Black Sea Euro-region: the practical result of a shared desire to create an institutional basis for co-operation
05.03.2009 – At its session on 5 March 2009 the Congress’s Chamber of Regions held a debate on the development of the Black Sea Euro-region. “Our shared desire to create an institutional basis for co-operation in the Black Sea Basin took practical shape with the setting up of the Black Sea Euro-region last September,” said Ludmila Sfirloaga, President of the Chamber of Regions, presenting a message from Nicuşor-Daniel Constantinescu, President of the Black Sea Euro-region. “We want it to be a forum for co-operation between local and regional authorities in all fields,” she added.
Several specific projects being implemented by the Euro-region were presented, including the “Black Sea Cruise” project, geared to developing tourism and socio-cultural infrastructures in the Black Sea Basin. This involves building marinas on the Black Sea and on the Danube, developing tourism services with the opening of a ferry between Romania and Bulgaria (Constanţa-Varna-Burgas) which could be extended to Odessa and Istanbul, and a number of other projects to promote the rich and diverse cultural assets of the Black Sea countries.
Nataliya Romanova (Ukraine, ILDG), President of Chernihiv Regional Council, called on members of the Chamber of Regions to look at the possibility of developing the Black Sea Euro-region, so that as many municipalities as possible could become part of it. “The most important thing is to reach a consensus and we, as the instigators of this initiative, have a big responsibility,” she added.
During the debate, Halil Vehbi Yenice, member of the Executive Committee of the Union of Municipalities of the Marmara Region, and Mayor of Izmit-Saraybahçe (Turkey) put forward another proposal. “We suggest setting up a network of associations of Black Sea local authorities, along the lines of the NALAS network for south-east Europe.” Stressing the importance of the Black Sea Euro-region for Turkey, not yet a signatory, he spoke of the need for a body to take a practical and constructive approach in order to act on the economic, environmental and social priorities.
Miljenko Doric from Croatia, speaking on behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said that local and regional authorities had a joint responsibility to write the missing parts of the history of democracy, upholding the principle of subsidiarity, including at local level. He asserted the crucial role of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and the need to ensure the adoption of a similar text for regional democracy, as proposed by the Congress. “The Black Sea Euro-region is a trailblazing body for co-ordinating our activities for the preservation of this area and the consolidation of democracy.”
Varuzhan Nersisyan, Mayor of Ijevan (Armenia), Gheorghe Vasilache, President of the Cahul Region (Moldova) and Petre Zambakhidze, Member of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara (Georgia) also took part in the debate.
Speech by Ludmila Sfirloaga, President of the Chamber of Regions
Message by Nicusor-Daniel Constantinescu, President of the Black Sea Euroregion
Speech by Gheorghe Vasilache, President of the region of Cahul, Moldova