The Estonian Presidency of The Council of The Baltic Sea States 2014-2015:
Practicality, Efficiency And Cooperation
- The Estonian Presidency placed a focus on the practical implementation of the new guiding documents approved at the culmination of the Finnish Presidency – Decision by the Council of the Baltic Sea States on a review of the CBSS long term priorities & Declaration of the Council of the Baltic Sea States on the implementation of the Vilnius Declaration – A Vision for the Baltic Sea Region by 2020.
- Continued to ensure the work of the Council is efficient, impact-driven and result-based.
- Proceeded with the Project Support Facility (PSF) commitments (2013-15). The Estonian Presidency focued on the realisation of already adopted projects and outcomes.
- Worked towards more coherence within the framework of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region – Estonia lead the Strategy’s National Contact Point (NCP) Network during the second half of 2014.
- Strived for a better division of labour and enhanced cooperation between the different Baltic Sea regional structures. The parallel Estonian chairmanships of HELCOM and VASAB, as well as the activities in the framework of the Year of the Gulf of Finland 2014, contributed to the strengthening of overall coherence.
- Contributed to the regular meetings between the Arctic Council, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, the Council of the Baltic Sea States and the Nordic Council of Ministers, which built on the already existing fruitful work of all four cooperation formats.
- Calibrated and streamlined the CBSS Secretariat’s work in connection to the three new long term priorities, in relation to the current division of labour and cooperation between the different regional cooperation formats.
The Estonian Presidency:
Working on the basis of the new CBSS long-term priorities
- Continued cooperation with non-governmental initiatives, networks and organisations in the Baltic Sea region, including the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, the Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation and the Baltic Sea NGO Forum 2015.
- Concluding the review of the EuroFaculty concept and preparing decisions about future work in the field of higher education.
- Further strengthened of the Balticlab initiative in the third year of programming to encourage entrepreneurial and creative industry collaborations, through mentoring and sponsoring talent, which increases regional future-thinking, innovation and prosperity.
- Raised awareness and visibility about Baltic Sea cooperation, including supporting the Night of the Ancient Lights on August 30, 2014.
Sustainable & Prosperous Region
- Enhanced Baltic Sea maritime spatial planning, with a special focus on the VASAB Ministerial Conference in September 2014, Tallinn.
- Prepared for the CBSS Energy Ministers’ Session 2015 in cooperation with BASREC.
- Cooperated with HELCOM to fulfil the resolutions adopted at its 2013 Copenhagen Ministers’ meeting. Enhanced joint meetings of the working groups and other forms of cooperation.
- Completed the evaluation process of the CBSS Expert Group on Sustainable Development – Baltic 21.
- Evaluated the work of the CBSS Expert Group on Maritime Policy, as well as the progress of the Baltic Sea Maritime Dialogue.
- Proceeded with activities related to the Climate Change Adaption Strategy for the Baltic Sea region.
- Implementation of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference resolution on Green Growth and Energy Efficiency.
Safe & Secure Region
- Paid special attention to the CBSS Expert Group on Cooperation for Children at Risk´s work on matters related to alternative care and children’s rights, the handling of cross-national child protection cases and child-friendly justice standards.
The High Level expert meeting for Children’s Issues took place in Estonia in May 2015.
- Focused on the CBSS Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings´ recommendations and guidelines to counter labour exploitation, and stressed self-regulation of private sector actors.
- Enhanced cooperation in the field of civil protection, paying particular attention to the prevention of fire accidents and macro-regional best practice. The Heads of Services met in Estonia in the spring 2015.
- Developed further cooperation mechanisms between authorities dealing with maritime and border security in the region. The Heads of the Border Services met in the autumn 2014, and in addition, a new Annual Threat Assessment was compiled and a Maritime Security Exercise organised. Enhancing the work of the Baltic Sea Region Border Control Cooperation in conjunction with other partners, including FRONTEX as a key player, was another focus.
- Started the implementation of the decisions of the 16th Conference of the Prosecutors General of the Baltic Sea States
- Establishment of a Strategy for the Baltic Sea Task Force in the fight against organised crime for the next mandate.