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Brussels, 13 February 2008

Boosting regional cooperation in the Black Sea Region: First Ministerial meeting of Black Sea Synergy in Kiev

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner will participate in the first Black Sea Synergy meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the EU 27 and their counterparts from the Black Sea region in Kiev on February 14, 2008. Black Sea Synergy (BSS), an initiative launched by the Commission in 2007 aims at boosting cooperation within the region as well as between the EU and the region as a whole. Foreign Ministers will agree on priorities for future projects and discuss the potential for enhanced EU involvement with countries of the region and the role of regional organizations and other initiatives in this process.

Ahead of the Black Sea Synergy Ministerial Meeting, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said: “Black Sea Synergy is designed to attract political attention to Black Sea region and provide new opportunities through increased cooperation with the EU. It also provides opportunities for increased cooperation with Turkey and Russia. We believe Black Sea Synergy can achieve results particularly in five key areas: energy, good governance, transport, environment, migration and the fight against cross-border crime. I am personally committed to exploring all the potential provided by Black Sea Synergy, and I am convinced that this new process could also be conducive to facilitate joint solutions for the frozen conflicts around this region.”

The Black Sea Synergy Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the EU and of the countries of the Black Sea Region will be co-chaired by Ukraine and the EU. It will be opened by the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko. Black Sea Synergy goes beyond European Neighbourhood Policy by including Turkey and Russia. Among observers of the meeting, there will be third countries which have expressed a special interest in Black Sea regional cooperation, international financial institutions and regional organizations and initiatives active in the Black Sea region. A press conference will be held in the afternoon.

Through the Black Sea Synergy, the EU intends to promote both, regional cooperation within the Black Sea region (offering its own experience and know-how) and a reinforced regional cooperation between the region and the EU. The EU has made in the past significant efforts in bilateral cooperation with the various countries of the Black Sea region and aims at reinforcing the regional perspective.

The EU is developing a framework of cooperation with a number of concrete initiatives in the fields of transport, energy, environment, and fight against organised crime, maritime policy, fisheries management, migration, information society and education. Examples of this would be the common interest for the EU and the countries in the region to focus on the development of “motorways of the sea” and a solid environmental framework to protect the Black Sea and its river basins. In addition, there will be a Black Sea cross-border cooperation programme involving local authorities and supporting civil society activities and people to people contacts.

On the eve of the Ministerial Meeting, an informal meeting of Ministers will provide the opportunity to discuss a wide range of political issues affecting the Black Sea region. Also, on 14th of February, a special Ministerial meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) will be held before the Black Sea Synergy Ministerial Meeting. Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner will also participate in this Meeting together with the current Slovenian and the future French EU Presidency.

For further information on the Black Sea Synergy:

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