(1 January - 30 June 2014)

I. Principal objectives

Bulgaria holds the Chairmanship-in-Office of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation for the period 1 January-30 June 2014. Under the motto “Better Synergy for Enhanced Competitiveness”, the Chairmanship will endeavour to further promote the multilateral cooperation among BSEC Member States, in order to strengthen the attractiveness of the Black Sea Region for international investment and business communities.

The Chairmanship will focus on increasing the effectiveness and international profile of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. In this regard, a special emphasis will be put on project and result-oriented approach, in line with the goals set forth by the Economic Agenda Towards an Enhanced BSEC Partnership. Also, strengthening the interaction between BSEC and other global and regional players will be one of the goals of the Chairmanship-in-Office, as well as the continuing development of the cooperation with Observers and Sectoral Dialogue Partners.

II. Sectoral priorities

In the field of sectoral cooperation, Bulgarian Chairmanship will endeavour to further promote the interaction in the areas of transport, youth and sports, healthcare, agriculture, information and communication technologies, combating crime, as well as the advancement of closer cooperation among the business communities of the Member States.  A special attention will be rendered to the encouragement of the cooperation between the public and private sectors in implementation of specific projects.

Cooperation in the field of transport will be one of the priorities of the Bulgarian Chairmanship, with a special focus on developing sustainable transport systems, which can address the economic, social and environmental priorities and needs of the Black Sea region’s population. Enhancing safety and security in transport, elaboration of an integrated maritime policy, continuous integration of environmental dimension in the regional transport policies, the use of new technologies in transport will be the main topics in this area on which the Chairmanship will emphasise. Another important accent will be put on revitalizing and encouraging the practical steps for implementing the two major infrastructural initiatives of our Organization – the Black Sea Ring Highway and the Motorways of the Sea.

  Bulgarian Chairmanship will introduce a relatively unexplored area of cooperation within BSEC human contacts dimension, namely youth and sports, with the aim to start discussion and exchange of ideas on national youth policies and finding ways on addressing youth issues on regional level, as well as exploring the financial and economic aspects of sports and its impact on the economic growth and employment.

In continuation of the achievements of the previous Chairmanship-in-Office, among the priorities of the Bulgarian Chairmanship will be the cooperation in the area of information and communication technologies. The creation of a suitable platform for cooperation among ICT Clusters would offer additional possibilities for making the contacts between small and medium-sized ICT enterprises of the Black Sea region much easier, which will have positive impact on the economic development of BSEC Member States.

In the field of healthcare a special accent will be put on the exchange of good practices and experience with regard to the responsibilities of the healthcare systems in the context of the refugee flows and the possibilities for taking coordinated actions among the BSEC Member States.

As far as agriculture is concerned, the Chairmanship would like to focus on exchange of good practices and experience between agricultural research and scientific institutes of the BSEC Member states, closer interaction among the national food safety control agencies, cooperation on the field of fishery and aquacultures.

Bulgarian Chairmanship will endeavour to promote cooperation among the Black Sea business communities through organising several Business Forums and will continue the discussion on ways and incentives to stimulate small and medium-sized enterprises and their interaction on a regional level.

The creation of synergy between BSEC and other formats of regional cooperation will be one of the goals of the Bulgarian Chairmanship-in-Office of the Organisation. Establishment of a pragmatic dialogue between BSEC and the EU, finding the points of convergence between the priorities of BSEC and EU and identifying concrete projects of mutual interest in key areas like environment, tourism, education, maritime policy will be in the core of Chairmanship’s efforts.

Bulgarian Chairmanship also considers as an important priority the encouragement of the cooperation between the Black Sea and the Danube regions, as well as the Black Sea and the Adriatic-Ionian regions, including in the framework of the EU macroregional strategies. Possibilities for closer cooperation of BSEC with the Danube Strategy will be explored, as far as both basins are geographically interconnected and common projects could be beneficial to the economies and the development of relations of the countries of the Black Sea region and Central Europe.

III. Principal events

The calendar of Bulgarian Chairmanship includes a number of high-level events in different areas of cooperation. Among them:

- 30th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the BSEC Member States;
- Meeting of Ministers of Transport of the BSEC Member States;
- Meeting of Ministers in Charge of Youth and Sport of the BSEC Member States;
- Meeting of the Ministers of Interior of the BSEC Member States.

Website of the Bulgarian Chairmanship-in-Office