The 32nd Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference in Berlin was an outstanding success. With the unanimous adoption of the resolution on ‘Boosting Democratic, Digital and Maritime Resilience Based on Reliable Neighbourliness and Close Cooperation’ the annual conference in the German Bundestag was successfully concluded.
On the second day, the conference conducted an in-depth investigation into the impact of climate change, particularly on biodiversity, and what measures were taken and should be taken. The final report of the just concluded BSPC Working Group on Climate Change and Biodiversity was presented. In a lively and open general debate, many viewpoints and ideas were shared, before the BSPC Rapporteurs on Migration and Integration as well as on Sea-Dumped Ammunitions gave their annual updates.
Finally, the BSPC-Presidency was transferred from the German Bundestag to the Danish Folketinget.
Panel discussion: Strengthening the resilience of climate and biodiversity
Chaired by Mr Jarosław Wałęsa and Ms Lene Westgaard-Halle, the session was concerned with presenting the work of the BSPC in the past years. As the previous day had shown the frightening speed of climate change, Mr Wałęsa it was up to the parliamentarians to present ambitious targets and look for solutions.
Presentation of the Final Report of the Working Group on Climate Change and Biodiversity by Chairman Philipp da Cunha
Mr Philipp da Cunha explained that the report summarised three years of intensive parliamentary work and issues that would be defining challenges of the 21st century. July 2023 had been the hottest on record, sea ice had been at a historic low, and global ocean surface temperatures had reached record highs. In the Baltic Sea, the rise of air temperature had exceeded the worldwide trend. The ice extent had shrunk while precipitation had increased. Moreover, the Arctic was experiencing up to four times faster warming than the rest of the globe, with severe impacts on marine life.
The IPCC had emphasised this year that proof of negative impacts was increasing the urgency of worldwide climate action. Denying that would not prevent wildfires, droughts, storms, and other extreme weather events. No one country could solve these issues alone, making international collaboration indispensable. At the same time, successful mitigation work relied on working with local partners in local settings.
Mr da Cunha thanked his predecessor, Ms Cecilie Tenfjord-Toftby, for leading the first two years of the working group.
Topics that the working group had investigated and presented best practice examples on included sustainable fisheries, carbon sequestration, island habitability, and sustainable energy. Moreover, they had looked at climate change in the Arctic and restoring peatlands. In that, the group had spoken with government officials, entrepreneurs, researchers, representatives from civil society, and news representatives. In addition, two surveys had been conducted among the governments of the BSPC, considering in the first current and planned climate and biodiversity legislation as well as in the second the effect of the war in Ukraine on climate policy goals and implementation.
The final report offered a unique and comprehensive overview of the knowledge, experiences, best practices as well as existing policies and projects in the region. The working group’s recommendations condensed the wealth of knowledge into 25 focused, far-reaching yet pragmatic calls that had been integrated into the BSPC Conference Resolution.
Speech by Ms Ditte Juul Jørgensen, Director-General, DG Energy, European Commission
Ms Ditte Juul Jørgensen mentioned the pipeline carrying natural gas from Norway to Poland as a good example of Baltic cooperation could help secure the energy supply, especially in a crisis situation. The European Commission under Ms Ursula von der Leyen had put climate change and biodiversity at the top of the agenda with the European Green Deal. The war in Ukraine had had a significant impact on energy security, yet solutions had been swiftly found that were in line with the EU’s longer-term climate neutrality objectives. That underlined democracy’s strength.
At the same time, it had reinforced the necessity for energy diversity and autonomy, the latter through renewable energy sources. She noted that more work was needed on the impact of climate change on the energy system. 75 % of the CO2 emissions in Europe came from the energy sector, requiring urgent action through energy efficiency, lower consumption, and more renewable energy production. In 2021, 22 % of renewable energy in the overall energy mix had proven a significant rise from the 10 % in 2005. This trend would accelerate, targeting 42.5 % for 2030 with the aspiration of reaching 45 %. Ms Jørgensen underlined that this ambitious goal meant nearly doubling the current share of renewables within eight years, yet it was necessary. The Baltic Sea with its potential for offshore wind was key in this endeavour. The recent Revised Energy Directive required member states to establish a framework for joint projects across borders and sea basins. She appreciated the already achieved agreements in the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection group, working towards 22.5 gigawatts in 2030 and more than doubling that to 50 gigawatts by 2050. (https://energy.ec.europa.eu/topics/infrastructure/high-level-groups/baltic-energy-market-interconnection-plan_en ) The Baltic Sea region could set the pace and provide great rewards for Europe. Moreover, the region was vital for energy security as well. She approved of the three Baltic countries’ agreement to synchronise their electricity system with the European network, moving away from Russia. In general, more investments into the grid and system would be needed to achieve the region’s ambition in energy security as well as the Green Transition and to secure affordable energy.
