Denmark took over the Presidency from Latvia on July 1st 2019. Together with Germany, Denmark founded the CBSS in 1992, and the third Danish Presidency was devoted to concluding the reform process of the Council and the Secretariat initiated in 2018. The overriding priority of the Danish Presidency was therefore to ensure the implementation of the CBSS Reform Roadmap, in order to bring more focus and flexibility in the work of the CBSS, improve cooperation with other international fora and formats active in the region, and enable concrete results in areas in which the CBSS in uniquely suited to add value.
- All CBSS Foreign Ministers met to discuss regional issues and adopt the Bornholm Declaration and revised terms of reference for the Council and the Secretariat
- Orientations for the CBSS role and engagement within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the Northern Dimension
- Operational Guidelines for CBSS Practical Cooperation
- Guidelines for CBSS Fundraising
- Renewed mandate and new regional strategy for the Expert Group on Children at Risk 2020-2025
- New terms of reference and strategy for the Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings 2020-2025
- Appointment of a new Director General for the CBSS Secretariat
- New premises for the CBSS Secretariat in Stockholm
“I am proud that Denmark presides over the Council of the Baltic Sea States. Denmark, together with Germany, was the initiator of the organisation, and we feel a special responsibility to show the value of the CBSS as a regional dialogue forum. Our first priority will therefore be to ensure that the organisation is best equipped to promote dialogue and cohesion throughout the Baltic Sea Region. ”Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod
Read and listen to what Foreign Minister Kofod said to TV2 Bornholm about the Danish chairmanship of the CBSS.
On 19 May 2020, all 11 Foreign Ministers of the Council and the Secretary General of the European External Action Service gathered online to conclude the CBSS reform and exchange views on some topical issues for the region. They adopted revised Terms of Reference of the CBSS and of the CBSS Secretariat and discussed the COVID-19 outbreak in a regional context, environment and climate-related challenges, engagement of young people and the fight against cross border organised crime. The meeting was originally scheduled to take place on Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod’s native island of Bornholm.
Council members highlighted the role of the CBSS as a platform for intergovernmental dialogue and practical cooperation between all countries in the region. They welcomed important ongoing regional initiatives to promote sustainable development, address climate change and protect the marine environment. Green industries and green tourism were identified as offering important opportunities for revitalising Member States’ economies. They also welcomed the establishment of the Baltic Sea Youth Platform and directed CBSS to give increasing emphasis to its work with young people. The fight against cross border organised crime, including human trafficking, and the protection of children were reconfirmed as important areas of regional cooperation.
The Ministerial session concluded with the adoption of the Bornholm Declaration.
Observer State Briefing
The Annual Briefing of the CBSS Observer States took place at the Residence of the Danish Ambassador to Sweden, Vibeke Rovsing Lauritzen, in Stockholm. With almost all Observer State representatives attending, the general briefing was held by Ms.Ida Heimann Larsen, Chair of the CSO. She informed the representatives about the implementation of the CBSS reforms and important events during the Danish Presidency. Director General Maira Mora briefed the Observers about the activities of the CBSS Secretariat, and several Observer States expressed a wish to participate more actively in the work of the CBSS.
Committee of Senior Officials
The Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) focused its work on the implementation of the CBSS reforms. It met five times during the Presidency. Three meetings took place at the Foreign Ministry in Copenhagen, and two were held online.
The Danish Presidency team consisted of Ms. Ida Heimann Larsen, Chair of the CSO, Mr. Anders Henriksson, Danish representative to the CSO and Ms. Camilla Munksgaard. On April 1st, 2020, Ms. Heimann Larsen was replaced by Ambassador Ove Ullerup and Ms. Munksgaard by Ms. Ninna Katrine Holm Sandén.
High-level Labour meeting
A High-Level Meeting of the Council of the Baltic Sea States Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs took place on the 26th of August 2019, during the 28th Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference in Oslo, Norway.The event was a continuation of the successful meeting of Ministers and high-ranking representatives of labour ministries in Berlin in 2017, resulting in the Berlin Declaration. The meeting followed-up on the implementation of the declaration, focusing on the future of work, demographic challenges and sustainable inclusive labour markets in the Baltic Sea region. The representatives contributed to the vision and strategy for the future of working life on national and regional level.
Excellence Programme in Civil Security
The Danish Emergency Management Agency, DEMA chaired the CBSS Civil Protection Network during the Danish Presidency, and the priorities of the presidency included climate change and volunteerism. DEMA hosted a module of the Baltic Excellence Programme (BEP) in Civil Security at its training facility in Tinglev on 18-20 November 2019. 17 participants from 8 countries took part in the course, moderated by the Head of DEMA Division for Municipalities and Citizens, Henrik G. Petersen. The course was densely packed with theory, practice and study visits, all planned to explore different aspects of crisis management in connection with climate change adaptation and engagement with civil society.
Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue 2019
As part of the Körber Foundation’s EUSTORY Next Generation Summit “Winds of Change – Transitions in Europe”, the 2019 Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue (BSYD) took the form of a three-day long creative workshop, in which the international BSYD participants explored the cultural, political and economic development of the Baltic Sea Region since 1989. 20 young adults from the CBSS Member States, as well as the Observer States of Belarus and Ukraine, participated in this year’s dialogue.
Conference on Harmonizing Anti-Trafficking Practices
The final event of the transnational project “Paving the Way for the Harmonized Operational Framework in the Baltic Sea Region (HOF-BSR)” was organised together with the Ministry of the Interior and Administration of Poland in Warsaw, Poland. At the conference, the results of the project were launched in the form of a Transnational Referral Mechanism for the Baltic Sea Region, a Human Trafficking Glossary and Guidelines for Journalists reporting on cases of human trafficking. The event was also an opportunity to share good practices with partners and authorities.
Barnahus Network launch
Barnahus colleagues and stakeholders from all over Europe gathered in Helsinki on the 25th of November 2019 to celebrate the first steps towards a more formal network of Barnahus and similar services in Europe, represented by the signing of the statutes for the PROMISE Barnahus Network. An exhibition showcased strong support for the network in the testimonials of both professionals and children about the impact of Barnahus in their lives. The exhibition enhanced the visibility of individual Barnahus from all around Europe.
Forum Strategov 2019
The CBSS was actively engaged in many parts of the 2019 Forum Strategov in St. Petersburg. The forum is regarded as Russia’s main platform for discussion of methods and tools of strategic planning and attracts a lot of Russian and international participants. CBSS Director General Maira Mora spoke in the opening session. She confirmed the CBSS’ commitment to promoting sustainability and the SDGs in Russia and also outlined the CBSS’ role and engagement in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The Sustainable & Prosperous unit organized, participated in, and moderated several events and panel discussions on the topics of sustainability, circular economy and sustainable urban development. The CBSS also had an active role in the Forum’s Youth Platform.
A Clean and Global North: strengthening regional cooperation in the Arctic and Baltic Sea regions
In November 2019, the Finnish Presidency of the EU Council organised a high-level event on how to strengthen sustainable international cooperation in Europe’s northern regions. Together with the EU Commission and the European External Action Service, the CBSS contributed to the event. Many high-level Baltic Sea Region officials and CBSS Council members spoke at the event, including then Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne, Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland and Gudlaugur Thór Thordarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland.