Finland took over the Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) at the beginning of July. The theme of Finland’s Presidency is a Clean, Safe and Smart Baltic Sea.
Three main aims have been set for the Presidency. The first priority is to promote cooperation on maritime policy, in particular the clean navigation and use of alternative fuels. The second priority relates to civil security, with the aim of improving cooperation between authorities. In cooperation between authorities, the most important issues are nuclear and radiation safety and the prevention of accidents at sea. The third priority pertains to cooperation between the residents of the Baltic Sea region. Discussions will take place to consider, for instance, the role of civil society and youth issues.
For the next year, Finland will lead the CBSS Committee of Senior Officials, which is the Council’s decision-making body, as well as a number of sector-specific expert groups. The Presidency is carried out under the leadership of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in close cooperation with various ministries and authorities. Cooperation is also conducted with parliamentarians in the Baltic Sea region, as well as with cities and provincial federations.
The CBSS plays an important role as a high-level policy forum where Governments can discuss regional issues. The Conference of Foreign Ministers and the Baltic Sea Summit convene in alternate years The previous Conference of Foreign Ministers was held on 5–6 June 2013 in Kaliningrad, at the end of the Russian Presidency. Finland, in turn, will host the Baltic Sea Summit at Prime Minister level in Turku in early June of 2014.
The year-long Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States rotates amongst the Council’s eleven member countries. The Council was established in 1992. All of the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries, Poland, Germany, Russia and the European Union take part in its work. The permanent Secretariat of the CBSS is located in Stockholm, Sweden. After Finland, the Presidency will be taken over by Estonia.
Additional information: Ambassador Satu Mattila, tel. +358 40 351 7391, Unit for Regional Cooperation/CBSS Presidency, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
http://formin.finland.fi/Council of the Baltic Sea States