BLACKSEA
TREND REVIEW

Summer/2003



The Eighth Meeting of the BSEC Council of Ministers Yerevan/Armenia

The Eighth Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) was held in Yerevan, Armenia on April 18, 2003, preceded by the Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials on April 16-17. The following Member States of the BlackSea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) attended:
– Republic of Albania
– Republic of Armenia
– Republic of Azerbaijan
– Republic of Bulgaria
– Georgia
– Greece
– Republic of Moldova
– Romania
– Russian Federation
– Republic of Turkey
– Ukraine
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Republic of Austria, the Republic of France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Italy and the Republic of Poland as Observers. Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of BSEC (PABSEC), the BSEC Business Council (BSEC BC), the BlackSea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) and the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) were also in attendance, as well as representatives of the United Nations (UN), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the European Commission (EC) and the United States of America as official Guests. The representatives of the Black Sea Universities Network (BSUN) and the Union of Road Transport Associations in the BSEC Region (BSEC-URTA), as NGOs granted sectoral dialogue partnership with the BSEC, also took part. The meeting was chaired by Vartan OSKANIAN, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, who delivered the opening statement. The draft agenda of the Meeting was discussed and adopted.
Resolutıons, Decısıons and Recommendatıons
Taking into account the new developments in BSEC since the Seventh Meeting of the Council, the Ministers discussed and adopted the "Resolutions, Decisions and Recommendations," submitted by the Committee of Senior Officials, for approval. The next Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs will be hosted by the Republic of Azerbaijan in Baku in October 2003.
The Ministers expressed their sincere thanks to the Government of the Republic of Armenia and personally to the Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Vartan OSKANIAN, for their contribution to the further promotion of the BSEC goals and for the hospitality extended to the delegations and the excellent arrangements made for the meeting in Yerevan. The Council expressed thanks to the Observers, PABSEC, BSEC BC, BSTDB, ICBSS, the official Guests and the NGOs granted sectoral dialogue partnership with BSEC for their participation.
The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC):
- Guided by the basic principles and objectives embodied in the Charter of the Organization of the BSEC,
- Bearing in mind the provisions of the Summit Declaration on Black Sea Economic Cooperation signed in Istanbul on June 25, 1992, the subsequent Summit Declarations as well as the Istanbul Decennial Summit Declaration signed on June 25, 2002,
- Emphasizing that the BSEC consolidation on a basis of its transformation into a project-oriented international organization requires more forceful and active commitment from each Member State,
- Recognizing that the BSEC needs to develop practical contacts with other international organizations and institutions for the enhancement of its role in the Black Sea region in particular and on the international arena in general,
- Pursuing the directives and guidance envisaged in the "Resolutions, Decisions an Recommendations" adopted at the Seventh Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs held on 25 October 2002 in Tirana,
- Taking note of the Reports of the Meetings of the BSEC Subsidiary and Related Bodies, Summary Proceedings of Conferences, Seminars and Workshops, agreed on the following:
1. The Council reviewed the state of affairs concerning the establishment of the BSEC Project Development Fund and, particularly, elaborated on the steps required to activate the functioning of the Fund in a short time.
2. The Council commended the transfer of US$30,000 by Greece to the Project Development Fund and encouraged the other Member States to transfer their voluntary contributions in the nearest period.
3. The Council requested the Chairman-in-Office to convene the constituent meeting of the Steering Committee in three months after the date of entrance of the first voluntary contribution to the above-mentioned account of the BSEC Permanent International Secretariat (by July 15, 2003). It is understood that this time will allow also other Member States to transfer their voluntary contributions to the Fund, so that at least three donor Member States to be represented at the first Meeting of the Steering Committee.
4. In conformity with the Article 18 of the Regulations and Rules of the Project Development Fund, which assign the administration of the Fund to the Secretary General of PERMIS, the Council entrusted the Secretary General with the task of opening a bank account for the said Fund and communicate its requisites to the Member States.
5. The Council referred, in particular, to the provisions of the Regulations and Rules of the Fund, stipulating that each Member State and BSEC Related Body shall appoint one representative to the Steering Committee. While leaving the final decision in this respect on the competent authorities of the Member States, the Council suggested as the most appropriate solution an eventual appointment to the Steering Committee of representatives coming from Ministries of Finances, Ministries of National Economy or Ministries of Foreign Affairs.
6. To ensure the preconditions for effective decision-making, the Council agreed that the valid quorum of the constituent meeting of the Steering Committee shall imply the participation in this meeting of six Member States, at least (simple majority of 11 BSEC Member States). It is understood however that this number shall include at least three Members of the Steering Committee with a right to vote (representative of a State contributor to the Fund).
