Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and its Member States have been contributing to the stability and development of the region already for 25 years

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic participated today in the jubilee Summit of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Organization.

The jubilee Summit was chaired by President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Summit adopted a Joint Declaration of the BSEC Member States.

Following is the statement by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic at the Summit of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation:

“Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,

First of all, I would like to thank our host Turkey and its President for the excellent organization of the Summit and for the kind hospitality extended to us.

It has already been 25 years that the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and its Member States have been contributing to the stability and development of this region. For a quarter of a century, the BSEC has been endeavouring to improve the quality of life for over 350 million people through joint initiatives, projects and meetings. Founded on the idea to facilitate, through economic cooperation, the settlement of political disputes and to improve the relations between states, the BSEC constitutes a specific framework for cooperation, exchange of views and other forms of inter-state and any other cooperation as well.

However, an international organization is only as successful as its constituent Member States would like, and allow, it to be. Accordingly, the BSEC has had its ups and downs, reflected in absence of implementation of specific projects and a lack of financial resources, among others.

The Republic of Serbia was not there at the establishment of the BSEC, but has joined the Organization later, full of enthusiasm and faith in cooperation and good neighbourly relations among the Member States. Serbia has maintained this position ever since. In this context, I would like to repeat what representatives of Serbia have been emphasizing at BSEC meetings from the first day of our membership – we are open for cooperation with all BSEC Member States, especially in terms of enhancing the economy of the countries in the region and improving the quality of life of their people. We believe that the BSEC should serve as a framework for the development of trade, investment, tourism and many other areas relevant to economic prosperity.

Although one of the BSEC goals is to promote peace and stability in the region, I believe that we should avoid opening political issues, and focus solely on economic and other forms of cooperation on which we have consensus. I am confident that a good economic climate and standard of living of our people will also encourage resolution of some outstanding political issues existing between certain Member States.

Let me take this opportunity to express my country’s views on specific issues. Serbia is committed to the development of trade among Member States and supports all projects aimed at creating a favourable investment climate in the region that would attract foreign investment. We highly appreciate and value the development of cooperation in the fields of transport, tourism and energy. We believe that these three sectors are essential for the enhancement of economy, constituting the strongest asset of Member States, both in their mutual relations and in the relations with third countries. Serbia advocates inclusion of the private sector in BSEC activities and projects, since private companies are the protagonists of the development I am referring to.

I would like to underline that, in the realization of the said goals, Serbia attaches great attention to the sustainable development concept, particularly in the segment of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We believe that, in the creation and implementation of projects, particular attention should be paid to their conformance with its principles, assessed by virtually all UN Member States as imperative for our survival in the future.

Serbia supports cooperation with other international organizations, particularly those of an economic nature, such as the Danube Commission, World Trade Organization, UNWTO, UNECE, etc. We further believe that developing relations with the European Union, through synergy or within other framework the Member States would agree upon, is of great importance for the economy of the region, considering the investment and innovation potential offered by the European Union.

I believe that the survival and development of BSEC will require a reform of the Organization itself, in the coming period. Over the past 25 years, we have gained a sufficient amount of experience to be able to recognize and eliminate the key obstacles to the work of the Organization, to focus on segments on which there is a consensus, and take them as the basis for addressing issues that we disagree on. I truly believe that the work and the priorities of the Organization, as well as the attitude of Member States towards the initiative itself, will need to undergo serious reforms, in the coming period. I think that this could be one of the messages of the Summit. Otherwise, it would mean that we have not learned anything in the past 25 years, so why would the next 25 years be any better?

In today’s world of economic crises, military conflicts, unprecedented migration, dissolution of states, and terrorism, organizations like BSEC can make a difference. This is a goal to which Serbia is profoundly committed. After all, it is clear that the countries of the region, like all countries across the world, have their political differences and open issues which cannot be resolved overnight. In this context, we believe that the development of economic cooperation is the best way for the countries to find a common denominator, and create a climate that would facilitate the reaching of a solution acceptable to all.

I would like to express great satisfaction of the Republic of Serbia at the consensus reached onthe adoption of the Summit Declaration. In this way, Member States have demonstrated their readiness and resolve for mutual cooperation, thus taking a step forward towards the goals promoted by the BSEC.

Thank you!”