Brussels, 15 March 2010
European Neighbourhood Policy: Launch of the Environment Partnership of the Black Sea Synergy
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik has opened today the Conference launching the Environment Partnership of the Black Sea Synergy initiative. The Environment Partnership is established to support the efforts of the EU and its partners of the wider Black Sea region to find cooperative approaches to the common challenges that the Black Sea region faces. The Black Sea Synergy initiative is open to all countries of the wider Black Sea region. In his opening speech, Commissioner Potočnik said: ‘The Black Sea is not an EU sea. But it is ‘our’ sea; it belongs to all of us, it is shared by all its countries and neighbours, by all those who live in the region. We share the Black Sea and its challenges; we must share the responsibility to meet them’.
The Black Sea Synergy initiative was proposed by the European Commission in 20071 and subsequently endorsed by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, and supported at several occasions by the European Council.
The sector partnerships reflect the inclusive character of the Black Sea Synergy initiative. They will be open to all partner countries in the wider Black Sea region who want to participate. But it will also include institutions that are active in the region, like the BSEC and the Black Sea Commission.
The EU is a strong proponent of regional, cooperative approaches, for obvious reasons. It is not just what we do, it is what we are. Our initiatives put therefore a strong emphasis on the regional and multilateral objectives of the EU’s external policies. The regional component of the ENP is implemented through several initiatives, among which the multilateral elements of the Eastern Partnership, and the Black Sea Synergy. The EU has specific policies and commitments in all sea regions bordering Europe, and the Black Sea is no exception. Seas and their basins are part of our immediate neighbourhood, where the EU and its member States have strong interests.
The EU wants to give reality to this initiative by establishing sector partnerships in three crucial sectors: environment, transport and energy. These sectors have been chosen because they are crucial to the region and improvements in these will have direct effect in the whole wider Black Sea region. Each sector partnership will be organised in a way that maximises its chances of leading to concrete projects. The resources will be used as seed-money, to help preparing the projects, and present them to those who are ready and willing to invest in infrastructure in the Black Sea region. This formula has been successful in other contexts; it will be successful in the Black Sea as well.
COM (2007) 160