Baltic Development Forum participated in the Baltic Sea Region Energy Cooperation (BASREC) Energy Ministers conference 17 – 18 February 2009 in Copenhagen.
The representatives form the Nordic and Baltic countries, Poland, Russia, Germany and the European Commission discussed solutions for the climate, security of energy supply and the need for renewed economic growth.
The discussion items on the agenda were: energy perspectives related to climate issues; security of supply and the Baltic Interconnection Plan, as well as renewables and energy efficiency in Heat Demand and Supply. The meeting was presiding by Danish Minister for Education and Minister for Nordic Cooperation, Bertel Haarder. Denmark currently holds the presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and BASREC.
Danish Minister for Climate and Energy Mrs Connie Hedegaard was absent due to the working visit to Nairobi in relation to forthcoming COP 15 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.
Delegations from France, the Netherlands, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and Ukraine attended the conference as observers. Delegations of Baltic Development Forum, the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, CBSS, the Energy Charter, the International Energy Agency, the Nordic Council of Ministers and International Financial institutions also participated.
The European Commission was represented by the Commissioner for Energy, Andris Piebalgs, who stated that the Baltic Sea Region had a potential to be a showcase for the rest of Europe. The positive experience and the best practice of the Baltic Sea Region could be transferred to other regions in Europe. The Baltic Sea Region could lead Europe!
There was an overall agreement that energy cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region has to be strengthened, in order to contribute to the growth and stability in the region, by promoting a sustainable and competitive energy system. In his speech, the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Halldor Asgrimsson, informed about the ongoing study on enhanced energy cooperation, initiated by BDF, financed by Nordic Council of Ministers and elaborated in cooperation with Ea Energy Analyses.
The intervention by the Deputy Minister of Energy of Russia, Vladimir Azbukin, was welcomed by delegates as a clear signal of Russian interest in closer regional energy cooperation and also – in the wake of the gas crisis – as a hope for an improved dialogue between consumer and producer countries.
During the meeting it was decided that BASREC will draft a declaration to be submitted to the COP 15. The declaration will stress the importance of energy efficiency, increased use of renewables and low carbon technologies.
By the end of the meeting, Hans Brask, Director of BDF, informed that a regional energy and climate platform had been created in order to improve cooperation among the many regional stakeholder, involved in energy and climate matters. He emphasised the need to involve stakeholders, such as the representatives of the cities, regions and industries in the discussions on enhanced cooperation and advised to organise a multi-stakeholder conference in this regard. On behalf of BDF, Brask offered, in cooperation with BASREC, to organise such a conference. This idea was welcomed by the Estonian Minister of Economic, Juhan Parts and supported by Haarder, who underlined that BDF is the right platform for organising a conference of this kind.
The conference concluded by adopting the twelfth communiqué. See press release below.