International Black Sea-Caucasus Congress

Opening Speech

Distinguished Participants, On behalf of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), I wish to congratulate the organizers of this Congress and I express our gratitude for inviting our Organization to attend this important event. ...

Distinguished Participants,

On behalf of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), I wish to congratulate the organizers of this Congress and I express our gratitude for inviting our Organization to attend this important event.

It is essential for us, as an organization designed to promote stability and sustainable development in the BSEC Region through means of economic cooperation, to attend such a prestigious gathering of distinguished politicians from the Black Sea-Caucasus area and reputed experts and scientists, in order to increase the effectiveness of our activities.

I represent a regional organization, the BSEC, which was established 24 years ago, hosted by the Republic of Turkey in Istanbul, with the purpose to promote a closer and lasting economic cooperation, in the widest sense of the term, among the states in the region.

Our Organization has 12 Member States: the 6 costal states of the Black Sea and 6 other neighbouring states which have traditional relations in the Black Sea region.

Our related bodies are the Parliamentary Assembly of BSEC (PABSEC), the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), the International Center of Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) and the BSEC Business Council.

Through our specialized meetings at ministerial level and at expert level, in our Working Groups, and through the projects initiated within our Organization, we work for enhancing business growth, for helping our Member States to find efficient investment opportunities and matchmaking with the international financial institutions.

The Black Sea region is complex but, at the same time, a highly important area for the world economy, with a great potential for development.

Through its activities and through the projects it has promoted, BSEC endeavoured to make use of this potential and to bring added value in helping the business communities and, in general, in developing a healthy economy in our region.

Trade and economic development is in the top of the cooperation priorities of the BSEC Member States, in accordance with the BSEC Economic Agenda: Towards an Enhanced BSEC Partnership, endorsed by the BSEC Summit held in Istanbul on 26 June 2012, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Organization, which is a strategic document for guiding the cooperation in the BSEC framework in the years to come.

In implementing the policy documents adopted at ministerial level, various initiatives have been launched within BSEC, among which I would highlight those focused on:

- identifying constraints affecting intra-regional trade expansion, particularly policy barriers that enterprises have to overcome, and other barriers that hamper the trade of goods and services among the Member States;

- promoting cooperation among the customs authorities of the BSEC Member States with a view to facilitating border crossing and transit traffic; and also

- encouraging intra-BSEC Region trade and investments.

In parallel we have undertaken major projects in the field of transport, a cooperation area to which, since its inception, BSEC paid special attention, focusing on how to utilize effectively the intra-region capacity and the huge transit potential of the Black Sea Region.

Over the years, our Organization has developed several important regional transport projects, mutually complementary, which are of major significance for the Black Sea Region and, in general, for the Euro-Asian Region.

The main transport projects are the Black Sea Ring Highway project and the project on the development the Motorways of the Sea in the BSEC Region.

These two projects, which are in the implementation stage, are expected to do much to foster intra-BSEC trade, as well as tourism, infrastructure and transport investments in the Black Sea region.

Cooperation in the field of energy is another major area of action of BSEC, as energy is an essential element for sustainable development of the Member States and their interdependence in energy is growing.

The BSEC Economic Agenda sets the goals of Sustainable Energy and Development of the Black Sea Energy Market among the priority areas of action of the Organization.

One of the main issues discussed in the Working Group on Energy is indeed the development of the Black Sea Energy Market, focusing of the legal framework and other steps to be taken to this effect.

Developing the BSEC regional cooperation in Green Energy is another major issue on our agenda, and our Working Group on Energy started working for the elaboration of a BSEC Green Energy Strategy Paper.

In parallel, we started the establishment of a BSEC Green Energy Network for exchanging information and sharing experience and know-how among national administrative bodies and organizations mandated to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures and policies in the BSEC Region.

Several project proposals are under consideration of the Working Group on Energy, among which I would mention:

- Cooperation of the BSEC Member States in developing electrical interconnections among them; and
- Launching a BSEC Energy Conservation Campaign.

The main thing to be highlighted after this brief review is that the BSEC is an available instrument for dialogue and action in support of the economic development of the Member States.

It has the capability, as a framework of cooperation, to contribute to the sustainable development of the BSEC Region.

This potential has only to be used, with the political will of the Member States and based on an effort to identify their real needs and interests.

Economic relations are not purely commercial and financial. They are, and have to be, partnership relations, in which all interests should be balanced and resources optimally used.

We, in the Permanent International Secretariat of BSEC, feel the need of strengthening the interaction with the academic sector and market stakeholders for promoting an efficient economic cooperation within the BSEC framework. Experience has shown that such interaction always produces ideas and concrete recommendations that we can subsequently submit to our Member States.

BSEC is open to cooperation with other governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions active in the development of economic cooperation, with business communities and with academia, in promoting common objectives and projects.

This explains the presence of our Organization to this Congress and it is in this context that we see the role and merits of the debates inaugurated this morning.

It is with these thoughts that I express my best wishes to all the participants for productive exchanges and a fruitful Congress.

Ambassador Traian CHEBELEU
Deputy Secretary General
Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation

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