The objective of the Balkan and Black Sea Commission is to encourage dialogue and cooperation between sub-state spheres of government in the wider Balkan and Black Sea area.
It constitutes a lasting institutional framework to support the integration of these areas and improve their relations with the EU in the context of enlargement. It contributes towards peace and stability in the area, promotes regionalisation and encourages the application of the principles of subsidiary and complementarity between the local, regional, national and European Institutional levels.
It also acts as a bridge between programmes and strategies implemented by the EU and activities developed by other networks and institutions in the region, like the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).
It is project-oriented, encouraging and helping the member regions to implement transnational cooperation projects, with the support of dedicated and focussed working groups, and – when relevant – of EU funding. The BBSC is significant arena for actions conducive of exchanges of good practices. The exchange of views and good practices provide members with fruitful outcomes thanks to the various political and technical meetings, set up within the organisation, which can largely enrich member’s regional strategies.
The EU Cohesion Policy for 2014-2020 includes a number of territorial cooperation programmes which are of relevance to regions located on the Balkans and Black Sea. These include for instance Black Sea Basin ENI CBC 2014-2020 and the Transnational Cooperation Programmes of the period 2014-2020: Balkan-Mediterranean, Danube, and Adriatic-Ionian.
A Pioneering Partnership
Greek and Romanian regions were behind the initiative to set up Geographical Commissions in the Balkans and the Black Sea area under the umbrella of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR). The two Commissions were set up in April 2000 and June 2001 respectively. In 2004, they decided to come together to join forces.
The CPMR Balkan and Black Sea Commission (BBSC) currently brings together 22 Regions from Greece, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Albania, and Republic of Moldova. It represents a useful tool and way to address specific issues that are common to the members of the geographical area which are then voiced at the highest European level.
Main Objectives : Cooperation and Stability
The objective of the Balkan and Black Sea Commission is to encourage dialogue and cooperation between sub-state spheres of government. The aim is to constitute a lasting institutional framework to support the integration in the EU in the context of enlargement and – beyond – contribute to efficient and peaceful neighbourhood relationships.
Strengthening interregional cooperation and developing joint projects in sectors such as tourism, Integrated Maritime Policy, transport and accessibility, and environment are ways of helping to establish peace and stability in this part of the world.
The territorial cooperation objective, which is part of cohesion policy, together with the cross-border strand of the neighbourhood policy, should prove to be suitable instruments to help these projects take form. Other EU instruments may contribute to these processes: Connecting Europe Facility, Erasmus +, maritime fund…
The aim of the CPMR Balkan and Black Sea Commission (BBSC), as stated in its Rules of Procedure (view), is to act as the political voice of the CPMR Regions situated in the wider Balkan and Black Sea area with the following principal objectives:
- Enhancement of dialogue and cooperation between all regional authorities of the wider Balkan and Black Sea area and further cooperation between its members
- Promotion of integration or close cooperation of the Balkan and Black Sea regions with the European Union
- Identification, promotion and participation in cooperation programmes that boost the achievement or pursuit of its objectives
- Participation via consultations and proposals to inter-state structures of the wider Balkan and Black Sea area.
The President of this Commission is Ms Christiana Kalogirou, Governor of North Aegean Region, Greece. She is assisted by the CPMR General Secretariat based in Rennes. The headquarters of the Commission are located in Kavala, Greece.