CBSS-Logo (3kB)Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS)

Priorities of the Russian Presidency 2001-2002

The Council of the Baltic Sea States is playing the role of an important forum for political guidance and co-ordination of regional co-operation, both among the actors of the region and as a partner of the European Union. Through implementation of the decisions of the Baltic Sea Summit in Kolding in April 2000 and the CBSS Ministerial Sessions in Bergen (2000) and Hamburg (2001), the Council holds today a key position in the co-ordination of all regional intergovernmental, multilateral co-operation among the group of CBSS members. Co-operation in the framework of the CBSS will continue to complement the bilateral relations between the states of the region and with the EU.

The Council has an enormous potential not only for its member countries, but also with respect to the over-arching objective of creating a united greater Europe. Practical interaction within the CBSS makes a substantial contribution to the development, throughout the continent, of a new architecture of inter-state relations, based on democratic values, respect for human rights and supremacy of international law. Co-operation in the Baltic Sea region is developing intensively, spreading to new spheres of inter-state relations. The main objectives of the Russian Presidency of the CBSS are, therefore, to ensure continuity and consistency in the work of the Council, on the one hand, and to promote further dialogue on urgent issues and long-term prospects of the region, on the other. During its term between July 2001 and June 2002, the Russian Presidency will therefore focus on the following priority areas and issues:

Strengthening the CBSS, optimising its working methods and thus reinforcing the role of the Council as the primary co-ordinator of inter-governmental co-operation in the Baltic Sea region In the context of these priorities, the Russian Presidency envisages initiating the following efforts within the framework of the CBSS during its term:

  1. Strengthening the economic component of Baltic Sea co-operation, including such issues as energy, transport and border area infrastructure and removal of trade barriers: the Presidency plans to convene in Moscow in March 2002 a regular meeting of CBSS Ministers of Trade and Economy to examine the progress in the implementation of the Bergen Action Plan on economic co-operation in the Baltic Sea region and identify measures of promoting economic activities in the region and ensuring its sustainable and balanced development. A strong emphasis shall also be placed on transport issues with a view to optimise the transport flows in the region. The meeting of CBSS Ministers of Transport in Gdansk in September 2001 is of particular importance in this regard.
  2. Strengthening the interaction between the CBSS and the European Union, with a view to promote and implement the EU Northern Dimension Action Plan: this shall include monitoring of the implementation of the "List of Priorities and Projects" submitted by the CBSS at the Luxembourg Ministerial Conference on the Northern Dimension in April 2001, as well as supplementing it with new initiatives.
  3. Promoting fruitful work on the Kaliningrad dossier: Problems of Kaliningrad Oblast are inseparable from the Baltic Sea and all-European agenda and it is therefore vital to find their constructive and commonly acceptable solutions.
  4. Special importance shall be given to the top-level CBSS meeting on information technologies in Riga in September 2001, so that it gives the necessary impetus to regional co-operation in this field in accordance with the instructions given by the Heads of government at their meeting in Kolding in 2000.
  5. Preserving clean marine environment, including enhancing the safety of navigation in the Baltic Sea in accordance with the decisions of the 10th Ministerial session in Hamburg.
  6. Promoting further interaction of the Baltic Sea States in the area of non-military security: the Presidency shall lend full support to the CBSS Lead country for this area of co-operation and invite the Member States to consider establishing special CBSS mechanisms to co-ordinate on-going and future co-operative activities in this field.
  7. Giving priority attention to issues of democratic development, including human rights and the rights of national minorities, based on the understanding that human rights issues should be an area of co-operation, rather than confrontation: the Presidency shall closely collaborate with the CBSS Commissioner on Democratic Development and contribute to the preparation of the next Seminar of national/parliamentary Ombudsmen of the Baltic Sea States in Russia in the spring of 2002.
  8. The Russian Presidency will carry on with the work aimed at establishing a fund for sub-regional development in the Baltic Sea States.
  9. Strengthening the authority of the CBSS not only as the co-ordinator but also as the initiator of co-operation in the Baltic Sea region: the Russian Presidency will lead the preparation of, and appropriate follow-up to, a number of planned top-level meetings, such as the 4th Baltic Sea States Summit meeting in St.Petersburg in June 2002, 11th Ministerial session of the CBSS, which shall coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Council, as well as various CBSS ministerial meetings on specific areas of co-operation.
  10. Optimising the working methods and structure of the CBSS, building on the foundation, which has been laid under previous Presidencies: the Russian Presidency will continue to rely on the Council Troika, which has proved to be an effective mechanism of consultations, and host a follow-up meeting of political directors of the CBSS Ministries for Foreign Affairs.

Other tasks of the Russian CBSS Presidency: - Initiative Ostsee-Kooperation der Nichtregierungsorganisationen