German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has emphasized the close security cooperation between the countries bordering the Baltic Sea in view of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
"The security of each of us is the security of all of us — also here in the Baltic Sea region," Baerbock said on Thursday at the beginning of the meeting of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS). The region's foreign ministers met in the historic city of Wismar on Germany's Baltic Sea coast.
Baerbock said that the war in Ukraine was a turning point for the region and the council in particular. At the end of March 2022, Russian troops invaded Ukraine, and Russia's membership of the CBSS was suspended at the beginning of March 2022. Moscow then announced its withdrawal in May 2022.
What was discussed in Wismar?
Increased cooperation on security and energy issues have been key areas of focus.
During the meeting, German Minister of Housing Klara Geywitz highlighted the direct effects of the war both for critical infrastructure and the refugee situation in cities and municipalities. Geywitz said an accelerated energy turnaround was needed to make the region independent of fossil fuels.
The Council also sees munitions clearance as a joint task for the nations bordering the European body of water despite differing priorities, the council's director general Grzegorz Poznanski said on Friday.
Regardless of whether conventional or chemical warfare agents are located in the northern or southern waters, the danger they pose affects the entire Baltic Sea, he said.
What is the CBSS?
The Council of the Baltic Sea States was founded in 1992 and its headquarters is based in Stockholm. The members are Germany, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, Iceland and the European Union. Germany chairs the CBSS until July.
Until the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Baltic Council was one of the diplomatic circles in which concrete cooperation with Moscow on technical issues was possible.