International Conference "A Black Sea Euroregion"

Samsun (Turkey), 3 November 2006

Final Declaration

1. The Participants express their gratitude to the Samsun Metropolitan Municipality for its hospitality and to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe for the special attention which it devotes to interregional co-operation initiatives.

2. Several issues to which local and regional authorities are confronted in the Black Sea Basin, were analysed and discussed during the Conference, among them:

• the protection of environment, biodiversity and fishing for safeguarding the sustainability of the fragile eco- system of the sea and of the principal rivers of the Basin;

• the investment for renewable energy production;

• the protection of the sea and of the rivers of the Black Sea through preventing oil-spills and of the discharge of waste water;

• the management of maritime transport risks;

• the integrated management of coastal areas;

• the promotion of sustainable tourism;

• the development of inter-cultural and social cohesion co-operation initiatives;

• the migration management;

• the establishment of good governance practices for consolidating democratic stability;

• the efficient use of regional resources for helping local authorities to discharge their management duties;

• the need for effective exchange of information in order to find financial resources for co-operation projects.

3. Given the impact of these challenges and the role of the actors involved, a concerted and integrated approach to the Basin’s problems is necessary. The need for enabling the cities and regions bordering the Black Sea to contribute jointly to a better management of the Basin is strongly recommended. Closer co-operation between local and regional authorities can contribute to a conscious and cautious use of the “Black Sea Resource” while, at the same time, providing stability and welfare and the conditions for a long lasting peace to the populations of the Basin. In this context, co-operation between universities and research institutes should also be encouraged.

4. The Black Sea Basin is an area where national and international organisations – namely, the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Organisation (BSEC) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Organisation (PABSEC) - intervene to foster economic co-operation. Nevertheless, there is still a strong need for implementing at local and regional level the initiatives conceived at such level. As stressed during the conference, globalisation is a phenomenon that can be tackled by increasing interregional cooperation initiatives. Moreover local and regional authorities could contribute not only to economic co-operation, but also to multilateral initiatives in the environmental, social and cultural sectors.

5. The participants recall that on 30 March 2006, as a result of the “Constanta Conference”, representatives of national governments and territorial authorities gave their full support to the idea of creating a platform for interregional co-operation for the Black Sea Basin. They count on the ongoing cooperation established with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the success of the initiative.

6. The launching of a structured interregional Forum of the Black Sea area - i.e. the Black Sea Euroregion – should provide such a platform.

7. In this respect, the experience already acquired within the Adriatic Euroregion, could be used in the launching of a Black Sea Euroregion. The participants also welcome the initiative of setting up a Centre of the Council of Europe for interregional and cross-border co-operation (the St. Petersburg Centre) and stress that the creation of a Black Sea Euroregion could also benefit from the expertise of the St. Petersburg Centre.

8. Moreover, the European legal instruments for interregional co-operation should be supported and implemented: the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities” (Madrid, 1980) and its additional protocols; the draft “Convention on Euroregional Co-operation Groupings” of the Council of Europe and the “Regulation on a “European Grouping of Territorial Co-operation” (EGTC) of the European Union represent a guiding legal framework for allowing local and regional authorities to co-operate within a common structure.

9. The participants share the Council of Europe’s aims of building a Europe without dividing lines and promoting local democracy through the European Charter of Local Self-Government (1) and stress the importance of the forthcoming accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the European Union. This could provide support for advanced forms of transfrontier co-operation based on EU financial instruments.

10. On these bases the participants:

10.1 ask the Local and Regional Authorities of the Black Sea Basin and the Congress of the Council of Europe:

• to pursue their commitment in favour of the Black Sea area by contributing to the creation of a Black Sea Euroregion. The Euroregion will represent an effective dialogue and co-operation structure capable of proposing and bringing about concrete interregional co-operation projects;

10.2 ask the national governments of the Council of Europe member States to encourage the regionalisation processes in their respective countries and to support co-operation between the Congress and the national authorities so as to facilitate the creation of a Black Sea Euroregion.

(1) The Charter foresees the possibility for the signatory Parties to comply with a selected number of its articles