Lithuania begins CBSS presidency

VILNIUS (TBT) - Lithuania has officially taken over the rotating presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS).

As of July 1, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas has taken over as Chairman of the CBSS. Usackas said the aims of the Lithuanian Presidency of the CBSS include the strengthening of cooperation of the Baltic Sea states.

"The Baltic Sea region has to become a venue of an open and creative cooperation. This is the motto for our Presidency. We will aim at lifting barriers for the cooperation in the Baltic Sea region, we will encourage more freedom of movement of people and the exchange of ideas. Russia's Kaliningrad region and Belarus has to become full-fledged members of the Baltic Sea region," the new CBSS president said.

He also highlighted environmental concerns and ensuring social securities as main points on the Lithuanian presidency's agenda.

On 1-2 July 2010 in Vilnius, a CBSS meeting of Prime Ministers will be held. A Business Summit and the Baltic Development Forum is scheduled to take place at the same time.

"The Business Summit is sort of regional 'Davos Forum.' We are planning to attract about 600 politicians, businessmen and members of academia from all the Baltic Sea states," Usackas said.

The Council of the Baltic Sea States was established in 1992. Its main goal is to stimulate the development of the region.

Currently there are 11 member states of the CBSS: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, and Sweden. The European Commission also participates in the activities of the Council.

Lithuania holds the Presidency of the CBSS for the second time. On 1 July 2010, the Presidency will be handed over to Norway.



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