Security and climate in the BSR discussed at CBSS’ 20th Ministerial Session
The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) met for its 20th session in Wismar a little over a week ago at the invitation of German Minister of Foreign Affairs. The resulting declaration summed up the main discussion points, some of which were of particular importance for the maritime sector in the Baltic Sea region (BSR).
Also present were Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden. It will not come as a surprise that the first points of the aforementioned declaration focused on the current volatile geopolitical situation in the BSR, a direct result of the war in Ukraine. “The Council condemned that Russia, with its unprovoked, unjustifiable and illegal war of aggression against democratic and sovereign Ukraine, continues to flagrantly violate international law, including the UN Charter, and consequently the very foundation of the rules-based international order”, reads the document.
The Council has expressed its continued solidarity with Ukraine, currently an observer state of the CBSS, and its willingness to engage with the international community for future support in developing a comprehensive compensation mechanism. Members of the Council also reiterated their commitment to aiding Ukraine via military, humanitarian, legal and financial means. The declaration included deep concern over the security of the BSR, related to the “aggressive, provocative and unjustified operations of Russia’s Baltic Fleet and Air Forces”. In this context, it is paramount to remember the strategic importance of sea ports, as a prolonged conflict in Ukraine will without a doubt impact their development.
The Baltic Ports Organization (BPO) welcomes the Council underlining the need for efforts focused on further strengthening the resilience and protection of the shared critical infrastructure in the BSR and ensuring energy security and security of supply, in which ports play a key role. This vital function became even more apparent last year, with major shifts in the energy supply chains, as countries had to look for other ways to account for their energy needs. Imports of oil, coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from countries such as the US, Australia, Indonesia and South Africa rose as part of the effort to minimize the reliance on Russian supply.
Energy security and the reduction of Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels go hand-in-hand with the push to combat climate change. The declaration mentioned Europe’s goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, one supported by the BPO, especially given the great potential for renewable energy in the BSR and the pace at which members of the region’s maritime community continue to implement climate-related initiatives.
The BPO would like to express its willingness to work together with the CBSS and support the Council’s undertakings by either facilitating direct dialogue with its Members or sharing the vast amount of knowledge and experience gathered by them over the years.
The full contents of the declaration issues by the CBSS can be viewed here.
The Council of the Baltic Sea States is an intergovernmental organisation guided by its 10 Member States and the European Union.
The highest decision-making body of the CBSS, the Council, consists of the 10 Foreign Ministers of the CBSS Member States, plus a High-level Representative of the European Union. The Member States of the CBSS are: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden*. The European Union is also a member of the CBSS. The Foreign Minister chairing the Council, is the main speaker for the organisation. The Chairmanship, or Presidency, of the Council rotates between the Member States on an annual basis. The Council usually meets once per year.