The Council of the Baltic Sea States as an intergovernmental forum of the Baltic Sea Rim has had an important part in improving relations and cooperation in the region and fostering democratic developments in the region during the last years. The positive developments in the region have helped in paving the way to further steps towards enlargement of the European Union and the creation of bonds of partnership with the Russion Federation. The Northern Dimension Action Plan of the European Union has taken up a multitude of aims of political initiatives presented by CBSS and the different supporting bodies.
To contribute to the achievement of the overall aim of stability, security and best use of the potential of the Baltic Sea Region for the well-being of its inhabitants the incoming German presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) proposes the following priority areas of cooperation in the upcoming year:
- Economic Co-operation
- Active Participation in the Northern Dimension of the EU
- Environmental Protection
- Promotion of the Baltic Sea Rim as a region of knowledge-based societies, cultural identity and active civic participation in democracy and regional exchange
The German presidency envisages the following tasks and projects where the political role of the CBSS should contribute to achieve results:
- Implementation of the Bergen Action Plan of the Baltic Sea States Trade Ministers: Focus on removing barriers to trade, specification of partly very ambitious goals, monitoring of implementation process in members states
- Setting up of IT-Network for small and medium sized enterprises
- Transport infrastructure: discussion on shared use of transport facilities in connection to the planning on Trans-European transport networks
- Follow up on Conference of Energy Ministers October 1999, support for activities to create a Baltic energy ring
- Creation of the IT-ad-hoc Task Force: report on the use of IT, especially E-Commerce for intensified cross border economic development, issues of IT security
- Progress on the Protection of Intellectual Property
- Report on profile of International Financial Institutions in the Baltic Sea Region, recommendations for improved financing conditions
- Organisation of an high level international economic forum
- profile elevation of the CBSS as contributor of regional expertise; multilateral regional cooperation as complementary to EU policies in the region
- development of a shortlist of regional projects to become part of the action plan of the Northern Dimension, including projects on Kaliningrad
- close cooperation with EU Commission, fostering conditions for the Commission to be an active participant in the regional cooperation
- Political follow up of summit decisions of Kolding concerning sustainable development and protection of the environment
- Combining environmental and energy policies to promote ecologically compatible energy production (gas, hydrogen) through a pilot project
- Upgrading of safety standards in the Baltic Sea Region, examination of possibilities to improve respective civil security measures
- Promotion of experimental use of IT within the Baltic Interface Net (BIN) for scientific and economic cooperation, research and development
- Make maximum use of the academic and scientific potential of the region through promotion of further development of university cooperation
- Strengthening of cultural cooperation by connecting government and NGO activities, e.g. Ars Baltica
- Improvement of academic resources for the whole Baltic Sea Region through continued support for Euro Faculty (existing centres in Tartu, Riga and Vilnius as well as Kaliningrad from September 2000); support for the establishment of Euro Faculty Kaliningrad beyond phase of inception
- Close cooperation with special participants representing the cooperation on the sub-regional level (BSSSC, UBC), mutual complementation of tasks and programmes
- Closer contact with and promotion of the mutual exchange between NGOs as an element to strengthen the democratic development in the region.
- Initiatives promoting the exchange and mobility in education and training of young people.
- Continuation of the Review of Structure and Working Methods, focussing of activities of the CBSS
- Support for the work of the Task Force on Organised Crime und continuation of activities to combat corruption
- Coordination of different fora in the Baltic Sea, coordination with the Barents-Euro-Artic-Council
Document of German Foreign Ministry / Auswärtiges Amt, Berlin 2000.
www.cbss-ngo.de/2001 - Initiative Ostsee-Kooperation der Nichtregierungsorganisationen