First in-person CSO meeting since the pandemic held at the Secretariat

On 23 November, the CBSS Committee of Senior Officials held its first in-person meeting since the pandemic at the Secretariat in Stockholm, and its second meeting under the Norwegian Presidency. Senior Officials from 9 Member States gathered at the office, while Iceland, Lithuania and the European Union joined the group online. The Committee, chaired by Mr. Olav Berstad from the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, discussed, among other things, the continuation of the Baltic Sea Youth Platform, the next Project Support Facility call and the plans for the organisation’s approaching 30th anniversary. They also discussed and approved the budget for 2022 and the Lithuanian Presidency report.

An update from Priority Area Safe & Secure was also provided. Mr. Jan Austad from the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security, and chair of the Task Force Against Trafficking in Human Beings and the Baltic Sea Task Force on Organized Crime, presented the projects, as well as recent and upcoming activities of the groups.

Mr. Hans-Peter Wagner, Senior Chief Inspector of the Federal Police Directorate in Bad Bramstedt, Germany, and chair of the Baltic Sea Region Border Control Cooperation, (BSRBCC) briefed the CSO on future plans of the border guard cooperation and made suggestions for potential collaboration with the CBSS.

The meeting was not only the first time that the Committee met in person since the start of the pandemic – it was also the first time they visited the Secretariat’s new premises in Södermalm, Stockholm. A flag hoisting ceremony therefore marked the official inauguration of the new office. The CSO was joined for the ceremony by the President of the City Council of Stockholm, Ms. Cecilia Brinck, and Secretariat staff. Ms. Brinck, the CBSS Secretariat Director General, Mr. Grzegorz Poznanski, the Norwegian Chair of the Committee of Senior Officials, Mr. Olav Berstad, the Swedish Member of the Committee of Senior Officials, Ms. Eva Ekmehag all said a few words to mark the occasion.