At the meeting of the Council of Baltic Sea States on 3-4 May 1996 in Visby, Sweden, Mr. Jacques Santer, President of the European Commission, presented the Community initiative for the Baltic Sea region, adopted by the Commission on 10 April 1996. The Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) was established in 1992 and serves as a regional forum for cooperation among the Baltic Sea States. The Baltic Sea Region Initiative (BSRI) will provide a lasting framework for strengthening cooperation among CBSS members, by means of an overall coordinated planning and financing of large infrastructural investments. It proposes concrete actions in the following main areas: - Trade, investment and economic cooperation; - Infrastructure and transport; - Energy and nuclear safety; - Environment; - Tourism; - Regional development; - Border-crossing facilitation; - Democracy and stability. The initiative also aims to reinforce the role of the CBSS by: - Creating a permanent secretariat for the management of the PHARE and TACIS cross-border programmes, which could also be charged with broadening coordination of regional assistance and support for the CBSS; - Strengthening the economic working group of the CBSS; - Setting up a small permanent secretariat for the CBSS. The initiative does not require additional funding, nor does it require new financing instruments. Its aim is to better coordinate and concentrate EU action in the region. Under PHARE, TACIS and the EU Structural Funds, indicative allocation of funds for the countries concerned is ECU 950 million between 1995 and 1999.
Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden