The Council adopted a number of conclusions on the policy of the European Union with regard to the Baltic Sea region at its General Affairs session on 29 May 1995. This region has become of increasing importance to the Union, given the recent accession of Finland and Sweden to the EU and the imminent signature by the three Baltic States of Europe Agreements, scheduled for 12 June, which will pave the way for their accession. These new links complement those which the Community already has, in particular with Norway in the framework of the European Economic Area, with Poland under a Europe Agreement, and with Russia under a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, signed in 1994. The Council is keen to see the Union directing its efforts on helping trade development in the Baltic Sea region. The building blocks already in place now need to be reinforced through further initiatives with non-Member States in the region. In particular, support programmes for these countries need to pay more attention to the regional context and to establish priorities in this context. Similarly, more coordination is needed between bilateral and multilateral aid programmes within the G24 framework and at the level of the Baltic Sea States' Council, which would be an appropriate forum for regional cooperation. Referring to the Essen conclusions, the Council stressed the need for the European Union to ensure that its actions support regional and trans-border cooperation with emphasis on the following priorities: - Trade; - Infrastructure, including transport; - Investment; - Environment; - Energy and nuclear safety; - Education; - Development of the activities of local collectives and of the private sector. The Council requested the Commission to present a report on the situation during the second half of 1995, including concrete recommendations for cooperation in the region.
Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden