Baltic Sea award to Finnish Foreign Minister


I have just addressed the Annual Baltic Sea seminar organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for the seventh time. The seminar was held at the Finnish embassy and was a part of the Baltic Sea Festival 2009, a week filled with classical music and fantastic performances as well as interesting seminars here in Stockholm. For Brussels readers, I can reveal that a number of musical highlights from the Baltic Sea Festival will be performed in Brussels next week.

At today’s seminar, the WWF Baltic Sea Leadership Award was presented by H.M King Carl XVI Gustaf and H.R.H Crown Princess Victoria. The prize was awarded to Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb. He received it for the work he did in the Baltic Intergroup of the European Parliament. The group, of which I was a member, launched the initiative of an Baltic Sea Strategy already in 2005. I am very happy that he received this award, he surely deserves it.

Alexander Stubb also spoke on the history and intentions of the Baltic Sea Strategy whereas I dwelt on how we will take the strategy forward during the Swedish presidency.

The Commission presented its communication on a strategy for the Baltic Sea 10 June this year, and the issue was discussed at the General Affairs Council in July. The Strategy will be officially adopted at the highest level during our Presidency, at the Summit of 29-30 October. This will enable us to start implementing the strategy right afterwards in various working groups and within the areas of responsibility of specific ministers.

Most of the work will, however, not require further decisions at Council level, but can be carried out in a decentralized fashion through existing structures in the EU Member States concerned.

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