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Tue, 02 Jul, 2013 12:00:07 AM
Finland takes over CBSS presidency
FTimes Report, July 2
File picture : Representatives from the member states in the Baltic Sea States summit in Kaliningrad on June 6, 2013. Photo AFP-Lehtikuva
Finland has taken over the presidency of Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) to enhance cooperation among the people under the regional grouping, an official release said Monday.  

During the one-year term (2013-2014), the CBSS presidency will try to ensure maritime policy, civil security and enhance people to people contact to boost cooperation in the region on priority basis, the government said.  

With a theme of “Clean, Safe and Intelligent Baltic Sea,” the new presidency has prioritized cooperation on maritime policy, particularly ensure clean navigation and use of alternative fuels to keep the Baltic Sea free from pollution.

Finland's Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja attends a press-conference at the Baltic Sea States summit in Kaliningrad on June 6, 2013.Photo AFP-Lehtikuva
The civil security through strengthening cooperation among the member states to ensure effective safety measures by preventing nuclear radiation and accidental risks at sea came as second on the priority list followed by cooperation among the residents of the region though talks among the nations  highlighting the role of civil society and youth.

Finland will also lead the CBSS Committee of Senior Officials, which is the Council's decision-making body, as well as a number of sector-specific expert groups, according to the release.

Finnish foreign ministry will carry out the leadership of the presidency.

Parliamentarians, cities and provincial federations in the Baltic Sea region expected to play important roles in the cooperation process. The CBSS plays role as a high-level policy forum where governments can discuss regional issues.

The Conference of Foreign Ministers and the Baltic Sea Summit convene in alternate years. The previous conference of Foreign Ministers was held on 5-6 June 2013 in Kaliningrad, at the end of the Russian Presidency.

Finland, in turn, will host the Baltic Sea Summit at Prime Minister level in Turku in early June of 2014.

The year-long Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States rotates amongst the Council's eleven member countries. The Council was established in 1992. All of the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries, Poland, Germany, Russia and the European Union take part in its work. The permanent Secretariat of the CBSS is located in Stockholm, Sweden. After Finland, the Presidency will be taken over by Estonia.
 
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