ST. PETERSBURG, March 21 (Itar-Tass) — Modernization of state-private partnership, anti-terrorist cooperation, inter-regional and industrial cooperation are among the main tasks during Russia’s future presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), Russia’s Deputy Minister of Regional Development Alexander Viktorov said at a session on cooperation in the Baltic Sea region on Wednesday.
Russia will assume the chairmanship of the Council from Germany in July 2012, and the session focused on Russia’s priorities during its chairmanship. According to Viktorov, “new possibilities open for intensifying relations in the region, which must improve living standards of the CBSS countries’ population.”
Taking part in the conference in St. Petersburg are senior officials from the Russian Ministry of Regional Development, the Russian Foreign Ministry, the German Foreign Ministry, specialists from the office of Russian president’s envoy to the North-Western federal district, representatives from the CBSS and the Nordic Council of Ministers.
This year, the CBSS marks its 20th anniversary. The chairwoman of the permanent committee of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, Valentina Pivenko, hailed the activity of the inter-regional organization, marking a need to develop relations through a comprehensive dialogue.
She stressed that further progress could be achieved only in joint efforts. Simplification of visa issuing procedures is one of the main directions, Pivenko believes. However, she reminded the session about the existence of the so-called “Pomor visas” which “expand contacts among people”.
The Council of the Baltic Sea States was founded in 1992 at the initiative of Germany and Denmark as a coordinating agency of the Baltic Sea region. It brings together Germany, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Estonia as well as the Commission of the European Communities. Iceland joined the organisation in 1995.