Council of the Baltic Sea States
AbbreviationCBSS
FormationMarch 1992
TypeRegional/Intergovernmental Organization
HeadquartersStockholm, Sweden
Membership
10 member countries
Official language
English
CBSS current Presidency
Finland
Director General (Secretariat)
Grzegorz Marek Poznański
Main organ
CBSS Secretariat
Websitecbss.org

The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) is a regional intergovernmental organisation working on three priority areas:

These three priority areas aim to address the themes of sustainable development, environment, sustainable maritime economy, education, labour, culture, youth engagement, civil security, children's rights and trafficking in human beings.

Member states

The CBSS has 10 member states as well as the European Union:

Former member states

Observer states

11 other countries have observer status:[3]

General Directors of the CBSS

Grzegorz Marek Poznański - Director General of the Permanent Secretariat of the Council of the Baltic Sea States in Stockholm
Jacek Starosciak 1998 - 2002
Hannu Halinen 2002 - 2005
Gabriele Kötschau 2005 - 2010
Jan Lundin 2010 - 2016
Maira Mora 2016 - 2020
Grzegorz Marek Poznański 2020 - current
CBSS Members and observers

History

The CBSS was established by the region's Foreign Ministers in Copenhagen in March 1992 as a response to the geopolitical changes that took place in the Baltic Sea region with the end of the Cold War. The CBSS founders were Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Thorvald Stoltenberg, Lennart Meri, Jānis Jurkāns, Algirdas Saudargas, Henning Christophersen, Paavo Väyrynen, Andrei Kozyrev, Margaretha af Ugglas, and Krzysztof Skubiszewski.[4] Since its founding, the CBSS has contributed to ensuring positive developments within the Baltic Sea region and has served as a driving force for multilateral cooperation.

Since 1998 the CBSS has been served by a permanent international Secretariat that is located in Stockholm, Sweden and funded by the Member States. The highest institution of CBSS is the conference of foreign ministers, which convenes once per year.[4]

On 3 March 2022, a declaration from 11 members of the CBSS suspended Russia from the Council's activities with immediate effect as a result of 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, Belarus, with observer status, was suspended from participating in CBSS activities.[5][6]

Presidencies

The Council Presidency rotates between the eleven Member States on an annual basis. Each Presidency lays down a set of specific priorities to guide the works of the Council for the Presidency year and lasts for one year from 1 July until 30 June.[4]

Year Country Presidency priorities
2023-2024  Finland Comprehensive security, Crisis preparedness and Resilience
2022-2023  Germany Offshore wind energy, Dumped munitions, Youth
2021-2022  Norway Accelerating cooperation on the green transition, fostering regional identity and cooperation, supporting the current mandates on civil protection
2020-2021  Lithuania Sustainable Development, green and maritime tourism, civil protection in the Region, fight against human trafficking for labour exploitation in the Region
2019-2020  Denmark Making the CBSS a More Flexible Organization
2018-2019  Latvia Integrity & Social Security, Dialogue and Responsibility
2017-2018  Sweden Sustainability, Continuity and Adaptability
2016-2017  Iceland Children, Equality and Democracy
2015-2016  Poland Sustainability, Creativity and Safety
2014-2015  Estonia Practicality, Efficiency and Cooperation
2013-2014  Finland Maritime Policy, Civil Protection and People-to-people Contacts[7]
2012-2013  Russia Stricter environmental standards for maritime transport, synchronizing regional strategies, improving the ecological state of the region[8]
2011-2012  Germany
2010-2011  Norway Fight against trafficking in human beings, Maritime policy
2009-2010  Lithuania
2008-2009  Denmark
2007-2008  Latvia
2006-2007  Sweden
2005-2006  Iceland
2004-2005  Poland
2003-2004  Estonia
2002-2003  Finland
2001-2002  Russia
2000-2001  Germany
1999-2000  Norway
1998-1999  Lithuania
1997-1998  Denmark
1996-1997  Latvia
1995-1996  Sweden
1994-1995  Poland
1993-1994  Estonia
1992-1993  Finland

Structure

Committee of Senior Officials

The Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) consists of high-ranking representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the 11 CBSS Member States as well as of a high-level representative of the European Union. The CSO serves as the main discussion forum and decision-making body for matters related to the work of the Council between Ministerial Sessions. The CSO monitors, facilitates and aims to coordinate the work of all CBSS structures.

The period chaired by each country rotates on an annual basis and follows the Council Presidency. The CSO Chairman is a representative, usually at ambassadorial level, appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country which holds the Council Presidency.

A number of CBSS structures are operating under the auspices of the CSO.

The CSO monitors the work of the Expert Groups and coordinates the work undertaken in the agreed three long-term priorities 'Regional Identity', 'Sustainable & Prosperous Region' and 'Safe & Secure Region'.

Expert Groups

Secretariat

A Permanent International Secretariat of the CBSS was established following a decision taken at the 7th Ministerial Session of the CBSS in 1998 in Nyborg, Denmark. The Secretariat was officially inaugurated at its premises on the island of Strömsborg in Stockholm on 20 October 1998. From November 2010 until July 2020 the Secretariat was located at Räntmästarhuset at Slussplan 9, Stockholm, Sweden. Since July 2020, Momma Reenstiernas Palace at Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 23 is the new home of the CBSS Secretariat.

The mandate of the Secretariat is as follows:

Strategic partners

Since the 10th Ministerial Session of the CBSS in 2001, the Council has intensified efforts to coordinate CBSS activities with other organisations actively working to advance regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. The CBSS has taken the initiative to organise annual coordination meetings, (organised and presided over by the CSO Chair), with the participation of Baltic Sea regional organisations, thus providing a more structured channel for involving the strategic partners to voice their concerns and coordinate their efforts with the CBSS and other organisations such as:

See also: Baltic sea countries

Long term priorities

In June 2014, the Council decided, after an evaluation and review of the CBSS five long-term priorities, to mainstream three renewed long-term priorities for the Council of the Baltic Sea States – Regional Identity, Sustainable & Prosperous Region and Safe & Secure Region.

The Regional Identity

Goal
To foster a Baltic Sea Region identity and intensify contacts supporting its further development
Objective
To develop the concept of Baltic Sea Region identity for and a sense of belonging to the Baltic Sea Region through engagement, participation and multilevel governance, in a community spirit and to create a notion of regional unity across borders by developing people-to-people contacts through dialogue, macro-regional networks and institutions;

Sustainable and Prosperous Region

Goals
To develop the Baltic Sea Region as a model region of sustainable societies able to manage and use resources efficiently, to tap the economic, technological, ecological and social innovation potential of the region in order to ensure its prosperity, environmental protection and social cohesion; To contribute to the eradication of obstacles hampering the comprehensive and sustainable development of the region
Objectives
To improve the overall competitiveness of the Baltic Sea region through sustainable economic growth and labour markets, research and development, innovative infrastructure, an integrated maritime policy, transport and communications; To support the transition of the Baltic Sea region towards a competitive, green and low-carbon economy thereby ensuring sustainable development and inclusive growth; To support further action to reach a good environmental status and a healthy ecosystem supporting a prosperous Baltic Sea Region; To strengthen the region's capacity to adapt to climate change and the resilience capacity of ecosystems and societies; To ensure further mainstreaming of sustainable development at all levels and in all policy sectors, integrating economic, social and environmental aspects; To promote sustainable and green technologies and initiatives in order to protect the ecosystem and biodiversity of the Baltic Sea region;

Safe and Secure Region

Goal
To enhance societal security and safety in the Baltic Sea Region and to ensure that people of the Region are protected from and resilient to violence, accidents and emergencies through preparedness, and safeguarded against harm caused by criminal exploitation and human trafficking
Objectives
To counteract all forms of trafficking in human beings, in the Baltic Sea Region via preventive and protective activities and projects based on a coherent and multidisciplinary approach; To promote comprehensive and sustainable child protection in order to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against children through a multi-sectorial approach and increased cooperation between relevant authorities and other stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region; To strengthen societal resilience to disasters and hazards in all stages of crises through adequate prevention, preparedness, response and recovery; To enhance interoperability and strategic macro-regional cooperation enabling assistance and rapid response to cross-border accidents and emergencies, including disasters that may have cross-border consequences and impact.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ryssland lämnar Östersjöstaternas råd" (in Swedish). Svenska Dagbladet. 17 May 2022. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  2. ^ Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Service. "Statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry on the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the Council of the Baltic Sea States".
  3. ^ "Annual Briefing of the CBSS Observer States". cbss.org. 13 November 2019. Archived from the original on 19 May 2020. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d "Council".
  5. ^ "Russia suspended from Council of the Baltic Sea States | Ārlietu ministrija". www.mfa.gov.lv. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  6. ^ Affairs, Ministry of Foreign (3 March 2022). "Russia suspended from Council of the Baltic Sea States". Government.no. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  7. ^ Annual Report for the Russian Presidency 2012-2013 (PDF). Council of the Baltic Sea States. p. 37. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  8. ^ Annual Report for the Russian Presidency 2012-2013 (PDF). Council of the Baltic Sea States. p. 3. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  9. ^ "Baltic 2030". Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.