In a digital meeting, the Standing Committee of the BSPC continued to discuss revisions to its Statutes and Rules of Procedure in the follow-up of the Annual Conference. The future structure and financial basis of the organisation were considered, and the Strategy and Work Programme 2022 – 2023 was adopted. BSPC President Johannes Schraps voted the thanks of the BSPC on the farewell of the previous BSPC President Pyry Niemi and the Chair of the BSPC Working Group on Climate Change and Biodiversity, Cecilie Tenfjord-Toftby, from their long-standing and dedicated commitment and functions in the BSPC. The meeting included participants from the Åland Islands, the Baltic Assembly, Denmark, Finland, the German Bundestag, Hamburg, Iceland, Latvia, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Norway, Poland, Schleswig-Holstein and Sweden.
BSPC President Johannes Schraps opened the first Standing Committee meeting under the new BSPC Presidency of the German Bundestag. Despite the difficult times and equally complex issues, he was looking forward to good cooperation and reaching beneficial solutions. He underscored the gravity of the unprovoked and unjustified Russian invasion and war in Ukraine that had marked a watershed for the BSPC cooperation.
This watershed had brought about the departure of the Russian legislative assemblies from the BSPC as well as the need for a revision of the organisation’s Statutes and Rules of Procedure.
As the president explained, there had been fundamental discussions in the run-up and during the Annual Conference in Stockholm in June to reach unanimous consent. Given the delicate nature, it had not been possible to discuss all of the issues in sufficient depth, for which reason the present digital meeting had been convened. President Schraps underlined that this gathering would serve to facilitate discussions and an exchange of opinions.
Further Amendment of the BSPC Statutes and Rules of Procedure and the BSPC Joint Financing Mechanism
The Standing Committee discussed and agreed to some amendment proposals for paragraph 11 of the BSPC Statutes and Rules of Procedure and reflected on the current situation of the Joint Financing Mechanism and a possible revision. The latter was in light of the changed funding situation without the Russian delegations as well as the financial contributions not having been changed since 2008. The discussion also included reflections on securing funding for the organisation of the BSPC, its representatives and its secretariat.
Remarks to the discussion were contributed by BSPC President Johannes Schraps, Prof Jānis Vucāns, Mr Jaroslav Wałęsa, Vice-President Pyry Niemi, Ms Carola Veit, Mr Christian Juhl and Mr Bodo Bahr.
The Standing Committee will continue this discussion aiming for decisions at its next meeting.
BSPC Strategy and Work Programme 2022-2023
BSPC President Johannes Schraps presented the draft of the Strategy and Work Programme 2022 – 2023, including the Rules of Procedure and the priorities of the current Presidency, as well as the decision to appoint a new rapporteur on sea-dumped munitions in the Baltic Sea.
President Johannes Schraps highlighted a recent event, the Baltic Sea Region Future Forum in Kiel, with the goal to modernise input and provide future-oriented impulses beyond 2030 in the Baltic Sea region cooperation. Its results were in line with those of the BSPC and the CBSS, namely, to empower the Baltic Sea cooperation politically and in visibility as well as to become a forerunner of the Green Transition in Europe.
The Standing Committee furthermore discussed upcoming meetings of the BSPC, including a possible additional digital meeting of the BSPC Working Group on Climate Change and Biodiversity.
On behalf of the Standing Committee, BSPC President Johannes Schraps relayed his gratitude for her long-standing service to the chairwoman of the present BSPC working group, Ms Cecilie Tenfjord-Toftby. She would be invited to the Annual Conference in Berlin to present the final report of the said working group together with her successor in the chair, Mr Philipp da Cunha. On behalf of the Standing Committee and the BSPC in total, he also extended his deep gratitude to Mr Pyry Niemi. He had rung in this new age of the organisation, presided over two high-profile annual conferences, represented the BSPC at many events, and had been a lighthouse in the BSPC cooperation for many years.
BSPC Vice-President Pyry Niemi pointed out it had been an honour to work with his friends in the BSPC.
BSPC President Johannes Schraps invited theStanding Committee to its next meeting on 20-21 November 2022 at the German Bundestag in Berlin.