Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference: Intergenerational discussions to strengthen societal resilience

48 young people from all across the Baltic Sea Region gathered in Berlin to create eight policy recommendations on the topic of democratic and digital resilience. This event represented a significant platform for youth engagement and democratic discussion in the Baltic Sea Region, while allowing for a youth-driven impact on the newly adopted BSPC resolution.

The Baltic Sea Parliamentary Youth Forum

From August 25th to 27th, 2023, the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Youth Forum (BSPYF), organised by the German Delegation to the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference (BSPC), the German Bundestag, and the CBSS, provided a platform for young people from across the Baltic Sea Region to exchange opinions, network, and collaborate on their policy recommendations under the overarching theme of Strengthening Democratic Resilience in the Baltic Sea Region.

Participants, aged between 18 and 29, worked in group sessions to create policy recommendations focused on the following topics:

  1. Improving Digital Resilience
  2. Increasing Youth Participation and Engaging Young People in Political Decision-Making
  3. Addressing Social Division and Polarization in the Face of Right-Wing Extremism
  4. Sustaining Trust in Democratic Institutions by Reducing Social Inequality

“This format of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Youth Forum has showcased the talent that young people possess when provided with the right platform, valued, and attentively heard.”

Andreas Schoop, Chair of the Committee of Youth Representatives (BSRYF)
BSPYF Expert Session, Paul-Löbe-Haus in Berlin, Photo: Kloth / Rulevska / Roletschek

The BSPC Annual Conference

All participants of the BSPYF were invited to actively participate in the Annual BSPC Conference, which took place from August 28 to 29, 2023, at the German Bundestag. The conference was inaugurated by the President of the German Bundestag, Bärbel Bas. Two youth representatives were democratically elected to present the recommendations in a panel discussion on the topic of Democratic and Digital Resilience. The two BSPYF youth representatives were Silva Laure from Latvia, a member of the Committee of Youth Representatives in the Baltic Sea Region Youth Forum (BSRYF), and Shahin Khosravi from Sweden, a member of the National Youth Council in Sweden. The policy recommendations of the BSPYF 2023 will be included in next year’s BSPC Resolution.

A new BSPC Resolution was adopted, which also incorporates portions of the policy recommendations created by the youth participants of the BSPYF in 2022 in Stockholm. Furthermore, it addresses youth engagement in paragraph 16, where it states:

“Support and perpetuate the now-established involvement of youth in the CBSS work to include the concerns of the young generation in the core concerns of the Baltic Sea region issues.”

Paragraph 16 of the BSPC Conference Resolution, 28th August 2023

In total, the BSPC brought together 70 parliamentarians from nine national parliaments, seven regional parliaments, and three parliamentary organizations, in addition to the 48 youth participants from the BSPYF. Furthermore, the event featured participation from ministers, experts, and specially invited guests from the Baltic Sea Region and beyond, including the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam.

A special reception: President Steinmeier invited to Schloss Bellevue

A special highlight was the dinner reception hosted by the German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Schloss Bellevue.

In his speech, Steinmeier emphasised the importance of collaboration in the Baltic Sea Region:

“For if there is one thing we need in the face of the war in
Ukraine, it is trust-based, honest exchange on an equal footing.
Not only at governmental level, but also between parliaments and
civil societies. […] The Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference is the best proof that we Europeans are strong when we act together.”

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal President of Germany
Dinner Reception hosted by German Federal President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Schloss Bellevue, Photo: Kloth / Rulevska / Roletschek

Background Information: The BSPC

In operation since 1991, the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference (BSPC) serves as a platform for cooperation and political dialogue among parliaments, governments, and civil society in the Baltic Sea Region.

The recent annual conference marked the end of the German BSPC Presidency, led by Johannes Schraps.

During its presidency, the German Bundestag focused on enhancing democratic resilience against adverse influences to better prepare for future threats and address current challenges.

On the last day of the conference, Denmark assumed the BSPC Presidency, now under the leadership of Henrik Møller.

You can find more information about the BSPC here.

Photo Copyright: Kloth / Rulevska / Roletschek

CBSS Youth Contacts

Aline Mayr, Policy Officer for Youth: [email protected] / [email protected]