tool to build a region of security, prosperity and justice for 115 million citizens who live in it. The discussion noted that the processes of migration, climate change and environmental protection, conservation of biodiversity, protection of cultural heritage and, above all, the maintenance of security in the region are particularly essential factors of intensive impact because of its sensitivity to different elements of political and geographic nature. It was noted that the challenges related to economic inequalities and the pre-1990 underinvestment in infrastructure and heritage should be overcome in the interest of the security of the countries in the region.

The participants voted additional decisions to state their intention to submit to an international audience and to Bulgarian institutions the presentations and reports that were presented at the round table that preceded the annual meeting, with a focus on post-Brexit security in Europe, migration, the illicit trafficking in drugs and the threat to Europe by foreign fighters. The participants in the meeting have no objection to the information being broadly discussed and communicated in an appropriate manner to interested experts.

In conclusion the IISC activity program for the next period was discussed, supplemented and unanimously approved and an instruction was given that it should be uploaded on the IISC website.

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