7. Furthermore, the Council invited the BSEC Working Groups to submit to the Committee of Senior Officials applications for financing the projects generated and/or identified within their activities, thus allowing the Senior Officials to select the most elaborated project proposals and submit them to the Steering Committee of the Fund to decide on their financing. The project proposals shall be outlined according to the Standard Application Form, elaborated by the BSEC Working Group on Banking and Finance.
BSEC-EU Relationship
8. In accordance with the Decennial Declaration of the Heads of State or Government of the BSEC in Istanbul on June 25, 2002, to the effect that as the dynamics of the emerging new European Architecture open up the potential for effective partnerships with BSEC, the BSEC Member States attach importance to the policies in building up a tangible relationship with the EU and call on BSEC and the EU to undertake concrete steps to advance this cooperation.
9. Stressing the importance of the ties the European Union has with the BSEC Member States; acknowledging the shared interests between the BSEC region and the EU in areas such as energy, transportation, environment and cooperation in combating organised crime; and having in mind the models of institutional relations, the EU enjoys with a wide geographic range of partners, inter alia MERCOSUR, APEC, ASEAN and the Council of Baltic Sea States, the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the BSEC Member States invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece to take the opportunity of the role as President of the Council of Ministers of the European Union to propose to the EU Council to request the European Commission to prepare a draft proposal on a new relationship of the EU with the BSEC, on a multilateral basis, taking under consideration the experience of the Northern Dimension including current and future sectoral projects with the BSEC, exploring the possibility of better utilization of allocated resources to enhance the new relationship and providing for meetings at official level to review progress.
10. The Council expressed the expectation that the forthcoming European Council to be held in Thessalonica in June 2003 will provide further impetus to the strengthening of the BSEC-EU relations.
11. The Council reiterated the invitation extended to the representatives of the European Commission to participate in BSEC meetings, allowing thus exchange of updated information on issues of mutual interest.
12. Furthermore the Council calls upon the incoming Presidencies of BSEC and EU to follow-up the implementation of this resolution, undertaking the necessary actions to this aim.
Contribution of BSEC to Strengthening Security and Stability in the Region
13. The Council took note of the Report of the Meeting of the Ad hoc Study Group for Considering Ways and Means of Enhancing Contribution of the BSEC to Strengthening Security and Stability in the Region organised in Athens on March 26-27, 2003 by the ICBSS, and instructed the ad hoc Study Group to continue its work with a view to elaborating and submitting to the Committee of Senior Officials the requested working paper on this issue.
The Council decided to reappoint Ambassador Valeri CHECHELASHVILI (Georgia) as Secretary General of the BSEC PERMIS as of May 1, 2003 for a new three-year term in office. The Council also decided:
- to appoint Ambassador Tugay ULUÇEVIK (Republic of Turkey) as First Deputy Secretary General of the BSEC PERMIS as of May 1, 2003 for a three-year term in office;
u to extend for six months the term in office of Ambassador Ion BISTREANU (Romania) as Deputy Secretary General of the BSEC PERMIS until October 31, 2003;
u to appoint Mr. Lucas KATSIKARIS (Greece) as Project Coordinator of BSEC PERMIS as of May 1, 2003 for a three-year term in office;
- to appoint Mr. Stanislav DEMIRDJIEV (Republic of Bulgaria) as Legal Advisor of BSEC PERMIS as of May 1, 2003 for a three-year term in office;
- to appoint Mr. Alexandru BONDARCIUK (Republic of Moldova) as Executive Manager of BSEC PERMIS as of November 1, 2003 for a three-year term in office;
u to appoint Mr. Andriy KONONENKO (Ukraine) as Executive Manager of BSEC PERMIS as of November 1, 2003 for a three-year term in office;
- to extend for two years the term in office of Mr. Agim PASHOLLI (Republic of Albania) as Executive Manager of BSEC PERMIS until October 31, 2005;
- to extend for one year the term in office of Mr. Ashot POGHOSSIAN (Republic of Armenia) as Executive Manager of BSEC PERMIS until October 31, 2004.
The Council took note in a positive manner of the intention of Ukraine to nominate a candidate for the post of the Secretary General of BSEC PERMIS for the term starting in May 2006. The Council took note of the recommendation to review the relevant normative BSEC texts in order to incorporate provisions stipulating a definite time limit of presentation of candidatures to BSEC PERMIS posts, appropriate background for the positions of Executive Manager and interview of the candidates before the decision-making process for their appointment. In order to facilitate the amendment of the concerned normative texts the Council instructed the Committee of Senior Officials to elaborate on these issues and submit concrete proposals.