She stressed that biodiversity did not clash with climate change mitigation, although some procedures had to be harmonised to improve protection. Part of this and the roll-out of renewables was hampered by time-consuming bureaucracy. The Revised Energy Directive sought to facilitate an easing of that through strategic planning, comprehensive mapping across sea basins as well as identifying accelerated deployment areas for renewable energy. (https://energy.ec.europa.eu/topics/renewable-energy/renewable-energy-directive-targets-and-rules/renewable-energy-directive_en)
In December 2022, the EU member states had adopted an emergency regulation to accelerate the rollout of renewable energy to secure the energy supply. This was a joint effort by all, she underlined.
Speech by Ms Lis Lindal Jørgensen, Institute of Marine Research in Norway
Ms Lis Lindal Jørgensen spoke about strengthening the resilience of the climate and biodiversity. That meant strengthening the resilience of science, to increase the accuracy and scope. Her institute was one of the largest in Europe concerned with marine research, mainly concerned with monitoring and advice. Communication lines between science and government were very short. Their goal was to achieve an ecosystem-based management of human activities, i.e., how to explore and extract the services of marine areas without harming the ecosystem.
She listed three good reason to focus on biodiversity: The UN’s International Biodiversity Agreement (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the international agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine Biological Biodiversity of areas beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). To that end, it had to be determined where the thousands of marine species were located in time and space. Her institute had a large fleet for monitoring, for instance in the vast Barents Sea. Standardisation was key, having each ship carry the same type of equipment. Through annual meetings, progress was discussed and standardisation deepened. Her institute was covering temperature, plankton, fish, benthos, sea mammals, and sea birds. Over the past sixty years, the share of Atlantic water in the Barents Sea had increased and that of Arctic water shrunk, decreasing the habitat of Arctic species. This had led to Atlantic species spreading more and more while the Arctic fish had been reduced to a tiny habitat in the high north. The spread of Atlantic species meant that the respective fisheries followed them up north into areas where there had not been any trawling in the past, endangering the biodiversity of bottom dwellers. To protect these vulnerable species, 400,000 km² had been closed to fishing after meetings with all stakeholders.
Ms Jørgensen underscored that the same effect was happening in all their waters. Norway had established a huge programme called MAREANO to counter this by mapping all the species. Thus, they could open and close areas depending on the locations of fish fleets but also provide location guidance for offshore energy, deep-sea mining, and the like. At the same time, ice was receding, and there was even more activity within the oceans. Therefore, time- and cost-efficient monitoring had to be implemented to learn more about this. Comprehensive integrated management enabled action when it was detected to be necessary. This meant a transdisciplinary approach including scientists from many different fields, be they sea bird or seismic researchers or experts on seaborne human activities such as tourism. Understanding the pressures created and acting on populations meant that maps could be elaborated showing the risks for species in space and time. As an example, she noted whales spawning in spring in a certain area, resulting in a call to keep ships away; later on, the whales had moved on to another area but could be safely visited by tourism. All in all, her institute was looking to translate this highly complex information into easier-to-understand advice for managers.
The speaker went on to pose questions to the assembled parliamentarians. She asked if the governments were ready to receive this kind of advice – meaning that the government side also needed to invite all their sectors to a table to discuss this information. Segregation into silos of sectors was no longer feasible. In addition, she asked how ecosystem-based management could be made more robust in the context of changing political priorities and economic interests. This had to be answered for science resilience. She extended an invitation to a conference on the Arctic in April 2024.
Speech by Ms Prof Dr Daniela Jacob, Meteorologist and Director of the Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS)
Prof Daniela Jacob saw a possible answer to the issues in the principle of climate-resilient development. That referred to the process of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation measures to support sustainable development for all. It was enabled by increased international cooperation, including improved access to adequate financial resources, particularly for vulnerable regions, sectors, and groups as well as inclusive governance and coordinated policy.
