B Explanatory memorandum,
by Mr Laurenţiu Mironescu
1 Brief description of the Black Sea region
and key issues
1 The Black Sea is an area of
crucial importance for Europe, considering its geographical location,
its socio- economic, cultural and environmental attributes: it is
located at the frontiers of both geographical Europe (Council of
Europe) and the European Union and repre- sents a bridge between
different cultures and religions. Co-operation can and should be
increased both among the countries and among the local and regional authorities
around the Black Sea, in order to improve the well-being of the
inhabitants of the region, in particular from the environmental
point of view, but also to increase stability and contribute to
general economic growth.
information on the region
2 The Black Sea is the world’s
largest land-locked and anoxic sea. It has a surface area of 461000
square kilome- tres and its average depth is of 1 240 metres, but
about 25% is less than 200 metres deep. It is linked to the Mediterranean
by the Dardanelles, which is a very shal- low and very narrow strait.
3 The surface water temperature in the Black Sea varies seasonally
and geographically between 0°C and 25°C, while the deep water (1000
metres) remains at a constant 9°C. The water below 150 metres in
depth contains no oxygen and contains high concentrations of hydrogen
4 The Black Sea was once one of the most bountiful fish- eries,
easily supporting the many civilisations that grew up on its shores.
Industrialisation and regional population explosion have caused
overfishing, eutrophication (the introduction of excessive nutrients
into a body of water, encouraging increased algal growth and further
decreasing the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the water) and
the flow of chemical and radioactive poisons into the sea. Now this
body of water, once an important source of food and recreation,
is in danger of becoming a toxic and nearly life- less place, an
ecological disaster with few peers.
5 The sources of the Black Sea’s
problems are myriad. The rivers that drain into the Black Sea bring
with them heavy metals, synthetic organic compounds, oil, nutrients,
untreated sewage and radionuclides from Chernobyl. The dams on these
rivers, as well as the need for freshwater for agriculture and domestic
purposes, have drastically reduced the amount of freshwater flowing
into the sea, which compounds the existing problems and alters the
sea’s salinity. Seaside cities are an additional source of untreated
sewage, while their ports are a large source of both oil pollution
and the importation of non-native species. Overexploitation of the
Black Sea’s fisheries has led to the commercial extinction of 21
of 26 species of fish.
6 The Danube River alone spews up to 280 tonnes of cadmium,
60 tonnes of mercury, 900 tonnes of copper, 4 500 tonnes of lead,
6 000 tonnes of zinc, 1 000 tonnes of chromium and 50 000 tonnes
of oil annually. The other main rivers that feed into the Black
Sea (the Dniepr, Dniestr, Don, Kuban, Yuzhnyy and Belaya) deposit
another 87 tonnes of cadmium, 1 500 tonnes of copper, 825 tonnes
of lead and 2 600 tonnes of zinc annually. These rivers are also
the source of huge amounts of nitrates and phosphorus, which are
the cause of increased algal and plankton blooms, reduction of dissolved
oxy- gen concentrations and severe reductions in the fishery populations
leading to changes in the food chain.
The inextricable link between the tributary rivers and the
Black Sea should also be seen from the standpoint of the state of
the environment at the mouths of the tributar- ies. Of particular
concern is the Ukrainian project of building a deep-sea canal between
the Danube and the Black Sea on the Kilia and the Bystroe arms of
the river, in the heart of the UNESCO-protected Danube Delta. The
project entails a likely significant transboundary impact, as revealed
by the 2006 report of the International Inquiry Commission set up
under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary
Context. The Ukrainian project is being developed in non- compliance with
numerous international norms, despite repeated calls from different
international organisations. The Parliamentary Assembly has already
expressed its concern over this situation in Resolution 1444 (2005)
on the protection of European deltas, urging Ukraine, inter alia
, “to stop immediately
the work on the construction of the deep water navigation canal
until an international environmental impact assessment has been
conducted and to implement its conclusions”, and to “observe the
rec- ommendations of the relevant international organisa- tions”,
demands which have not been fulfilled.
8 The coastal cities and ports ringing the sea are also a huge
source of pollution with some cities like Odessa pumping raw sewage
directly into the sea. The largest port on the Black Sea, Sevastopol
Bay, has oil concentrations 100 times higher than the maximum permissible
concen- tration that the Russian Federation water standards allow.
