Statement by H.E. Mr. IVICA DACIC at the ceremonial opening of the plenary session of the General Assembly of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, Belgrade, 30 November 2016:
“Madam Speaker of the National Assembly,
Distinguished Presidents of Parliaments,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great honour to welcome you on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Serbia in my capacity as Chair of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
I am greatly pleased that Belgrade has over the past few months been the centre of major activities of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and its related bodies. In November, the Meeting of Transport Ministers BSEC Member States was hosted by the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Serbia, while today the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia plays host to the parliamentary delegations and on 8 December the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry will organize the meeting of the Business Council and on 13 December the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers will bring to an end our six-month Chairmanship of the Organization, which will then transfer to the Republic of Turkey.
In terms of the areas of its work, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation is a complex international organization covering many economic and social areas in our countries. However, all this complexity combines in a single noble goal of consolidating peace, stability and security for the sake of general welfare of the Black Sea region. It is the Organization which has recognized the proper way to reach this goal by creating essential conditions for institutionally connecting our countries through cooperation in areas of essential importance such as the economy, combating organized crime, health and pharmaceuticals as well as cooperation in emergencies, including those requiring continuous progress like science and technology, communications and education. Experts from our countries have established direct contacts among them, exchanged experiences and agreed common objectives, plans and projects, recognizing thereby the way of achieving national interests as well.
At the beginning of our Chairmanship we have outlined a number of priorities to focus our activities on:
1. Enhancing economic cooperation among BSEC Member States with emphasis on facilitating and improving trade and tourism, being identified by all Member States as sectors with large potential, to which all Member States can contribute and draw certain benefits from;
2. As a separate segment of economic cooperation, focus will be on the areas of traffic and transport, bearing in mind that this is the main precondition for the implementation of cooperation on any other form of infrastructure connectivity between the entities, as also reflected at the Meeting of Transport Ministers of the Member States held on 1 November 2016 in Belgrade. Road transport is one of the most active fields of BSEC cooperation, especially regarding operator licenses for transport in the territory of the Member States;
3. Improving cooperation with other international organisations and initiatives, particularly with the European Union and the United Nations. In this context, a meeting with representatives of the EU Working Party on Eastern Europe and Central Asia (COEST) was held in Brussels, and the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly in New York adopted a resolution concerning cooperation between the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the United Nations, on 21 November 2016.
4. Reform of the Organisation with the aim of asserting its project orientation, economical spending and achieving functionality.
I truly believe that we have succeeded in meeting the tasks we set for ourselves on 1 July 2016 when we took over the BSEC Chairmanship, taking into account the complex political circumstances prevailing in the Black Sea region by respecting all its Member States and not disregarding the differences existing between them, while focusing on what we share in common – the desire for economic, cultural and social prosperity and enhancement of cooperation in areas which may prove useful in that respect.
I would like to recall at the same time that next year will mark 25 years from the inception of the Organization, and the Republic of Serbia stands ready to commemorate this important anniversary accordingly. We envisage the holding of seminars/roundtable discussions on regional cooperation within BSEC Member States as well as the issuance of a postage stamp with appropriate motif.
In closing, I would like to thank Madam Speaker of the National Assembly for an excellent organization of the meeting and to point to the importance of activities she has undertaken over the past months in her capacity as Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and by taking part in numerous meetings of Parliamentary Assemblies of international organizations.