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Germany at the head of the Council of the Baltic Sea States for one year

wind park in the sea

Wind park “Viking” in the Baltic Sea, © ©picture alliance / Jens Koehler

01.07.2022 - Article

On 1 July, Germany assumed the Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States for one year. Cooperation between the Baltic Sea countries has gained additional importance in view of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

For the next 12 months, Germany will hold the Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS). The Council of the Baltic Sea States is an intergovernmental organisation comprising 10 Member States and the European Union.

Logo of the German Presidency of the council of the Baltic Sea States 2022 - 2023
Logo of the German Presidency of the council of the Baltic Sea States 2022 - 2023© council of the baltic sea states

Clear condemnation of Russia’s war in Ukraine

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is a watershed moment also for the Council of the Baltic Sea States. A few days after the start of the war, the other 11 members decided to suspend Russia’s membership of the Council. As a result, Russia announced its withdrawal from the Council in May. The remaining Member States Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the European Union agreed at their meeting at foreign minister level in Kristiansand, Norway, on 25 May to continue to use the CBSS as a forum to promote cohesion and cooperation in the region.

Germany is committed to expanding wind energy in the Baltic Sea region

At the Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Kristiansand at the end of May, Foreign Minister Baerbock presented the priorities of Germany’s Presidency, which include promoting offshore wind energy, intensifying youth exchanges and clearing munitions dumped in the Baltic Sea. She underscored the importance of the expansion of renewable energies for Europe’s security: “Phasing out fossil energy is a necessity in terms not only of climate policy, but also security policy.”

Baltic Sea Council in Kristiansand: Annalena Baerbock with her norwegian colleague Annikan Huitfeld and her lithuanian colleague Gabrielius Landsbergis
Baltic Sea Council in Kristiansand: Annalena Baerbock with her norwegian colleague Annikan Huitfeld and her lithuanian colleague Gabrielius Landsbergis© ©picture alliance / photothek

Promoting offshore wind energy in the Baltic Sea

The members of the Council of the Baltic Sea States share the goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050 at the latest. The Baltic Sea region offers great potential for generating renewable energy, especially through offshore wind turbines. In close cooperation with the energy ministers, we would like to reach agreement on an exchange with the members of the Council of the Baltic Sea States on the implementation of our ambitious offshore goals and initiate concrete forms of cooperation.

Munitions dumped in the Baltic Sea

The hazards posed by munitions dumped in the Baltic Sea have recently been brought to the fore. The seabed is littered with up to 400,000 tonnes of conventional explosives and around 40,000 tonnes of chemical weapons. That is roughly equivalent to the total load of 11,000 articulated lorries and poses a deadly threat to the environment and marine life. Germany would like to use the Council of the Baltic Sea States as a platform to create a common understanding of the impacts and challenges associated with munitions dumped in the sea. Under Germany’s Presidency, regional cooperation is to be further developed as regards this important issue.

Exchanges and meetings between young people

Many of the issues addressed in the framework of Baltic Sea cooperation impact young people. Therefore, during its Presidency, Germany is committed to strengthening and expanding personal encounters between young people from various countries in the Baltic Sea region. Germany intends to give young people a voice when it comes to finding responses to the challenges facing the region. This is a cross-cutting issue for the entire work of the CBSS and also a focus of Germany’s Presidency against the backdrop of the ongoing European Year of Youth.

Other focuses of Germany’s one-year Presidency

In addition, Germany will also lend its strong support to the work of the CBSS in the organisation’s three priority areas – Regional Identity, Safe & Secure Region and Sustainable & Prosperous Region. The work programme for Germany’s Presidency is available here. Foreign Minister Baerbock will invite her counterparts to the CBSS meeting in Germany in spring 2023.

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