Institution of Country Coordinator
Taking into consideration the need to revitalise the institution of the Country-Coordinator in accordance with its Terms of Reference, the Council appointed for the term of office May 2003-April 2005:
- The Republic of Azerbaijan as Country-Coordinator to the Working Group on Transport and the Working Group on Energy;
- Georgia as Country-Coordinator to the Working Group on Agriculture and Agro-Industry;
- Romania as Country-Coordinator to the Working Group on Cooperation in Combating Organised Crime;
- The Republic of Turkey as Country-Coordinator to the Working Group on Environmental Protection;
- Ukraine as Country-Coordinator to the Working Group on Cooperation in Emergency Assistance.
Furthermore the Council appointed Greece as Country-Coordinator to the Working Group on SMEs for the term of office November 2003-October 2005. Taking into account the fact that additional consultations are needed for the appointment of Country-Coordinators to the Working Groups on Health Care and Pharmaceutics, on Cooperation in Science and Technology, on Exchange of Statistical Data and Economic Information, and on Trade and Economic Development, the Council called upon the Member States to mobilise their relevant national authorities in order to submit their candidacies and their Action Plans, enabling thus the Council to appoint Country-Coordinators to the afore-mentioned Working Groups at its next Meeting.
Membership and Observer Status
Taking into account of the requests of the Republic of Austria, the Republic of France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Italy and the Republic of Tunisia to have to continue their observer status in the BSEC which comes to an end in April 2003, the Council decided to renew the said status of the afore-mentioned States for another period of two years. The Council, availing itself of the opportunity of the renewal of the observer status of the afore-mentioned States, invited all the Observer States to the Organization to intensify their participation in the BSEC activities with a view to enhancing the cooperative capacity of the BSEC.
Applications of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro for admission in BSEC
Having been informed by the Chairman-in-Office of the completion of the negotiations on admission of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and of Serbia-Montenegro, the Council invited the two afore-mentioned States to accede at their earliest convenience to the Charter of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, done in Yalta on June 5, 1998, in order to become Members of the Organization. In accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter the membership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and of Serbia-Montenegro will be effective as of the date of the deposit with the PERMIS of the instrument of accession of each state to the Charter.
The Council decided to place the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in Group III of the scale of mandatory annual contributions to the Budget of the BSEC PERMIS. The Council decided also to place Serbia-Montenegro in Group II of the scale of mandatory annual contributions to the Budget of the BSEC PERMIS. In accordance with the Rule 8 of the Financial Regulations of the BSEC PERMIS, this preliminary assignment to the list of contributions is to be confirmed at the first meeting of the Council following the effective date of membership of each Member State to be, together with the calculation of the contributions for the Financial Year 2003, in case one or both of the future Member States become a Party to the Charter in the course of the Financial Year 2003. The Council considered the Draft List of Criteria for Admission of New Member States. It was agreed that further consideration of the issue is required for the finalization of the said Draft List. The Council considered the Draft List of Criteria for Granting States Observer Status in BSEC. It was agreed that further consideration of the issue is required for the finalization of the said Draft List.
Cooperation with International Organisations and Regional Groupings
a) UN
The Council welcomed the Resolution 57/34 of the General Assembly of the United Nations hailing the so far cooperation between the BSEC and the UN, inviting the Secretary General of the UN to continue to consult with BSEC with a view to promoting cooperation and coordination between the two Secretariats and calling upon the specialised agencies and other organizations and programs of the United Nations system to cooperate with the BSEC in order to continue consultations and implement programmes with the BSEC and its associated institutions. The Council expressed its resolution to continue and strengthen the working relations with the United Nations and their specialised agencies, organizations and programmes. To that effect the Council requested the Secretary General to pursue the efforts for the successful implementation of the provisions of the afore-mentioned Resolution 57/34 of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Furthermore the Council requested the various BSEC Working Groups to take into account during their work the possibilities for interaction with the United Nations, their specialised agencies, organizations and programmes.
b) BSEC-FAO Cooperation
The Council stressed that the cooperation between BSEC and UN FAO has reached a new qualitative level especially after the start of the implementation of the Project on "Institutional Strengthening to Facilitate Intra- and Inter-regional Agricultural Trade of the BSEC Member States," within the frame of the Technical Cooperation Programme of the FAO, estimating US$342,000. They called up the relevant national authorities to do their utmost for the eventual implementation of the Project. Noting the efforts of the PERMIS on further enhancing the cooperation between the BSEC and the UN FAO, the Council instructed PERMIS to continue negotiations with the FAO pursuing their possible involvement in the identification of priorities in the area of agricultural development and food security of the BlackSea region related to Food Safety for Trade Facilitation, Consumer Protection and Harmonization as well as seeking FAO’s contribution to the previously discussed Projects such as on "Promotion of Beekeeping Among Low Income Rural Families for supplementary earnings in the Black Sea" and others.
c) World Bank
Taking into account the encouraging results of the recent BSEC-World Bank meeting hosted jointly by the Greek authorities and the ICBSS in Athens on March 10, 2003, the Council invited BSEC PERMIS to prepare a draft MoU on Cooperation between the BSEC and the World Bank based on the contributions of the Member States, BSTDB and other interested parties, and circulate it to the Member States.
d) Coordination Meeting among the Regional Organizations/Initiatives
The Council took note of the "Agreed Minutes of the Coordination Meeting of Regional Organizations" (Trieste, January 17, 2003) and acknowledged the role such a Meeting could play in streamlining regional cooperation and the implementation of regional projects. The Council encouraged BSEC PERMIS to participate in the future Coordination Meetings and exchange information with a view to creating optimal conditions for cooperation among the regional organizations and promoting the BSEC in this network.
e) TRACECA
The Council took note of the information provided by the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Secretary General on the issue of cooperation with TRACECA and encouraged him to continue the consultations with a view to elaborate the relevant modalities for cooperation.
f) Black Sea PETrA
The Council took note of the information, provided by BSEC PERMIS, on the cooperation of BSEC with the Steering Committee of the Black Sea Pan-European Transport Area (SC Black Sea PETrA). The Council instructed BSEC PERMIS to keep a track of the transport activities held by the SC Black Sea PETrA.
Consideration of the Issues of the Draft Agreement on Simplification of Visa Procedures for the Businessman Nationals of the BSEC Member States, and the Draft Agreement on Simplification of Visa Procedures for Professional Driver Nationals of the BSEC Member States
The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs appreciated the work accomplished by the ad hoc Expert Group on Visa Simplification in finalizing the Draft Agreement on Simplification of Visa Procedures for the Businessmen Nationals of the BSEC Member States, and took note of the completion of negotiations on this document. The Council further invited the Member States to take the required steps in order to be able to sign the afore-mentioned Agreement and inform respectively BSEC PERMIS on the completion of the said internal procedures. The Council took note of the work accomplished by the ad hoc Expert Group on Visa Simplification in elaborating the Draft Agreement on Simplification of Visa Procedures for Professional Drivers Nationals of the BSEC Member States and instructed the said ad hoc Expert Group to continue its work in negotiating and finalizing the said Draft Agreement
CALENDAR OF BSEC EVENTS
June 2003-October 2003
Meetings of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs
9th Meeting of the Council Baku, Azerbaijan October 31
Meetings of the Committee of Senior Officials
Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials for the
preparation of the draft documents of the 9th Meeting of
the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs Baku, Azerbaijan October 29-30
Meetings of the Troika System
Meeting of the Troika Baku, Azerbaijan October 28
Coordination Meetings
BSEC Coordination Meeting BSEC Headquarters Istanbul,
Turkey October 9
Ministerial Meetings
Meeting of the Ministers of Education (preceded by the
relevant WG) Baku, Azerbaijan September 11-12
Meeting of the Ministers of Energy (preceded by the
relevant WG) Baku, Azerbaijan September 18-19
Meeting of the Ministers of Transport (preceded by the
relevant WG) Baku, Azerbaijan October 1-3
Working Groups and Working Groups of Experts
Working Group on Cooperation Emergency Assistance
BSEC Headquarters Istanbul, Turkey August 27-28
BSEC Business Council
Meeting of the Board of Directors of the BSEC Business
Council Baku, Azerbaijan October 28
WORKSHOPS AND SEMINARS
1st Workshop on BSEC-FAO Project on "Institutional
Strengthening to Facilitate Inter and Intra-regional
Agricultural Trade of the BSEC Member States" BSEC
Headquarters, Istanbul, Turkey June 29
Workshop on "Institutional Renewal and Governance"
Baku, Azerbaijan September 22-23
2nd Workshop on BSEC-FAO Project on "Institutional
Strengthening to Facilitate Inter and Intra-regional
Agricultural Trade of the BSEC Member States" BSEC
Headquarters, Istanbul, Turkey October 12-15

OTHER
Ad hoc Study Group on Stability and Security BSEC
Headquarters, Istanbul, Turkey July 10-11
Meeting of the Steering Committee of the Project
Development Fund BSEC Headquarters, Istanbul, Turkey July 14-15
Conference on Tourism Opportunities in the BSEC:
Upgrading Common Potential Baku, Azerbaijan September 25-26