A meeting of Foreign Ministers and other representatives of the countries around the Baltic Sea littoral met in Jūrmala, Latvia June 3 for the concluding meeting of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) before it is passed on to Denmark on the 1st of July.
After what were described as “fruitful discussions” by organizers, two documents named the Jūrmala Declaration and Roadmap were adopted, marking the way forward for reform of the CBSS during the Danish presidency in 2020.
The Jūrmala Declaration is a one-page statement that essentially just has all participants agreeing that the organization of which they form a part is worthwhile or, to put it in diplomatic-speak “a platform uniquely suited to add value to the development of the Baltic Sea Region.”
The Roadmap is slightly more substantial, referring back to a Stockholm Declaration at the end of the Swedish presidency a year ago. Despite the talking-up of the CBSS as an organization noted above, in the roadmap the ministers free themselves from having to meet at set intervals and instead declare that “the frequency of Summits will vary over time. The Summits should take place when the Member States consider such political discussions opportune.”
At the same time as cutting itself some slack regarding when to meet however, the CBSS says “the Secretariat and rotating presidencies should seek to develop a regular structured dialogue in the context of existing cooperation formats with other relevant organisations”.
A third objective is rich in diplo-speak with talk of “wide outreach and a unique network of stakeholders and non-government actors” and suggests “vertically integrated practical cooperation should be the model for the activities undertaken by the CBSS. Sectoral cooperation and dialogue within the CBSS as well as with other actors in the region remains important but should be carried out in a more objective-driven and results-oriented manner to produce concrete results of interest and use to the Member States and to avoid unproductive overlapping with policy discussions taking place in other fora.”
Buried among all that is also a suggestion that the CBSS might be able to attract more money for its activities from external sources: “principles and guidelines for fundraising from external sources should be explored.”