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:
- Fostering economic co-operation
- Promoting practical interaction between the CBSS and sub-national co-operation
structures in the Baltic Sea region, on the one hand, and the European Union - on the
- Advancing sustainable socio-economic development of Kaliningrad Oblast through regional
- Encouraging the development and wider application of modern information technologies for
the purpose of building a knowledge-based society in the region
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Russian Presidency will carry on with the work aimed at establishing a fund for
sub-regional development in the Baltic Sea States.
- 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
- 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:
- Initiating constructive dialogue regarding new fields of regional co-operation that are
formally not on the CBSS agenda but are becoming an essential element of the Baltic Sea
co-operation. In particular, this concerns developing contacts among military authorities,
which constitute an important element of confidence building in the interests of security
and stability of the whole Baltic Sea region.
- Supporting the work of existing specialised intergovernmental co-operation structures in
the Baltic Sea region, such as the Task Force on Organised Crime and the Task Force on
Communicable Disease Control
- Pursuing greater synergy of activities of the different fora around the Baltic Sea,
including the Special Participants in the CBSS - BSPC, BSSSC and UBC - and Observer
States, as well as promoting closer co-ordination with the BEAC.
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Russian presidency of the CBSS
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