Unity and cooperation among regions are vital to building growth and fostering reconciliation in the Black Sea basin, says the CPMR Balkan and Black Sea Commission (BBSC).
At its General Assembly on 30-31 May, hosted at the Istanbul headquarters of the Permanent International Secretariat of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation (BSEC), Commission members discussed the Commission’s objectives and priorities for the development of the wider Balkan and Black Sea area.
The assembly was chaired by Christiana Kalogirou, North Aegean Governor, with the participation of Ambassador Michael B. Christides, Secretary General of the BSEC Permanent International Secretariat.
Addressing members, Governor Kalogirou said: “Our objective is to encourage dialogue and cooperation and support the relations between EU and non EU Regions in the wider Black Sea region. We can use the expertise of CPMR to stimulate collaboration, promote best practice and prepare regions to adapt to the new era.”
Key areas of discussion included strengthening interregional cooperation, recognising the importance of a common maritime agenda and blue growth, and developing joint projects in sectors such as transport, tourism, the environment and economic development.
Members adopted a work programme in line with international policies and programs on South-East Europe, including Black Sea Synergy, Eastern partnership, Adriatic-Ionian and Danube strategies.
The event also allowed the Commmission and the BSEC to continue to progress their plans for future partnership, which should result in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
Speaking to members, Ambassador Christides, said: “We have great expectations of this cooperation because we very well know that the CPMR has concrete experience in participating in and implementing projects. We will work together to improve this region for our citizens.”
During the meeting, the Commission heard from representatives of cross-border cooperation programs, economic sector organisations and civil society, including the European Commission, Council of Europe and the European Investment Bank.
Both the CPMR and the BSEC attended the Third Black Sea Stakeholder conference in Odessa, Ukraine on 14 June. In their interventions at the meeting, they outlined how they wish to take an active role in the further steps of the process towards a common maritime agenda in the Black Sea.