Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić said that, by using all the instruments of regional cooperation, one should activate all the development potentials of the Black Sea region in order to respond efficiently to all the challenges of the global economic crisis. At a summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in Istanbul, he said that the initiative was ready to commence a new era of relations and cooperation with a view to prosperity and welfare of peoples in the region. At the summit, which marks the 20th anniversary of the BSEC, and which Serbia is currently presiding (until July 1), Nikolic said that it was necessary to strengthen the mechanism of regional cooperation, which is to be founded on understanding and mutual respect and which will represent one of the main principles for the realization of common goals.
I would be very proud if, at the next gathering, we could present the concrete results we have achieved meanwhile and for the realization of which every country has given its maximal contribution, said Nikolić, who is co-chairing the summit with his Turkish counterpart and host, Abdullah Gul. According to Nikolić, the importance of the BSEC anniversary assumes a special dimension, considering the very complex international circumstances and the global economic crisis, from which the Black Sea region has not been spared either. Thus, the BSEC, as an economic organization, above all, assumes a bigger role and responsibility to respond to the growing challenges and use the development potentials of the region in its full capacity, emphasized Nikolić. Underlining that regional cooperation was one of Serbia’s foreign policy priorities, he added that this year, as well as last year, Serbian had successfully presided numerous regional initiatives – the Central European, the Regional Initiative for Migrations, Asylum and Refugees, the South-Eastern Europe Cooperation Process and the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative. The Serbian president explained that the country’s priorities during its six-month presidency had been the promotion of dialogue and multilateral economic cooperation, the strengthening of regional and good neighbourly relations, the promotion of inter-regional economic cooperation and the strengthening of the organizations’s internal structure. An important segment in that respect is represented by the recently adopted Economic Agenda for the Future of the BSEC, which should represent a map for the realization of our joint goals, said Nikolić. He emphasized as the most significant joint projects within the BSEC those in the field of traffic infrastructure, in which Serbia is taking part through Corridor 10, and said he counted on EU assistance in the realization of the set project tasks. Serbia, as an EU candidate-state, strongly supports the strengthening of cooperation between the BSEC and the EU, especially in the field of environment protection and energy, said Nikolic. BSEC member-states are the following: Serbia, Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Greece, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and Albania. The Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation was established in Istanbul in 1992. Serbia joined the organization in April 2004. Egypt, Austria, Belarus, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Tunisia, and the United States participate in the work of the Organization as observers.