The Council of the Baltic Sea States is an intergovernmental organisation guided by its 10 Member States and the European Union.

The CBSS encompasses all multilateral intergovernmental regional cooperation in areas agreed on by its Members. It provides a forum for political dialogue and partnership, working through various committees, expert groups, and networks to implement joint initiatives and projects that contribute to regional development and collaboration. It also fosters practical cooperation in the region and acts as a focal point of information and coordination.

In light of political changes in Europe,
the dream was to create a forum, which
could serve as a driving force behind
political and economic stabilisation and
cooperation in the new Baltic Sea region.

— Former foreign affairs ministers Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
(Denmark, left) and Hans-Dietrich Genscher (Germany),
considered to be the founding fathers of the CBSS


The highest decision-making body of the CBSS, the Council, consists of the 10 Foreign Ministers of the CBSS Member States, plus a High-level Representative of the European Union. The Member States of the CBSS are: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden. The European Union is also a member of the CBSS. The Foreign Minister chairing the Council, is the main speaker for the organisation. The Chairmanship, or Presidency, of the Council rotates between the Member States on an annual basis. The Council usually meets once per year.

Committee of Senior Officials

The day-to-day decision-making of the CBSS is led by the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO). The CSO consists of representatives from the Foreign Ministries of the CBSS Member States. The Member State that holds the Presidency of the CBSS is also chairing the CSO, and is the one calling for CSO meetings to discuss the work of the organisation. Find the list of our Committee Members here.

The CBSS Committee of Senior Officials in Stockholm, Sweden, 15-16 November 2023.


The decisions taken by the Council and the CSO are put into practice by the CBSS Secretariat in Stockholm, Sweden. The Secretariat of about 30 employees is led by the Director General, who coordinates with the annual Presidency and the CSO.

Observer States

The CBSS has designated ten countries with Observer Status. These are France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Observer States are encouraged to actively participate in the work of CBSS structures and working bodies as appropriate, on an ad-hoc basis and according to their expressed interests. Each Presidency of the CBSS holds an annual Observer State consultation, during which the Observers receive an update on current CBSS activities, and are invited to join where appropriate.