The Estonian presidency of the Council of Baltic Sea States drew to a close

On June 30, the Estonian presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) came to an end. Formed in 1992, the Council of the Baltic Sea States includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and the European Union.

The main objective of Estonia’s presidency of the CBSS was to make its work more practical and efficient, as well as to promote cooperation with other Baltic Sea regional cooperative organizations and networks.

The CBSS reorganized its work based on new longterm priorities adopted by the organisation shortly before Estonia’s presidency; the priorities being regional identity, sustainable and prosperous region, safe and secure region. During Estonia’s Presidency several roundtables took place, where the work of the longterm priority fields was discussed with cooperative partners.

During the Estonian Presidency, the primary focus was on cooperation between experts and specialists. The work of the Expert Group on Maritime Policy was extended for 3 more years. The Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue and CBSS Summer University were also established. The Baltic Sea region’s climate dialogue was launched, which deals with topics of climate change. In autumn of 2014, the 8th VASAB conference of ministers responsible for the Baltic Sea region’s spatial planning was held in Tallinn. In the spring of 2015, CBSS contributed to the work of AgroForum in Tartu for the first time. The CBSS Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings worked out recommendations and guidelines to counter labour exploitation. In addition, recommendations and Action Plan for 2015-2020 on Alternative Care and family in the Baltic Sea region’s countries were adopted during the Estonian Presidency.

Estonia held a total of 5 CBSS Committee of Senior Officials meetings. The Presidency was concluded with a meeting of the regional directors of Foreign Ministries of CBSS members.

During the Presidency, the distribution of funds for various regional cooperation projects was continued within the framework of the Baltic Sea States 2013-2015 Project Support facility. By the end of the Presidency, the number of supported projects reached 18 and more than 100 partners from CBSS member states are taking part in the projects.

As of July 1, Poland took over the CBSS Presidency for the following year.