Council of the Baltic Sea States commemorates its 25th anniversary
It is important for the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) to keep in mind its primary objective of promoting intergovernmental political dialogue in the region, said the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Neris Germanas at the informal ministerial meeting of the CBSS in Reykjavík. The ministerial meeting was held on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the CBSS.
“The organization must make use of all tools available to foster respect for democratic principles, as well as to promote dialogue based on human rights and the rule of law,” said Germanas.
On 20 June in Reykjavík, the Foreign Ministers of Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Foreign Vice-Ministers of Lithuania and Russia, representatives of Finland and the European Union commemorated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the CBSS in 1992. The meeting was organized by Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson (Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson), Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, as this country chairs the CBSS.
Lithuania’s Foreign Vice-Minister Germanas reminded the participants that the “Vilnius Declaration - A Vision for the Baltic Sea Region by 2020” remained the organisation’s significant guiding document that called on the states to work together, making the Baltic Sea Region a safe place for people to develop their talents, to cooperate and to create.
The Reykjavík Declaration adopted by the Ministers of the CBSS calls for bettering the understanding of and regaining confidence in the region. According to Germanas, in order to regain confidence in the region, all members of the CBSS have to fulfil their obligations. A desire to use energy to make an impact or the construction of nuclear reactors in the neighbourhood, while violating international environmental and nuclear safety standards, will not help regain confidence in the region. In Reykjavík, the Ministers proposed to set up an independent Group of Wise Men, which would come up with recommendations on the future of the CBSS. The recommendations will be considered by members of the CBSS over the next two years.
The CBSS was established in 1992 on the initiative of the then German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and the then Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark Uffe Ellemann-Jensen. Since 2008, the organization has been increasingly focused on project activities, particularly in the following three areas: the promotion of regional identity, sustainable and prosperous regional development, citizen security in the region and regional security.
The CBSS has held neither summits nor formal meetings of foreign ministers since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Lithuania will chair the CBSS from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.