The South-East European Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly was established on 10 May 2014, at the Inaugural Session of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly held in Bucharest, as a result of the multiannual work of participating countries on institutionalisation of the parliamentary dimension of this initiative. The Inaugural Session represents the most significant step made in the process that has started during Montenegrin presidency of the initiative, when the working group was formed, tasked with founding and establishing a legal framework for functioning of the South-East European Cooperation Process Parliamentary Assembly.
The South-East European Cooperation Process is a regional framework, launched in June 1996, at the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs of the South-East Europe in Sofia, aimed at promoting and strengthening good neighbourly relations between the SEE countries and transforming the region in the zone of peace, security, stability, and cooperation. There are 12 SEECP member states: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Greece, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia and Turkey.
Montenegro formally became the 11th SEECP member, at the Summit held on 10 and 11 May 2007 in Zagreb
The political framework of this cooperation process covers the issues of security and stability, development of cooperation in the economy and protection of the environment, promoting humanitarian, social and cultural cooperation, as well as cooperation in the field of justice, combating organised crime, terrorism, trafficking in drugs, weapons and people.
The fundamental document of the SEECP PA is the Charter on Good Neighbourly Relations, Stability, and Security in the South-East Europe, adopted in 2000, in Bucharest, while the founding act of the Parliamentary Assembly is the Declaration on the inauguration of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly, adopted on 10 May 2014 in Bucharest.
The Parliamentary Dimension of SEECP was launched at the Conference of Speakers of Parliament held in Athens, in 1997, as a logical sequence of the already established cooperation at the ministerial level. Prior to forming of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Dimension was operating at the level of meetings of national coordinators, Working Group which was working on institutionalisation of the parliamentary dimension, the annual conference of speakers of parliaments of countries participating in SEE PA, as well as international conferences on the topics of interest to the SEE region.
Within the SEECP PA, three general committees were formed, having also MPs of the Parliament of Montenegro as members: the General Committee on Economy, Infrastructure and Energy; the General Committee on Justice, Home Affairs and Security Cooperation; and the Social Development, Education, Research and Science Committee.
The Permanent Delegation of the Parliament of Montenegro to the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly consists of five members, their 4 named deputies, and a national parliamentary coordinator, while the Head of the Permanent Delegation is the President of the Parliament of Montenegro.
The Plenary Sitting is held once per year, in the country holding presidency of the SEECP, while the meetings of the three general committees are also held once per year, in the country of origin of the chairperson of the general committee.
Montenegro held presidency of the Initiative (June 2010 – June 2011), and in that period the volume of parliamentary activities of the Initiative has risen significantly, both through organising of the very meetings in Montenegro and through strengthening of communication with other regional organisations and initiatives. During the presidency, a Working Group consisting of MPs and national coordinators of member states was formed, aimed at finding the best modality for the institutional rearrangement of the initiative, i.e. forming of the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly.