Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)
Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov’s speech at the informal meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, New York, September 23, 2016
We are pleased to have the opportunity to meet here today to exchange our views on relevant issues of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Organisation. We thank our Serbian colleagues for the opportunity to continue to discuss ways to make BSEC more efficient, especially in light of its upcoming 25th anniversary in July 2017.
Priorities of the Serbian chairmanship are in many ways similar to those of Russia’s in the first half of 2016. This would seem to contribute to the continuity and complementarity of our countries’ policies at the BSEC that aim to help the organisation to reach new horizons in the interests of all its member states.
A BSEC event schedule put forward by Serbia provides for real expert involvement in all areas of cooperation within the organisation. We believe that our foreign ministries will join forces and work hard to boost the participation of experts from our countries’ executive bodies and agencies in working group meetings, which will give an additional impetus to ensuring that the organisation achieves practical results.
We would like to express support to Serbia’s plans to promote the issues of transport infrastructure development during its chairmanship. Transportation is a real bloodline for the region’s economy and a prerequisite for its continued development. Sergey Lavrov named the main goals in this area at the 34th BSEC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Sochi. They include increasing navigation in the region, promoting maritime, multimodal, and interregional air transportation, and cruise tourism, and speeding up the implementation of the Black Sea Ring Highway project. We believe that all the state members agree on the urgency of these issues, and we will make considerable headway at the scheduled meeting of transport ministers.
We expect that the issues we raised during our chairmanship will, too, be further addressed. First of all, this includes proposals aimed at boosting the organisation’s finances, creating a mechanism for a project-based cooperation in the region, to streamline BSEC procedures and organisational activities, and to develop cooperation among the member states’ areas close to the Black Sea.
I would like to briefly update you on the progress made in implementing the Project Cooperation Promotion Facility, which Sergey Lavrov announced at the July Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Sochi. As you know, the Russian Government has allocated a lump sum donation of $1million for the purpose. The Russian side is now working with the BSEC Secretariat and the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) to determine the means of transferring and using these funds and the outlines of this mechanism.
The areas we prioritise when selecting projects are renewable energy, energy efficiency, green technology, assistance to small and medium-sized businesses, regional and municipal infrastructure, and improvement of member states’ export potential.
I would like to use this opportunity to reaffirm Sergey Lavrov’s words addressed to our BSEC partners in Sochi calling on them to take part in establishing this promising and mutually beneficial mechanism. We believe that its full-scale launch would be a good present for the 25th anniversary of the BSEC, and would contribute to the practical implementation of the organisation’s goals.
Returning to the upcoming anniversary, I would like to point out that in these six months we should initiate work on the final documents and events that will mark this anniversary in accordance with the decision adopted at the 34th BSEC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting. We believe that we should conduct a comprehensive analysis of the results of our work over the past period and draft highly detailed plans for the future, including on the BSEC economic agenda.
We would appreciate it if Turkey as a host nation would provide us with the information on planned anniversary events.
In conclusion, allow me to once again thank Serbia for organising this meeting and wish it every success in its chairmanship.