The Foreign Ministers of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) are meeting online today, as the COVID-19 outbreak prevents them from gathering on Bornholm, Denmark as planned.
Under the chairmanship of the Danish Foreign Minister and President-in-Office of the CBSS, Mr. Jeppe Kofod, the Foreign Ministers of Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden and a high-level representative of the European Union will conclude the implementation of the CBSS reforms they agreed last year and discuss selected topical issues for the region.
Denmark, current holder of the annually rotating presidency of the CBSS, has made the implementation of the CBSS reforms the key objective of its programme. The reforms aim to revitalise the CBSS as a platform for dialogue at political level on key issues, trends and developments facing the Baltic Sea region and its citizens. They also serve to foster focused and flexible cooperation in the CBSS, enabling concrete results in areas in which the organisation is uniquely suited to add value. Today’s meeting concludes the reform process.
The Ministers will also discuss the scope for strengthened regional cooperation in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak; engagement of the region’s young people in political decision-making; how to address environmental and climate issues in the Baltic Sea and on land; and the fight against cross-border organised crime. Their commitment to the CBSS reform path and to continuing their regional dialogue on issues such as these will be affirmed by their adoption of the Bornholm Declaration.
Foreign Minister Kofod says: “Being from Bornholm, I’m proud that Denmark during our Presidency has reinvigorated the CBSS. This has been a priority for the Danish Presidency. The Bornholm Declaration and the high-level participation in today’s meeting are visible proof of this. I am happy that we are able to conduct the foreign ministers’ meeting despite the COVID-19 situation preventing us from meeting in Bornholm, which would have been a great location for the meeting. All my colleagues in the Council are joining me today, and together we will send a strong signal of our engagement in this cooperation platform, focusing on issues of importance to the people of the Baltic Sea region, such as climate change and youth participation.”
Ambassador Maira Mora, Director General of the CBSS Secretariat, welcomes the Ministers’ willingness and commitment to working together: “In times of crisis the need for cooperation becomes perhaps even more apparent and the cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region remains strong despite life slowing down. We are happy to share the outcomes of the Danish Presidency at the Foreign Ministers meeting and to finalise the CBSS reforms with the adoption of the Bornholm Declaration, making our organisation more adaptive and capable of undertaking joint efforts to prepare for, tackle and mitigate future challenges together.”
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