The CBSS as a vehicle for institutionalised governance in the Baltic Sea Area, in comparison with its two sister organisations in the north

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Abstract

This paper will focus on the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), as one of several forums for intergovernmental cooperation in the Baltic Sea Area. It will primarily discuss the origin, status, organisation, tasks and relevance of the CBSS. This will be done in comparison with the Arctic and Barents Councils, two similar organisations in the North. It will consider the broader context of Baltic Sea Area governance focusing on other institutionalised forms of cooperation in this area, including the EU and the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM). The nature of the CBSS as a ‘soft organisation’, in other words an organisation that owes its existence to ‘soft law’ instruments which are not legally binding under public international law, will be highlighted. This article asks the question to what extent does this ‘soft’ nature of the CBSS have consequences for its organisation and functioning. Consideration will also be given to the specific role of the CBSS in Baltic Sea Area governance taking into account its ‘soft’ status, limited resources, broad range of tasks and activities and the political realities affecting Baltic Sea Area cooperation. Glossary and abbreviations AEPS, The Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy; B7, Baltic Seven Islands; Baltic TRAM, Transnational Research Access in the Macroregion; BASREC, Baltic Sea Region Energy Cooperation; BEAC, Barents Euro-Arctic Council; BEATA, Barents Euro-Arctic Pan-European Transport Area; BSC, Baltic Sea Commission; BSLF, Baltic Sea Labour Forum; BSPC, Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference; BSRBCC, Baltic Sea Region Border Control Cooperation; BSSC, Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation; CBSS, Council of the Baltic Sea States; CPMR, Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions; CPN, Civil Protection Network; CSCE, Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe; CSO, Committee of Senior Officials; EEA, European Economic Area; EGMP, Expert Group on Maritime Policy; EGYA, Expert Group on Youth Affairs; ENPRO, Network of Prosecutors on Environmental Crime; EUSBSR, EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region; HELCOM, Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, Helsinki Commission; Inter alia, among other things; IOM, International Organization for Migration; OECD, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; OSCE, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; PFI, Pilot Financial Initiative; PFS, Project Support Facility; Raison d’être, Reason of being; the purpose or claimed reason for the existence of something; SAO, Senior Arctic Official; UBC, Union of Baltic Cities; VASAB, Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea; WGE, Working Group on Environment; WGEC, Working Group on Economic Cooperation; WGIP, Working Group of Indigenous Peoples
Original languageEnglish
JournalMARINE POLICY
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 2018
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed