Ukrain's Vision for the Future of the Organization of The Black Sea Economic Cooperation


H.E. Mr. Dr. Olexandr P. MISCHENKO *

Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) is celebrating its Fifteenth Anniversary on the 25th of June 2007. On the 25th of June 1992 in Istanbul Ukraine was among those eleven states that signed the Summit Declaration and the Bosporus Statement giving birth to the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). In June 1998 in Yalta Ukraine hosted the Summit of heads of Member State and government significant for the BSEC, since the Charter of the BSEC was signed transforming the intergovernmental machinery of co-operation into a full-fledged regional organization. This Summit became for our state, which is one of the largest Black Sea countries, an opportunity to realize the aspirations to confirm its constructive approach to the participation in the Black Sea regional processes.

Today, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation has all the instruments and resources to substantially influence the processes of the Black Sea region. For the last couple of years the trends of the Organization activity, besides the economic one, have embraced combating terrorism, illegal migration, drugs trafficking, trafficking in human beings and wide spectrum of humanitarian issues. Thus, nowadays we can speak about the complex impact of the Organization in the region.

For Ukraine the BSEC membership is of special importance and wholly corresponds to the provisions of its National security strategy, according to which the main priorities of the regional cooperation policy in the Baltic-Black Sea-Caspian region are the following:

development of harmonious, mutually beneficial, neighbourly relations with countries of the region;

accomplishment of democracy and security in the region, expanding bilateral and multilateral cooperation with countries of the region as regards to development of the common energy policy, in particular in the field of transit of energy resources;

stepping up counteraction with the European regional organizations and participation in implementation of multilateral projects, establishing subregional collective security systems in the interests of all states of the region.

Ukraine takes part in implementation of the BSEC projects having vigorous regional impact. Particularly we could mention transport communication in the context of the new concept of transport axes, adopted in the European Union.

We believe that the forthcoming Summit of heads of the BSEC Member State will become an essential event in the life of the Organization defining the new long-term trends of its activity for the future.

We expect from the coming the 15th BSEC Summit the decisions to increase the effectiveness of the Organization, particularly concerning the strengthening of the project-oriented approach, finding common positions on cooperation with the European Union, which became a direct factor of the processes of the BSEC after Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU.

We believe that it is essential to establish an efficient system of the BSEC international contacts. The BSEC initiatives and programmes should correspond to the foreign policy strategy of its Member States, directed at development of the integration process with the EU and creation of the integral Europe in the future. The new concept of the BSEC has to encourage realization of Euro-integration strategy of its Member States in accordance with existing international legal instruments and integration status, specifically: the EU membership, association, neighbourhood concept etc.

The BSEC should become the partner of the EU in realization of the regional programmes of the European Union. The European Neighbourhood Policy might become a basis for the development of interaction strategy. Moreover, there is principle an absolute coincidence of interests of the EU and the created BSEC mechanisms in the sphere of border control, implementation of the transport programmes, ecological programmes etc.

Bridging the cooperation with the European Union must become one of the priorities of the BSEC. It is very significant that, in the context of the development of regional collaboration, the BSEC Member States consider the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation as a substantial factor of integration to the European Union or deepening the cooperation with the EU. We believe that with Romanian and Bulgarian accession to the EU interactive of the two Organizations will be brought up to the much higher standards.

The Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation acquires new dynamics and gradually becomes an influential regional driving force. Among the important trends there are those that will strengthen the security component of the Organization at the same time preserving its economic character. In line with the modern world tendencies, the traditional areas of cooperation should be also supplemented with interaction in the sphere of combating terrorism, drugs-trafficking and arms smuggling, which seems to be perspective in a view of strengthening the BSEC authority and its international contacts. Ukraine is convinced that the BSEC should render effective support to the efforts of the world community directed at combating terrorism, resolving the so-called frozen conflicts in several countries of the region as well as combating trans-border crime. With this aim it is necessary to coordinate the activity of the BSEC with corresponding programmes supported by the UN, OSCE, EU and NATO.

Within the economic sphere the Organization intends to strengthen its orientation towards development and application of concrete projects and programmes. We believe that establishment of efficient contacts with economic and financial institutions will contribute to elaboration of such projects. Thus, the conclusion of instruments of cooperation with the World Bank, specialized institutions of the UN, in particular UNIDO, UNDP and FAO will be essential in this context.