These days, it was known that greenhouse gases had changed the atmosphere and how the weather system reacted to that. She pointed to the Paris Agreement and the 1.5 °C threshold. Scientists including her had worked on the 2018 IPCC report detailing the differences between a world at 1.5 °C and at 2 °C increase. From 1960 to 2010, the global temperature had risen by half a degree; just from 2010 to 2023, nearly another half a degree had been added. They were currently 1 to 1.2 °C above pre-industrial levels. This meant that weather extremes were accelerating, as evidenced by the present year. However, it was still manageable. Yet the speed of change was barrelling towards the unmanageable, and that made it urgent to reduce that. She underlined the integrity of the scientists at the IPCC. Now, they had shifted from a risk-oriented to a resilience-based approach which investigated how the human system was developing in conjunction with the ecosystem. The challenge was to integrate all of that.
An April paper had looked at the burden on humans: Already in the present, 10 % of the population had been shifted outside the temperature niche of the species. Thus, they required either heating or cooling, i.e., energy. Even with the current pledges to reduce emissions, the trend was heading for a 2.7 °C increase over pre-industrial levels, in which 20 – 30 % of the world’s population would be outside the human temperature niche. Ms Jacob underlined that this was due to the behaviour of people today. Another aspect was lifetime warming: Someone born in 1960 had experienced warming of 0.7 °C, with most of the change only in the last 15 – 20 years. People born today in their lifetime would experience a massive change of 2 °C, 3°C, or even 4 °C. Stability would fall by the wayside.
This meant that decisions today had to be taken in light of future effects – not just by politicians but by everybody. The choice had to be to go through the door of green solutions, of climate-based resilience. She called it a privilege to design a new lifestyle of sustainable development.
Mr Jarosław Wałęsa asked when the point of no return would be reached. Everyone in the world had to work towards this goal. Until that happened in fact and not just on paper, they would not reach any of their goals.
Ms Bryndís Haraldsdóttir asked Ms Lis Lindal Jørgensen how the severing of relations with Russia had affected her work.
Mr Staffan Eklöf spoke of the tragedy of the commons, when people with access to a resource acted in their own interest and thus depleted said resource. This applied to the fishery, for instance. The solution was mutual restraint, such as fishing quotas. The Swedish delegation had been pushing to call for lower quotas.
Ms Eka von Kalben noted that many people were resisting the steady news of climate doom. As such, she wondered how encouraging signals could be sent to create a positive mood for climate change mitigation.
Mr Jens-Holger Schneider noted a statement by Prof Jacob in the margins that the nutrition content in C4 plants was dropping which would cause problems with feeding the human population. Mr Schneider wondered how farmers could react to that today.
Prof Daniela Jacob replied that the point of no return depended on what one was looking at. The Earth would not be destroyed, she assured her listeners, but the question in this context was if it would be an Earth with humans living on it. What scientists expected were enormous regional damages impacting other areas, rather than wholesale destruction, by crossing roughly 2.5 °C at the end of the 21st century. That would mean an ice-free Arctic, major shifts in precipitation and storm shifts, which would cause damage and droughts, destroy food production and technological infrastructure. This absolutely had to be prevented, and that was why global to local policy was indispensable. The local could not wait for the global to agree on the best way forward. Things had to be done now, regardless of others’ actions. This tied in with the need for rapid innovation – both technological and social. She likened this to the Apollo moonshot programme in the 1960s. Moving on to Ms von Kalben’s question, she insisted they still had a window of opportunity. Hiding was not an option; action had to be taken: regional products; de-sealing the concrete in the cities, adding more green to cities to lower the heat; renewable energy completely replacing fossil fuels; looking at the trading systems; innovation in start-ups. There were many positive things that could be done, she insisted. Rather than prohibiting things, she suggested people setting goals for their personal carbon footprint. Regarding the nutrients in plants, Ms Jacob clarified that she was not a biologist. Yet biologists’ reports were worrying. She also made clear that this was not about climate change but about the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. That was changing the substances in the plants, although more research was needed. Their nutrient quality seemed to be decreasing, thus affecting meat and fish quality. This underlined the need to keep researching food production and security. It was urgent to find ways to ensure that there would be enough food for humans to eat in fifty years’ time.