9 Extreme overfishing has led to the commercial extinction of
21 fish species, including pike, perch, bonito and bluefish which
were quite abundant as recently as 1970. The remaining species are
in danger from not only ecological issues, but also from the persisting
inadequate fishing policy.
taken to save the Black Sea
10 While the destruction of the
Black Sea has not been at all ignored by those countries bordering
it, only limited concerted action had been taken previous to the
early 1990s and the ecological disaster was ignored internation-
ally until recently. All is not lost, however, as there are now
many projects in action to save the Black Sea.
11 As early as 1959, Bulgaria, Romania and the Soviet Union implemented
the Convention concerning Fishing in the Black Sea, but not all
of the Black Sea nations signed it. In 1985 the countries crossed
by the Danube signed the Bucharest Declaration in an effort to measure
and control the level of pollution in that waterway, but due to
economic and political restraints it has obviously not been as successful
as hoped, although the document was strengthened in 1994. In 1992,
the six Black Sea countries signed a convention for the protection
of the Black Sea from pollution, which provided the framework for
more effective monitoring of pollution and the restora- tion and
conservation of the marine resources.
12 In 1993, the six Black Sea nations signed the Black Sea Environmental
Programme (BSEP). Sponsors for this organisation include the United
Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Global Environment Facility
and the European Commission as well as the governments of France,
Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Japan. The BSEP
used the initial funding to comprehen- sively study, understand
and evaluate the nature and causes of the destruction.
13 There is much that needs to be done. Cities and ports need
funding to upgrade harbour facilities and sewers. All the nations
within the Black Sea drainage region must rigorously monitor and
control industrial and agricultural waste. This is very expensive
for these nations, some of which are struggling economically. Also, the
fishing industry needs to be brought under control. Deepening the
co-operation among all actors involved, at national and regional
level, would contribute both to increase aware- ness on these issues
in the region and possibly improve the environmental situation.
co-operation initiatives and tools
14 Co-operation initiatives in
the Black Sea region already exist or are currently under development.
Among them can be mentioned the following.
Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)
15 In 1992, 11 countries (Albania,
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russian
Federation, Turkey and Ukraine) signed in Istanbul the Summit Declaration
and the Bosphorus Statement giving birth to the Black Sea Economic
16 The BSEC came into existence as a unique and prom- ising model
of a multilateral political and economic initia- tive aimed at fostering
interaction and harmony among the member states, as well as to ensure peace,
stability and prosperity encouraging friendly and good-neighbourly
relations in the Black Sea region. Its headquarters are in Turkey,
17 According to its charter, the BSEC creates a frame- work for
co-operation in the following fields: trade and economic development;
banking and finance; communi- cations; energy; transport; agriculture
and agro-industry; health care and pharmaceutics; environmental
protection; tourism; science and technology; exchange of statistical
data and economic information; collaboration between customs and
other border authorities; human contacts; combating organised crime,
illicit trafficking of drugs, weapons and radioactive materials,
all acts of terrorism and illegal migration and similar.
18 With the entry into force of its charter in 1999, the BSEC
acquired international legal identity and was trans- formed into
a fully-fledged regional economic organisation: the Organization
of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
19 As far as environment protection is concerned, the BSEC established
an Action Plan for Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection,
as a general frame- work to promote co-operation among the BSEC member
countries. Among the main objectives of the plan are to sustain
the efforts of each country in achieving a clean and healthy environment
and to contribute to the improve- ment of the quality of life in
the region, to promote the integration of the protection of the
environment into the economic and social national policies, and to
preserve and manage the region’s natural resources in line with
the principles of sustainable development.
20 The related bodies and affiliated centres to the BSEC are:
the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Eco- nomic Cooperation
(PABSEC), the BSEC Business Council, the Black Sea Trade and Development
Bank, the International Centre for Black Sea Studies and the BSEC
Coordination Center for the Exchange of Statistical Data and Economic
Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution
(the Black Sea Commission)
21 Acting on the mandate of the
countries bordering the Black Sea (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, the Russian
Federation, Turkey and Ukraine) which in 1992 signed and ratified
the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution,
the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution
(the Black Sea Commission) implements the provisions of the conven-
tion and the Strategic Action Plan for the Rehabilitation and Protection
of the Black Sea.
22 Its main challenges are combating pollution from land-based
sources and maritime transport, achieving sus- tainable management
of marine living resources and pur- suing sustainable human development.
23 The secretariat of the commission is also located in Turkey,
Energy Community in South-East Europe
24 In the field of energy, countries
in South-Eastern Europe, including Black Sea riparian ones, have common
goals such as, for example, to improve overall energy con- servation
and efficiency and to reduce an excessively high energy intensity
of production compared to international standards. The current fragmentation of
energy supply might be overcome through co-operation among the var-
ious entities concerned and through physical connection of the networks.
A regional approach to energy supply, therefore, would offer significant advantages
both in terms of improved utilisation of existing supply and pro-
duction capacities. Major steps have already been taken over the
last couple of years towards achieving these objectives in both
the electricity and natural gas sectors.
25 The Treaty establishing the Energy Community was signed in
Athens on 25 October 2005. The European Union and nine partners
of South-Eastern Europe created the legal framework for an integrated energy
market, whose devel- opment is co-ordinated by the European Commission
and the Energy Community secretariat (established in Vienna). The
treaty entered into force on 1 July 2006.
Among its major commitments are:
- to create a regionally integrated energy market for electricity
and natural gas networks and to integrate that market into the wider
- to establish common rules for generation, transmis- sion
and distribution of electricity;
- to similarly establish common rules for the transmis-
sion, distribution, supply and storage of natural gas;
- to establish state level national energy authorities,
regulators and transmission system operators;
- to establish compatible state and regional electricity
and natural gas market action plans;
- to establish embryonic regional level dispute resolu-
- to open the markets in line with EU commitments but with
a suitable transition period.
Black Sea Regional Energy Centre (BSREC)
27 Another co-operation structure
devoted to energy co- operation in the Black Sea region is the Black
Sea Regional Energy Centre (BSREC), which was established in 1994
at the joint initiative of the European Commission under its SYNERGY
programme and 11 countries of the Black Sea region. Currently, the
BSREC has as members Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia,
Greece, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia,
Turkey, Ukraine and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
Its activities are aimed at the implementation of the European Union acquis and har- monisation of the
energy policy of the Black Sea region countries with the EU.
Among the main objectives of the BSREC are:
- facilitating the implementation
of a – long/medium – term integrated strategy of security of supply
and sustain- able development;
- promoting market reform, with reference to EU direc- tives
on electricity and gas and to the European Energy Charter;
- encouraging investment and funding opportunities in the
energy sector of the Black Sea region;
- providing co-ordination services for international and
bilaterally funded projects addressing the individual coun- tries
and the region;
- easing the access of foreign and international institu-
tions and companies to the energy sectors of Black Sea region countries.
29 In 1992, a Romanian academic
group took the initia- tive to set up the Black Sea University Foundation, a
non- political and non-profit organisation. Since then, its activity
has focused on training young researchers, econ- omists, managers,
teachers or professionals through post- graduate summer courses.
30 The foundation has set up a network of Black Sea universities,
drawing inspiration from its exchanges with the Baltic Sea University
(Uppsala) and the University of the Mediterranean Sea (Rome).
31 The Black Sea Universities Network (BSUN) num- bers at present
more than 100 universities. It seeks, among others, to develop a
specialised network of resources, pro- grammes and projects dealing
with issues such as envi- ronmental protection.
co-operation: the Balkan and Black Sea Regional Commission
32 The Balkan and Black Sea Regional
Commission cur- rently brings together 25 regions from Greece, Turkey,
Romania, Croatia and Ukraine. It has special partnerships with Serbian,
Albanian, Bulgarian and Moldovan regions.
33 The objective of the Balkan and Black Sea Regional Commission
is to encourage dialogue and co-operation between sub-state spheres
of government. The aim is to constitute a lasting institutional
framework to support the integration of these areas and the focus
of the commis- sions’ activity is put on strengthening inter-regional
co- operation and developing joint projects in sectors such as transport,
the environment and economic development.
34 The secretariat of the commission is located in Kavala (Greece).
Black Sea euroregion
35 All the Black Sea riparian
countries are members of the Council of Europe, whereas only two
of them (Bulgaria and Romania) are members of the European Union.
Therefore, while taking into account the existing co-operation structures,
the Council of Europe is in a posi- tion to facilitate strengthened
co-operation at both national and regional level.
