Jörgen Pettersson, President of the BSPC, reminded that Helsinki was the place, where the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference started 1991 from an initiative by the speaker of the Finnish parliament, Mr. Kalevi Sorsa.
Furthermore, he emphasised:
”Presently, both the President of the Nordic Council, Britt Lundberg and I, come from Åland. There is a reason to that – the parliamentarians from the Åland Islands are particularly aware of the need for and committed to international parliamentary cooperation because of our history.
Our homeland, the Åland Islands, is a great and real example of Crisis Management. Thanks to international agreements nearly a hundred years ago, we today have a neutralised and demilitarised and internationally guaranteed autonomy in the Baltic Sea; Åland is “the islands of peace”.
At this year’s BSPC-Conference in Hamburg a number of different topics were discussed:
The issues of Migration and Integration pose a tremendous challenge to all countries in the Baltic Sea Region as well as a great chance for their further development. This call for intensive dialogue as well as close cooperation and also coordinated policies between the Baltic Sea States. Therefore, we have established a new working group that will analyse and discuss Migration and Integration under the leadership of speaker Carola Veit from Hamburg and our Nordic friend Hans Wallmark, Sweden.
We also call for action in the field of Sustainable Tourism which is a priority topic of the Nordic Council. Especially in the year 2017, as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, it is important to foster the awareness of sustainable tourism in the whole region.
The priority issues for the BSPC during the Åland Islands’ presidency in 2017 – 2018 are: Sustainable societies in the Baltic Sea region based on democratic values, human rights and equal opportunities for all Cooperation and integration for a secure and prosperous Baltic Sea area and Migration and integration, finding solutions based on mutual information and best practices. Welcome all to Åland and the conference next August! We promise inspiring, wise and doable ideas that will do the Baltic Sea a safer, healthier and more prosperous place for us all.”
BSPC President Pettersson also had bilateral talks to the former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari and the Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä on the upcoming 27th annual conference of the BSPC 26-28 August 2018 in Mariehamn.