Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region
The three pillars of cooperation in the Baltic Sea region in which Germany plays an active role are the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the Northern Dimension.
Council of the Baltic Sea States
Germany will hold the Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States for one year from 1 July 2022. The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) was established in 1992 at the initiative of the foreign ministers of Germany and Denmark, in order to stabilise the Baltic Sea region and support its political and economic transformation.
Its membership comprises eight states actually on the Baltic Sea – Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Sweden – as well as Iceland, Norway and the EU. Russia’s membership and Belarus’ observer status were suspended in March 2022 in light of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Russia then announced its withdrawal from the Council on 17 May 2022.
Since its inception, the Council of the Baltic Sea States has developed a broad network of inter‑state cooperation in numerous sectors spanning the Baltic Sea. The CBSS has three long‑term priorities:
- fostering regional identity
- developing a sustainable and prosperous region
- creating a safe and secure region
The CBSS Secretariat is based in Stockholm. The Council presidency rotates annually. Germany will hold the presidency from July 2022 to June 2023.
Further information about the Council of the Baltic Sea States and its activities can be found at www.cbss.org
EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region
The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) was launched in 2009 as a pilot project for a new form of cross‑border regional cooperation within the EU. It is now one of four macroregional strategies. Its remit is regional strategic planning for the Baltic Sea states, coordinated through the EU. Overall direction is supplied by the Council of the European Union; the Strategy and its Action Plan are evaluated every two years. The Action Plan on implementation places a strategic focus on three objectives:
- saving the sea
- connecting the region
- increasing prosperity
As part of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, an annual forum is held to provide a platform for exchange for the stakeholders involved in implementing the Strategy.
On 10 March 2022, the national coordinators of the EUSBSR published a joint declaration announcing their decision to suspend its cooperation with Russia and Belarus in light of the Russian attack on Ukraine.
Further information about the Strategy, its implementation and the annual forums can be found at www.balticsea-region-strategy.eu
The Northern Dimension (ND) is a joint regional policy of four partners: the EU, Iceland, Norway and Russia. It provides a joint framework for dialogue and cooperation with a view to fostering integration, competitiveness and sustainable development. The Northern Dimension covers a broad geographical area in northern Europe, including the far north, the Barents Sea region, the Baltic Sea region and north‑western Russia.
The Northern Dimension is based on four partnerships: the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP), the Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics (NDPTL), the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well‑being (NDPHS) and the Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture (NDPC). Other thematic focuses are “youth in the region” and “combating climate change”.
The science and business communities are involved in the work of the Northern Dimension through the Northern Dimension Institute (NDI) and the Northern Dimension Business Council (NDBC).
On 8 March 2022, the EU, Norway and Iceland published a joint declaration announcing their decision to suspend its cooperation with Russia on the Northern Dimension in light of the Russian attack on Ukraine. The observer status of Belarus was suspended.
Further information is available at www.northerndimension.info