Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation make advancements for regional issues in 2023

Sat, 30 Dec 2023 8:31 GMT
Year posed challenges for developments within region, says Secretary General Lazar Comanescu, with gratitude for Turkish chairmanship of regional economic bloc.
Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation make advancements for regional issues in 2023

The Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) signed important decisions that will contribute to economic cooperation in 2023, despite regional and global challenges.

BSEC was established June 26, 1992, as a result of Türkiye’s initiative to contribute to the promotion of stability, predictability and security in the region, by boosting economic dialogue and cooperation among its member states.

The organization, consisting of 13 states, works to enhance regional cooperation through bodies such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, the International Center for Black Sea Studies and the BSEC Business Council.

The rotating chairmanship of the Istanbul-based organization changes hands every six months.

Türkiye delivered the BSEC chairmanship in the second half of 2023, which started under the chairmanship of Serbia, then, at the 47th Meeting of the BSEC Council of Foreign Ministers in December, the chairmanship was transferred to Albania.

BSEC can bring together representatives of member states through more than 20 working groups, such as on trade, development, environment, agriculture, agriculture, energy, transportation, infrastructure and other areas.

Advancements made despite negativity

In the last few years, as global and regional issues such as the coronavirus pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine War and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged, the organization faced fallout on those issues.

The Russia-Ukraine war posed an especially significant challenge to the organization as the two countries are also member states of the regional economic bloc.

The Israeli attacks on Gaza in 2023 affected the economic activity in the region, thus impairing the organization’s advancements for economic cooperation.

Despite the issues, 2023 was productive for the organization, especially during Türkiye’s chairmanship, as necessary steps were taken to enhance regional cooperation.

BSEC General Secretary Lazar Comanescu made a statement regarding the organization’s operations in 2023, speaking to Anadolu: “I believe it is evident that the year 2023 posed considerable challenges in terms of developments within the region and the neighboring territories.”

Despite the developments, Comanescu underlined some significant developments by the organization in 2023, saying: “Given the temporary suspension of our operations last year amid the conflict in Ukraine, I am pleased to share that we have not only recommenced operations but have also realized almost all of our goals.”

Comanescu added that steps taken during Serbia’s chairmanship were solidified by Türkiye’s important decisions during Turkish chairmanship.

Three important steps taken in 2023

Comanescu noted that the BSEC Economic Agenda was renewed and approved in the 47th Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers during the Turkish chairmanship, which was the first important step.

He emphasized that the renewal of the agenda focuses on ways to enhance trade in line with sustainable development goals and the need to adapt to the digital age.

Comanescu said the second important step was the agreement to revive the BSEC Project Development Fund, which has been frozen for five to six years, and added that the organization is ready to contribute to concrete proposals to finance the fund.

As for the third step, Comanescu highlighted the dormant BSEC Business Council was reactivated.

“We cannot imagine the development of economic cooperation without the direct involvement of the business community of our member states, since this council serves as a key instrument for business involvement, making it imperative and highly significant to engage the business community, not only in project implementation but also in the decision-making to identify which projects should be prioritized and developed,” he said. “I believe that the reactivation of the BSEC Business Council is a very important achievement that we have achieved this year.”

Comanescu pointed out the reactivation of the tripartite system for cooperation between the rotating chairmanships as an example of other important steps taken.

“We are grateful for the Turkish chairmanship, which has been in office for the second half of this year, continuing and building on what has been done by its predecessors," said Comanescu.

Underlining that the Black Sea Region is a bridge between Europe and Asia, Comanescu said the delicate and complex situation in the region affects economic activities and therefore affects the organization.

He said that the organization’s capability to bring countries in conflict together shows its success.


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