30 June 2019 will see the conclusion of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), an organisation for regional cooperation, the coordination and management of which was handled by Latvia since 1 July 2018. Cooperation in the Baltic Sea region is a high priority in Latvia’s foreign policy and, in its framework, the CBSS performs the vital function of an intergovernmental cooperation instrument. The CBSS Presidency gave Latvia an opportunity to oversee and guide intergovernmental cooperation in the Baltic Sea region, to set vectors for practical cooperation in the region, and facilitate pursuit of common interests and objectives.
In its capacity of the CBSS Presidency in 2018-2019, Latvia focused on the implementation of practical projects of regional importance in the areas that Latvia had set as its priorities: 1) integrity and societal security in the region; 2) sustainable development, spatial development, climate change; 3) cultural heritage.
The coordinating role of the Latvian CBSS Presidency was assumed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which chaired six meetings of the Committee of Senior Officials comprised of representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the CBSS member states. During the presidency year, officials from line ministries and their subordinate institutions in Latvia organised and chaired meetings of the CBSS task forces and expert groups.
At the same time, Latvia also presided over the formats important for regional development, such as the Baltic Region Heritage Committee, the Committee on Spatial Planning and Development of the Baltic Sea Region, the VASAB – Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea intergovernmental cooperation, and the Baltic Sea Trade Union Network (BASTUN).
The concluding meeting of the Latvian CBSS Presidency took place in Jūrmala on 3 June this year, chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Foreign Ministers and high-level representatives from CBSS member states adopted two documents produced under the leadership of the Latvian Presidency: the Jūrmala Declaration and the Roadmap of the CBSS Reforms for 2018–2020. The implementation of the Roadmap of the CBSS Reforms is to be completed over the next period of CBSS presidency, that of Denmark, from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its gratitude to the line ministries and their subordinate institutions, the CBSS Secretariat in Stockholm and other partners for excellent cooperation and their highly professional contribution to the successful implementation of CBSS priorities and activities.
For further information on the events and activities that have taken place during the Latvian CBSS Presidency, see: https://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/policy/latvian-presidency-of-the-council-of-the-baltic-sea-states/news-cbss
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