#

Strengthening of Economic Connections With The Black Sea Economic Community

 

Luka CAPAR *

In April Turkey will assume the presidency of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which the Turkish Embassy took as an opportunity to familiarize the Croatian public with this economic association, as well as to invite the Croatian businessmen to a stronger business cooperation.

The market of 350 million people

The Black Sea Economic Cooperation is relatively unknown to a wider public, but Croatian institutions have been cooperating with the member states for years, and with each of them Croatia has billateral agreements on economic cooperations. BSEC was founded in July 1992 when the heads of eleven states- Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, met in Istanbul and founded this economic community. It encompasses the area of 20 million square meters, with a market for more than 350 million people and a yearly trade income bigger than 300 billion US dollars. The region covering the states of the Black Sea Bay, the Balkan and Caucasus is the richest area for oil and gas fields after the Persian Bay, and the area with the biggest supplies of minerals and metals in the world. It is also the biggest European transport and energetic corridor. Looking at the members of BSEC it is useful to mention the fact that three states are members of the European Union, Russia is one of the most propulsive economies of the world and Turkey is, next to being a candidate for the EU, traditionally in good relations with Croatia, which was proven during the recent visit of our delegation to this country. From 1994 the center of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation is officially in Istanbul.

Good economic cooperation

“After its founding in 1992 the initiative of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation has in 1999 grew into an international regional Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), presenting a political and economic forum which assembles 12 member countries (Serbia entered in 2004) and 16 observer countries among which is Croatia (next to Austria, Belorussia, Check Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Tunis, USA, Energy Charter Secretary and the Black Sea Commission) and which confirm its importance and the need for a more serious cooperation”- this was said to Vjesnik, the newspaper, from the ministry of economics, labour and entrepreneurship.

Croatia become an observer in BSEC with a decision made on the 13th meeting of the Council of foreign ministers of BSEC, which took place October 28th 2005 in Chisinau, Moldova. This status gives Croatia the opportunity to attend meetings of the international organisation which brings together full members, observer states of the Black Sea area as well as many states of the Mediterranean and the Danube basin.

Summit meetings, meetings of sector ministers and various activities within the 15 work groups of BSEC, enable the presenting of international political and economic priorities and contribute the presentation of readiness of the Republic of Croatia for different forms of regional cooperation.

“The Republic of Croatia is carrying out an economic cooperation with the members of BSEC and is interested in improving the commodity exchange as part of the existing bilateral relations. Having in mind the fact that the Black Sea region has become a center for the transport of energetics, the Republic of Croatia is actively participating the meetings of the ministers of energetic within the work group for energetics”, says the ministry of economics, labour and entrepreneurship. The relevant ministries also say that, next to the Albanian, Armenian, Greek, Grusian, Moldovian, Rumanian, Russian, Serbian, Turkish, Ukrainean delegates and the observer countries Belorussia and Montenegro, the representatives of the Republic of Croatia- Vladimir Vranković, state secretary in the ministry of economy, labour and entrepreneurship and Željko Tomšić, assistant minister for energetics and mining- also actively participated as part of the Work group for energetics. With Turkey starting its active campaign for stronger cooperation already at the beginning of its presiding, it can be expected that the Croatian economics be actively connected to this interesting market in other fields too.

FRAME: Leadership in region, makes good base for cooperation with BSEC

President of Croatian chamber of economy (HGK) Mr. Nadan Vidošević said that Croatia has to take economic leadership in the region, especially in new CEFTA organization, which has some same members like BSEC. Bulgaria, Rumania, Moldovia, Serbia and Albania are Croatian primary markets, just like Turkey and Russia. We are on the transportation and energy corridors which connect Russian and Turkish markets and resources with western Europe, and making a strong connections with that part of the world is necessary for our economical and political future, said Vidošević. For that cause many Croatian business subjects has visited, and will visit economy events and fairs in states members of BSEC, espec

* Columnist at Economics Department, Vjesnik - Newspaper, CROATIA ially in Turkey and Russia.