Four members of the Riksdag participated in the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference (BSPC) on 24 August. The conference, which was held digitally, adopted a resolution directed at the governments of the member states, with a focus on strong cooperation in the light of COVID-19, protection of the marine environment and migration and integration. In connection with the conference, Swedish took over the presidency of the BSPC from Lithuania.
This year's Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference (BSPC), the 29th to be held, took place digitally on account of COVID-19. The conference had almost 150 participants from eleven national parliaments, eleven regional parliaments and five autonomous regions. Sweden was represented by members of the Riksdag Pyry Niemi (Social Democratic Party), Cecilie Tenfjord-Toftby (Moderate Party), Pernilla Stålhammar (Green Party) and Hans Wallmark (Moderate Party).
Effective and sustainable solutions for the future
The Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference is a forum for political dialogue between parliamentarians in the Baltic Sea region, with the purpose of highlighting and promoting various matters of importance for the region. This year, the conference focused on the future of the Baltic Sea region under the theme Vision 2030. The Speaker of the Parliament of Lithuania (the Seimas) Viktoras Pranckietis spoke at the opening of the conference, among other things, about the importance of continued strong regional cooperation in the light of the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
Protection of the environment and marine environments
The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), a body for cooperation between the governments in the Baltic Sea region, presented the Council's priorities and work during the past year and in connection with the Lithuanian Presidency.
A recurring theme within the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference is the well-being of the sea. One of the sessions during this year's conference dealt with the environment and protection of the marine environment, and was introduced by Germany's Minister for the Environment Svenja Schulze. In connection with the conference, a formal decision was also taken to establish a new working group on climate change and biological diversity. The working group has a two-year mandate, and will be chaired by member of the Riksdag Cecilie Tenfjord-Toftby (Moderate Party).
Working group on migration and integration concluded
In connection with the conference, the BSPC's three-year working group on migration and integration concluded its activities after presenting a final report with recommendations to the governments in the Baltic Sea region. The working group has been chaired by member of the Riksdag Hans Wallmark (Moderate Party), who presented the group's conclusions and stressed the importance of learning from each other and exchanging best practices. Among other things, he highlighted the importance of sports movements in work with integration.
Resolution directed at the governments in the Baltic Sea region
During the conference, a resolution - a joint decision - directed at the member states' governments was adopted. The resolution focuses on the challenges associated with COVID-19 and the consequences of measures to contain the pandemic in the region, protection of the environment and marine environment, digitalisation and migration and integration. From the Swedish delegation, the Chair of the delegation Pyry Niemi (Social Democratic Party) participated in the work with the resolution.
Sweden holds the presidency between August 2020 and August 2021
This year's Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference marked the end of the Lithuanian Presidency of the BSPC. Sweden is now taking over the presidency for the coming year, and the Chair of the Swedish delegation Pyry Niemi (Social Democratic Party) will thus become the President of the BSPC. The next Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference will be held in Stockholm in August 2021.
The theme of the Swedish Presidency is "Sustainable democracy - how to face a changing world", and its focus will be various aspects of democracy, civic engagement, trust and political participation. During the year, there will be a spotlight on:
- reliable neighbourly relations, intensive cooperation, inclusive participation and trust in the democratic system with a special focus on young people and civil society;
- democracy in a changing media landscape;
- adaptation to a new demography and challenges to the welfare model; and
- climate change and biological diversity.
Contact person for the media
Johanna Ingvarsson, International Adviser, International Department of the Riksdag, tel: +46 76 117 49 19 , email: email@example.com