The highest Executive Committee of the BSPC, led by the new President of the BSPC, the President of the Hamburg Parliament, Carola Veit, held its first meeting under the new Presidency on the premises of the Hamburg Parliament, the so-called Bürgerschaft, on 15 November. Delegations from Åland-Islands, the Baltic Assembly, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, the German Bundestag, Hamburg, Latvia, Lithuania, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the Nordic Council, Norway, the Russian Federation, Schleswig-Holstein and Sweden participated in the meeting.
Implementation of resolutions
The main focus was put on the follow-up of the resolution of the 25th annual conference, which took place in Riga from 28 – 30 August 2016, and the reports of the national and regional governments about the implementation of the 24th BSPC resolution on the basis of political analyses.
Furthermore, an intensive discussion was held about the integration of young people into decision-making processes. Representatives of several parliaments and parliamentary organisations informed about a number of youth projects and their ways of involving young people in politics and democratic decision-making processes. The Standing Committee intends to continue the dialogue between young people and Members of Parliament. As already during the preparation of the 24th BSPC the BSPC parliaments and parliamentary organisations will send young people to a Baltic Sea Youth Parliamentary Forum, which will take place on 13-15 March 2017 in Kiel, Schleswig Holstein. There, the young people will discuss sustainable tourism with the members of the BSPC Working Group, they will develop proposals for the next BSPC resolution and present them at the BSPC in Hamburg on 3 – 5 September 2017, referring the United Nations’ Year of Sustainable Tourism Development.
Science, research and the Baltic science network
With regard to the other priority of the Hamburg BSPC Presidency ‘Science and Research’ the 2nd Mayor and Minister (Senator) of Science, Research and Equalities of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg addressed the SC members. Ms Fegebank provided information about the latest developments in the Baltic Science Network, the leading transnational forum for higher education, science and research cooperation in the Baltic Sea region. The network serves as a platform for targeted multi-lateral activities concerning research and innovation excellence, mobility of scientists and increased participation. In order to intensify and expand the collaboration of universities and research institutions in the Baltic Sea Region in 2014 the Hamburg Senate resolved the “Hamburg Baltic Sea Strategy for science and research” on the basis of an education and research conference. In the meantime Denmark, Estonia, Finland, several German federal states, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and Russia as well as all important Baltic Sea regional institutions are involved. In the discussion the Standing Committee emphasized a strong interest in intensifying the scientific collaboration in the Baltic Sea Region, qualitatively as well as quantitatively, and in supporting the Baltic Sea Science Network as an important tool to enhance macro-regional dimension in science and research policy, from which the higher education research institutions should benefit.
Discussion about Belarus
The Standing Committee members decided to continue their discussions about the further procedure for the BSPC’s engagement with Belarus at their next meeting on 23 January 2017, which will take place back-to-back with the next meeting of the Working Group on Sustainable Tourism in Brussels on 24 January 2017.