Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
Odessa City Council - Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament) of Ukraine - Foundation for Local and Regional Authorities of Ukraine

3rd International Conference on Inter-regional Co-operation in the Black Sea Basin

Odessa Declaration on the Black Sea Euroregion
26 June 2007

We, Representatives of local, regional and national authorities, meeting in Odessa (Ukraine) on 25 and 26 June 2007:

    Would like to thank the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the Odessa City Council, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Foundation for Local Self-Government of Ukraine, and also the Ukrainian Delegation to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Economy of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Association of Local and Regional Authorities, the Centre of Research of the Issues of Regional and Local Development and Support to the Administrative Reform the Parliamentary Project and the International Black Sea Club for the organisation of the Conference;

    Considering that the Black Sea area is one of the most sensitive of the European continent and that it is facing several critical challenges such as: the sea’s and main rivers’ deteriorating environmental situation; risks posed by maritime transport which need to be better managed; migration flows into the area which should be monitored; the need to boost co-operation initiatives in the social, intercultural and economic fields; peaceful resolution of territorial conflicts;

    Convinced that legitimate local and regional authorities can make an important contribution to maintaining stability, security and prosperity for the populations of the Black Sea Basin countries;

    Convinced that cross-border and inter-regional co-operation initiatives of legitimate local and regional authorities can contribute to keeping the peace, developing democracy, youth policy, facilitating youth and cultural exchanges and intercultural dialogue, fostering trust and helping to find common solutions to common problems;

    Aware of the importance that trans-national co-operation projects will acquire in the forthcoming years for both EU and non EU countries;

    Aiming to create a structured platform for co-operation - ie the Black Sea Euroregion - that can enable cities and regions to co-operate effectively and play a full role in tackling the challenges confronting the Black Sea Basin;

    Bearing in mind the usefulness of close interaction with the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation (BSEC) in view of the shared common goal, ie of meeting the practical needs of the populations of the Black Sea Region, and considering that the BSEC has developed mechanisms for international regional co-operation in various areas, and is already implementing viable projects including some on a region-wide scale;

    Aware that the support of national governments to the different institutional organisations of the countries involved and good co-ordination between the different decision-making levels are essential;

    * * * * * *

    Recalling the outcome of the steps already taken by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in favour of the Black Sea Euroregion initiative and in particular:

    - the Final Declaration of the Conference on “Inter-regional co-operation in the Black Sea Area” held in Constanta (Romania) on 30 March 2006 and the Declaration of the Governmental Representatives attending that Conference;

    - Recommendation 199 (2006) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe on “Inter-regional co-operation in the Black Sea Basin” adopted on 1 June 2006;

    - the Final Declaration of the Conference on “A Black Sea Euroregion” held in Samsun (Turkey) on 3 November 2006;

Invite

    all potential partners of the Euroregion to contribute to the definition of an adequate statutory framework for the future Euroregion’s structure, taking into account the different levels of of local and regional governments while respecting the institutional and legal framework of the countries concerned.

For this purpose recall that:

    through the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities (Madrid Convention) and its two additional Protocols, the Council of Europe provides a legal framework for cross-border co-operation initiatives;

    Regulation (EC)1082/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union of 5 July 2006 on a European Grouping of Territorial Co-operation (EGTC) already provides a possible legal framework for Euroregions open to both EU and non EU countries.

    the Council of Europe is currently preparing a 3rd Protocol to the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities on “Euroregional Co-operation Groupings”;

Take note of the application of the city of Sochi to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games which will contribute to the development of the Black Sea region as a whole.

Take note of the information given by the city of Odessa to launch a new pilot project “Ozviton” which aims to foster co-operation between schools and universities in the countries of the Black Sea region.

Welcome the active participation of young people from the Black Sea area in this conference and took note of their message delivered during the conference, and agreed to include it in the final report as a contribution to the 8th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth to be held in Kyiv in 2008.

Decide

    to join forces in order to agree upon a draft Statute of a Black Sea Euroregion, before 31 December 2007.

    to ask the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to compile all proposals from potential partners and to co-ordinate the preparation of the preliminary draft Statute of the Black Sea Euroregion in co-operation with:

    - technical unit already operational within the Constanta County Council and future technical support proposed by Samsun Metropolitan Municipality and the Odessa city Council; and
    - any support or contribution of any other local and regional actors in the Black Sea Basin which would be most welcome.

Take into consideration the forms the Euroregional co-operation in the Black Sea area could take such as a network or an association of Black Sea Euroregions.

Welcome the invitation extended by the Georgian delegation to host one of the next conferences on the Black Sea Euroregion in Batumi, Adjara.



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