In Stockholm, CBSS decision makers advance on the future of the CBSS

The CSO members met in Stockholm, Sweden on 24 November 2022 to address the work of the CBSS and its future orientations.

The Committee of Senior Officials, the permanent representatives of the Member States of the CBSS, met in Stockholm on 24 November 2022 to receive updates about and provide guidance on the work of the CBSS. The representatives also addressed the future orientations of the Council.

Besides budget matters and other updates, the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) was notably informed about the recently pre-approved Baltic Sea Region Cultural Pearls project, which will help cities within the Baltic Sea Region to increase their social resilience by utilising their cultural heritage. A pan-Baltic initiative, the CBSS-led project includes twelve partners and eight associated organisations from across the region. 

The representatives also advanced on the reflection process on the future orientations and priorities of the CBSS that was initiated in the wake of Russia’s suspension and withdrawal from the Council.

As part of this process, and on the eve of the CSO meeting, an external expert panel provided its recommendations on regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region in general and on the possible role of the CBSS in a new geopolitical environment. 

According to the experts, a critical juncture for regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) was reached in 2022 with the Russian aggression of Ukraine. At the same time, the experts acknowledged the expertise of the CBSS, notably on youth, human trafficking, children at risk, and civil protection. 

The experts were Žaneta Ozoliņa, professor at the University of Latvia and the Director of its Centre for International Politics; Damian Szacawa, Assistant Professor at the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland; Ninna Mörner, Editor-in-chief for the Baltic Worlds journal, Södertörn University; Lykke Friis, former Minister for Gender Equality of Denmark; and Tobias Etzold, Political Scientist and Lecturer at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The results of the reflection process will form the basis for decisions about the future orientations of the Council by the foreign ministers of the Baltic Sea countries, at the next CBSS Ministerial Session due to be held at the end of the German presidency of the CBSS in 2023.

The Committee also approved funding for the Project Support Facility (PSF) from 2023 to 2026. The PSF co-finances projects in the BSR that contribute to the implementation of the long-term priorities of the CBSS. The next call for application for funding by the PSF will open on 15 February 2023. 

The CSO were also informed about the briefing of the CBSS Observer States that took place the day before. The CBSS currently has 10 active observers.

Chaired by Germany, the CSO meeting was attended by all CBSS Member States.