Norway takes over presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States

Starting on 1 July, Norway will lead the cooperation in the Council of the Baltic Sea States. During its presidency, Norway will give priority to cooperation on the green transition in industry and transport, civil protection, increasing the involvement of civil society and young people, combating human trafficking and organised crime, and the protection of children and young people at risk.    

The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) was established in 1992 as the first in a series of new regional cooperation platforms that emerged following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Council provides a forum for political dialogue and practical cooperation between the 11 members countries and the European Union.    

‘Norway is taking over the presidency at a complex time marked by challenges that have long affected the security policy situation, and we have seen violations of international law taking place in our neighbouring areas. On the other hand, the Covid-19 pandemic and the well-established cooperation within the framework of the Council have shown that this forum has an important role to play in further developing the collaboration and contacts needed,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

The Norwegian presidency will be based on the three CBSS long-term priorities: Regional Identity, Safe & Secure Region, and Sustainable & Prosperous Region. At the Ministerial Meeting on 1 June 2021, the CBSS adopted a renewed strategic vision for the Baltic Sea Region cooperation towards 2030. This will serve as a guide for the efforts to continue to build collaboration into the next decade.      

During its presidency, Norway will focus in particular on cooperation on the green transition, innovation and best practice in industry and transport, and on promoting clean energy and the circular economy. Norway will also seek to increase the involvement of young people, as well as cooperation with civil society and city and subregional authorities across the region. The CBSS has achieved widespread success with its mandates on civil protection, children at risk and trafficking in human beings. These efforts will be continued under Norway’s chairmanship of relevant expert groups, with a greater focus on organised crime and cybercrime.

‘We are looking forward to leading the cooperation in the coming year. The ambitious plans of the member countries for recovery and their targeted focus on the green transition and digitalisation are a clear indication that the Baltic Region is well equipped to deal with a wide range of challenges,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

Facts about the Council of the Baltic Sea States  

The Council of the Baltic Sea States was established in 1992 on the basis of an initiative from Denmark and Germany. The presidency rotates between the member states on an annual basis. The CBSS will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2022. Although Norway and Iceland do not border on the Baltic Sea, both countries have been members of the Council from the start, together with the other Nordic and Baltic countries, Germany, Poland and Russia. The EU is also represented through the European Commission.

The CBSS is part of a comprehensive network for cooperation in Northern Europe. Norway takes part in this through, among others, the Nordic Council of Ministers; the Barents Euro-Arctic Council; the Arctic Council; the Northern Dimension between the EU, Russia, Norway and Iceland, and its four partnerships (environmental, public health and well-being, culture, and transport and logistics), the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) and Interreg.

For more information about the Council of the Baltic Sea States and the Norwegian presidency, see www.cbss.org