Ukraine positively estimates the achievement of mutual understanding concerning the development of the Black Sea Ring Highway and complex development of motorways of the sea in the Black Sea region. We believe that the development of transport network of the region, especially sea transport and ferry, will contribute to the process of integration of the region into the Trans-European transport network and the development of Euro-Asian transport links.

The results of the activity of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation corroborate its aspirations to consolidate and stimulate the development of versatile regional and inter-regional cooperation aimed to resolve the existing problems and tasks.

We should understand that today we live in the world that differs a lot from the one we had twelve years ago when the Istanbul Declaration was signed. The new problems and tasks that need solution emerge. At the same time, in practice it is impossible to reach an evolved level of economic integration without political stability and interaction.

We believe that the new Istanbul Declaration will give a new impulse to the activity of the Organization.

The issues of promotion of the democratic principles in the Black Sea region, strengthening various formats of interaction between the Member States of the Organization, widening cooperation with other regional organizations like Organization for Democracy and Economic Development GUAM and initiatives within and outside of the Black Sea region should take a proper place in the agenda of the BSEC. The process of adjustment of the Organization to the new strategic regional landscape is going on, and it should be realized that the Black Sea region can no longer be considered apart from the world processes of today.

The increase of the regional role of the BSEC, its influence on the processes of the development of multilateral cooperation between the states of the region according to the defined course should become the main aims of further evolution of the Organization.

Adjustment of the BSEC to contemporary realities requires reconsideration by all the Member States of the role and significance of the Organization. They should define the mutually advantageous and acceptable trends and formats for further co-operation.

Thus, the main aim of our collaboration within the BSEC is stimulation of trade, development of the pecuniary and legal basis, conducting macroeconomic reforms that will contribute to the realization of the national programmes of stability, development and improvement of capital markets.

We are confident that trade, being a main index of the effectiveness of economic activities, will play the main role in the Black Sea region. That is why the most important task of the Organization should be the assistance and liberalization of trade by liquidation of the numerous tariff and non-tariff barriers, which has been already discussed within the BSEC.

In order to revive the economic component of the BSEC activity, which is being its main task, taking into account the prospects of the development of trade relations between the BSEC Member States and the EU, in our opinion, it would be expedient to renew the consideration of the initiative, which was once being developed, on the creation of a Free Trade Area within the BSEC. The realization of this initiative would undoubtedly become a driving force of the sustainable development of trade and economic relations among the BSEC Member States. Creation of the Free Trade Area can promote strengthening the region’s role in the international relations, development of the market social-economic models and democracies in states and in the region as a whole. The Free Trade Area can also positively influence the development of other countries and regions by regulation of access to their internal markets.

The regime of free trade on the bilateral basis exists among many Member States of the BSEC. This long-scale project should be realized in parallel with completion of accession of all Member States to the WTO as well as signing by them bilateral free trade agreements with the EU. We think that with support of the WTO and the EU we can establish the Free Trade Area in the Black Sea region within the BSEC.

In the framework of its Chairmanship, which starts on the 1st of November 2007, Ukraine elaborates action plans on intensification of the inter-regional cooperation on the regions and cities level.

In particular in the framework of the BSEC the realization of the transport, economic and ecological projects on the regional level is feasible with attraction of the local initiatives, private capital, entrepreneurship and non-governmental organizations. We can observe the effectiveness of such kind of programmes on the example of the European region’s activity.

In 2007 we plan to initiate a forum of the representatives of the big banks of the BSEC Member States in collaboration with the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank in order to discuss the possibilities of formation of credit pools to finance the large-scale projects on development of trade and infrastructure, opening of new credit lines.

Unfortunately, the potential of the BSEC is not fully used, thus, we support the proposals to discuss at the BSEC Summit in June 2007, the first of reformation of the BSEC, in order to enhance its capacities and increase its contribution to the development of the Black Sea region.

Ukraine pays a great attention to the development of cooperation within BSEC and intends to coordinate the programme of its presidency in the Organization (November 2007 – April 2008) with the decisions of the Istanbul Summit and the priorities of the Chairmanship of Turkey.

We highly appreciate the initiative of the Republic of Turkey to host the 15th Anniversary Istanbul Summit on the 25th of June 2007. We believe that this event will contribute to an effective realization of the BSEC goals and tasks.

*Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Turkey