Ms Lis Lindal Jørgensen pointed to the challenge with Russian participation. The Arctic Council had a rotating two-year presidency for each nation. During the recent Russian leadership, everything had been paused due to the war. Now Norway held the presidency, but Russia had threatened to pull out of the council if treated any differently. This made work extremely difficult. The same applied to the Barents Sea. As for fish quotas, they had to be agreed across borders since fish did not care about them. At the same time, fish might aggregate in one spot – apparently rich fishing grounds – even though the overall population was below sustainability levels. There were three different battlegrounds, each requiring different approaches: climate change, pollution, and species extinction.
Ms Ditte Juul Jørgensen underlined the critical need for global action for climate change and the Green Transition. She agreed that there had to be forerunners to pioneer innovation and practice. The EU had shown that greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced while increasing the GDP. Economic growth had been harvested from climate action. More had to be done. The upcoming COP 28 in the United Arab Emirates would be critical. The EU was pushing for global targets and action to be agreed there, with more renewable energies across the world. Regarding the absence of Russia, she noted that the withholding of Russian gas had helped the energy transition. Thirdly, how to people bring aboard, she agreed with Prof Jacob. Change was a privilege, she underlined. The Green Transition brought jobs; renewable energy was the lowest-cost energy. Innovation was necessary to keep Europe pioneering new green technology to achieve the climate targets.
Mr Jarosław Wałęsa concluded the session by noting that he was convinced Europe could be a leader in the global change. As a member of the European parliament, he had been involved in negotiating free trade agreements with, e.g., Canada or Japan. He had witnessed European power to convince others to join these agreements under certain environmental conditions. A united Europe could achieve these goals and take matters much further.
The General Debate was chaired by Prof Jānis Vucāns and Ms Bryndís Haraldsdóttir.
Mr Himanshu Gulati mentioned two issues he felt would be important in the future. Firstly, the dependency on other nations for rare earths and other minerals needed for technology and the Green Transition had to be lowered, which he deemed as vital as the supply of Russian fossil fuel had been before the war. Secondly, the extreme pace and all-consuming vastness of artificial intelligence (AI) would affect the world immensely. AI could be a great boon, but it also was a tremendous threat to many sides of society. There was a reason that big tech companies had called for a pause to AI research until legislative guidelines could be in place. Europe and the Baltic Sea region had to put this topic high on the agenda.
Mr Simon Erik Jyrkaes, BSPYF, saw the production of biofuel as very important for many Baltic Sea countries and appreciated its inclusion in the Resolution as well as acknowledging the threat of dependence on China.
Ms Hanna Katrín Friðriksson highlighted that democracy of today rested on the hard work of previous generations. That history had to be taught to young people, to give them the strength for democratic resilience. She appreciated the previous day’s panel on that topic, noting there was a clear connection from hate speech, disinformation and fake news to violence against minorities. She quoted Mr Nemitz from that panel that the European regulations against hate speech ensured freedom of speech and expression. This was enormously important. Ms Friðriksson further underlined the Nordic countries combined efforts to strengthen democracy together with like-minded countries, regions, and people. Together, they would continue to work for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
Mr Tiit Maran underlined that climate change and biodiversity were deeply connected. He was also grateful for the idea from the previous session that great things started with seemingly small things. Next, he bemoaned that the school curricula had very little on ecosystems and ecology, so that humans felt removed from the natural world.
Ms Ingveldur Anna Sigurðardóttir, BSPYF, said that everybody wanted to live in a world of individual freedom and democracy. The Russian aggression had reminded them that democracy was vulnerable. That’s why they had to stand with Ukraine, to keep Europe the continent they wanted to live in.
Mr Kaspars Briškens noted the Baltic Sea region’s responsibility to jointly tackle climate change and biodiversity. They should achieve leadership in developing green technology and sharing it. Cross-border transport infrastructure as well as a coherent digital background mattered as well. He highlighted the concept for a working group on these points and hoped the BSPC would continue its work here.
Mr Ola Elvestuen commented on the previous session’s powerful message to listen to science and to act on its findings. That was the task of the people in positions of power today, not that of future generations. This was reflected in the BSPC’s Resolution. Furthermore, freedom and democracy had to be defended. It was democratic countries pushing for action on climate change and biodiversity, creating the modern and green market economy.
Ms Sidney Gregor-Wielan, BSPYF, referred to Dr Jacob’s suggestion of setting personal carbon footprint goals. Ms Gregor-Wielan was irritated by this because it shifted the focus away from big oil companies to the individual consumers. Fossil fuels were a thing of the past. She called on parliamentarians not to fall for the myth of the individual carbon footprint. Instead, the development of renewable energy had to be promoted.
Mr Simon Påvals commented on populism rising today as it had a century before. Democracy required a certain measure of responsibility, interest, understanding, and knowledge acquisition of the population. Its opposite was populism, offering simple solutions to complicated problems, falsely claiming to express the majority view, exploiting people’s fears or ignorance, dismissing scientific facts or fuelling conspiracy theories. History showed the severe damage populism could wreak. Democracy needed constant maintenance and cross-border cooperation towards a better society for each individual.
Mr Elias Arndt, BSPYF, raised the problem of verifying accurate information, especially in the digital sphere – given, among others, AI image and text generation. As a software developer, he suggested a data platform to inform journalists and individuals which social media entries were reliable or contained false information. The greatest danger lay in trusted media picking up on misinformation and spreading it.
Mr Stanisław Kostulski, BSPYF, appreciated the ability to live a free life as a young person and also the intergenerational solidarity represented at this conference.
Mr Marc Timmer highlighted the call in the Resolution to shortening the permitting process. Renewable energy was by now by far the cheapest form of energy. It was crucial to raise the acceptance on site. In that, he found financial support from civil society important.
Ms Dominika Maria Łysień, BSPYF, saw energy consumption rising continuously. She saw this as the moment to go for green solutions through renewable energy production but vitally also energy storage. Autonomous energy production in Europe could make the continent independent from market fluctuations.
Mr Jens-Holger Schneider argued for clean nuclear energy, the 3+ generation of power plants. He considered this as a bridge energy source superior to gas.
Mr Thomas Krüger called for the local people to be involved in the expansion of renewed energy, making certain that they immediately benefited from solar and wind power installations in their neighbourhood.
The Closing Session was chaired by BSPC President Johannes Schraps and incoming BSPC President Henrik Møller.
Rapporteur report on Migration and Integration by Ms Carola Veit
Ms Carola Veit said that migration and integration were among the great challenges of this time for all the members of the BSPC. The various crises around the world had already set off massive departures of civilians from their homes, now adding more with one of the greatest humanitarian crises in Europe’s history with the war in Ukraine. Eurostat had stated that there had been over 72,000 first-time asylum applicants in April 2023 in EU countries, an increase of 34 % to April 2022. She underlined that refugees were human beings with their own histories and fates. Solutions had to be found for housing, education, labour, healthcare, and childcare, requiring common European solutions. Yet a joint European policy had proven a challenge in itself. The EU had now stated that acceptance of refugees should be compulsory, yet the overall goal had shifted to reducing the number of refugees coming to Europe. Ms Veit opined this showed greater emotion involved in migration politics, reflecting the rise of far-right parties claiming that migrants were threatening security. Poland was planning a referendum on accepting refugees; Sweden was aiming to tighten the requirements for family joining resident migrants; Finland had announced crackdowns on migrants; Denmark was revising its citizenship rules. Moreover, Finland and the Baltic countries were tightening their border security to Russia and Belarus.
An OECD report highlighted that integration and inclusion investments benefited migrants, their families, societies, and economies while failures to integrate were costly. With shrinking work forces, efforts to integrate migrants were essential. The only conclusion was that this topic had to be kept at the top of the agenda.
Rapporteur report on Sea-Dumped Ammunitions by Ms Anna Kassautzki
Ms Anna Kassautzki began by saying a time bomb was ticking on the ocean floor. She noted that the number of 400,000 tonnes of submerged conventional munitions was only an estimate. Much of it had not been found yet. Since WW II, the shell casings were rotting, exposing the contents to the waters. A research project near Kiel had learned that mussels were taking in TNT and derivates and that 25 % of cod near the dump sites were showing liver cancer. The slow water exchange of the Baltic Sea exacerbated the concentration and thus effect of the substances.
Aside from the BSPC, the CBSS and other organisations were also working on this topic. In December 2022, an expert roundtable had gathered 40 leading experts in Kiel, producing recommendations like a joint fund. By now, technological progress had made locating munitions easier, e.g., using AI to identify sites. In combination with the planned German disposal platform, this could be a gamechanger. Finding and destroying the ammunition above the waterline would be the best solution without damaging the ecosystem. Ms Kassautzki appreciated the European Commissioner Sinkevičius endorsing this project and hoped for EU funds to join the German federal government’s 100 million euro budget. The EU was ready to coordinate efforts and help develop respective tools and technologies. This, Ms Kassautzki underlined, was huge progress over the past year. Yet, the joint work by all the stakeholders had to be intensified so she called on everyone to continue filling the knowledge gaps and share best practices.
President Schraps thanked all the rapporteurs for their efforts over the last year, noting that their reports were available on the website in full.
BSPC President Johannes Schraps invited the conference to adopt the recommended changes to paragraph 11 in the BSPC’s Statutes and Rules of Procedure, after already optimising and strengthening the foundation of their cooperation at the 31st Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference in Stockholm. The Standing Committee had unanimously approved the changes to paragraph 11 at its meeting on 27 August 2023.
The conference unanimously adopted the amended changes to paragraph 11 of the Statutes and Rules of Procedure.
BSPC President Johannes Schraps thanked all the delegations for their work on the resolution of the 32nd Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference and the respective labour of the Drafting Committee. He believed this was an excellent document.
The conference unanimously adopted the Resolution of the 32nd Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference.
BSPC President Johannes Schraps voiced his hope that the governments of the Baltic Sea region would implement the resolution and also that this would lead to a better region.
Next, he moved on to establishing a new BSPC working group. Before that, he thanked the members of the just concluded Working Group on Climate Change and Biodiversity for their work, singling out the chairs, Mr Philipp da Cunha and Ms Cecilie Tenfjord-Toftby. The Baltic Assembly had introduced a concept for the new working group which had been discussed and refined in detail at various BSPC meetings. The Standing Committee had forwarded the concept to the conference for approval.
With the adoption of the resolution, the BSPC Working Group on Energy Security, Self-Sustainability, Connectivity, and Resilience had been approved. As the chair, Mr Kaspars Briškens had been nominated. Mr Schraps asked for the conference’s approval.
The conference unanimously appointed Mr Kaspars Briškens as chairman of the new BSPC Working Group on Energy Security, Self-Sustainability, Connectivity, and Resilience.
Mr Kaspars Briškens accepted the appointment.
BSPC President Johannes Schraps said it had been a huge privilege to represent the BSPC and its core values at various conferences. This had been a challenge – because of the times and the efforts these had demanded – but also a great honour.
With that, he passed the traditional baton of the presidency of the BSPC over to Mr Henrik Møller of Denmark.
Newly installed BSPC President Henrik Møller thanked the youth forum for their contributions in resilience. Democracy should never be taken for granted and was a continued struggle to keep it intact. He went on to say that he would take on the task of the presidency with humility and dedication. The BSPC had been established in 1991 as a forum for political dialogue. Russia’s war in Ukraine had been a reminder of dark times that had seemed far away. The nations of the Baltic Sea region had been divided during the Cold War, but the spark of collaboration and cooperation had lit a passion in the 1990s. The BSPC played a crucial role in bringing together parliamentarians, experts, and stakeholders, facilitating joint strategies for tackling common challenges. It stood as an example of the power of cooperation and unity. The path of the Baltic States to freedom showcased how collaborative efforts could overcome even the most difficult circumstances. Mr Møller sought to continue on this path. Through upholding the principles of dialogue, understanding, and joint action, they would keep on harnessing the collective strength of the Baltic Sea region and build a brighter future. The urgent need for energy diversification had accelerated and scaled up low-carbon energy technologies. The challenges and opportunities of the future had to be navigated to ensure a secure, sustainable, and resilient energy supply. As important was the resilience to climate change, requiring government and gubernatorial practices to integrate scientific knowledge with local expertise. In conclusion, safety and defence in the Baltic Sea region was of utmost importance in light of the changed situation over the past five years. Mr Møller was looking forward to a constructive and fruitful collaboration.
The conference applauded the speech with standing ovations.
Outgoing BSPC President and then BSPC Vice-President Johannes Schraps thanked everyone involved in the organisation of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Youth Forum and the 32nd Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference. He thanked expressively Katalin Zádor and the whole Bundestag-team and Secretary General Bodo Bahr for the ‘outstanding job’, as well as all who had contributed to the perfect conference proceedings. With his whole delegation, he had been very delighted to see all participants in Berlin, in the Plenary Hall of the German Bundestag. He also thanked all the attendees for their participation and their contributions which made the conference as successful as it was. With that, he declared the 32nd Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference closed.