In 2006, the Congress of Local and Regional Author- ities
of the Council of Europe proposed the creation of a new euroregion
in the Black Sea, following the example of the Adriatic Sea euroregion
which has been working successfully since June 2006. The latter
also was an ini- tiative of the Congress, supported by the Assembly
in Resolution 1446 (2005)
on co-operation and sustainable development in the Adriatic
37 The Congress has organised three important confer- ences on
this issue: in Constanţa (Romania) in March 2006, in Samsun (Turkey)
in November 2006 and in Odessa (Ukraine) in June 2007. They were
also attended by representatives of the Committee on the Environment,
Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs of the Council of Europe,
which supports this new initiative of the Congress to create a Black
38 The conference in Constanţa stressed the significant contribution
of the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation
between Territorial Communi- ties or Authorities (Madrid, 1980)
to the reinforcement of regional co-operation in Europe and reaffirmed
the link existing between transnational regional co-operation and
the democratic stability and sustainable development of the regions
concerned. It also stressed that the natural or conventional borders
should not prevent the development of exchanges, bonds and dialogue
among the peoples and civilisations in the Black Sea area, aimed
at promoting peaceful coexistence in multi-ethnic societies and
the value of multiculturalism.
The conference asked the Congress to contribute to the creation
of a euroregion along the lines of the Adriatic euroregion, providing
the riparian countries of the Black Sea with an instrument establishing
an effective dialogue and co-operation among the local and regional
authori- ties, as well as concerted and integrated approaches to
the region’s problems. It also identified the aims to be con- sidered
for the Black Sea euroregion project:
- promoting co-operation among the Black Sea coun- tries
at local and regional level;
- consolidating democratic stability and promoting good
- contributing to the promotion of sustainable develop-
ment, including improved social and economic cohesion;
- enhancing the development of mutual relations between
residents and institutions in this area, as a pre- condition for
better knowledge, understanding and co- operation;
- making better use of regional resources to strengthen
local authorities’ management skills;
- fostering an effective exchange of experience in iden-
tifying sustainable financial resources for common proj- ects of
local and regional authorities, including assistance programmes
developed by the EU;
- contributing to the promotion of the exercise of citi-
zens’ rights to participate in the public administration at local
40 It finally took note of Romania’s offer to support the setting
up of a permanent secretariat of the future Black- Sea euroregion.
41 The next conference, held in Samsun in November 2006, focused
on the protection of the environment, bio- diversity and fishing
for safeguarding the sustainability of the fragile ecosystem of
the sea and of the principal rivers of the basin and debated, among
other issues, investment for renewable energy production, the protec-
tion of the sea and of the rivers of the basin through the prevention
of oil-spills and of the discharge of waste water, the management
of maritime transport risks, the integrated management of coastal
areas, the promotion of sustainable tourism, the development of
intercultural and social cohesion co-operation initiatives, migration
man- agement, the establishment of good governance practices for
consolidating democratic stability, the efficient use of regional
resources for helping local authorities to dis- charge their management duties
and the need for effec- tive exchange of information in order to
find financial resources for co-operation projects.
42 The conference in Samsun underlined that the Black Sea Basin
is an area where national and international organisations – namely,
the BSEC and the PABSEC – intervene to foster economic co-operation but
stressed that, nevertheless, there is still a strong need to implement
at local and regional level the initiatives conceived there. Globalisation
being a phenomenon that can be tackled by increasing interregional
co-operation initiatives, local and regional authorities could contribute
not only to economic co-operation, but also to multilateral initiatives
in the environmental, social and cultural sectors. It also showed
high appreciation for the ongoing co-operation established with
the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the success of
43 In June 2007 a third conference was held in Odessa (Ukraine).
It stressed the usefulness of close interaction of the euroregion
with the BSEC in view of the shared common goal, which is meeting
the practical needs of the populations of the Black Sea region.
The Odessa confer- ence invited all potential partners of the euroregion
to con- tribute to the definition of an adequate statutory framework
for the future euroregion’s structure, taking into account the different
levels of local and regional gov- ernments while respecting the institutional
and legal framework of the countries concerned. It asked the Congress
to co-ordinate the preparation of a draft statute of the Black Sea
euroregion in co-operation mainly with the technical unit already operational
within the Constanţa county council.
44 On the basis of the proposals submitted by the Constanta county
council and the municipality of Odessa, the Congress drew up a preliminary
draft instrument lay- ing down the general principles governing
the euroregion. At the preparatory meeting for the Constituent Act
of the Black Sea Euroregion (Strasbourg, 18 March 2008), the participants
discussed and amended the draft instrument in the light of their
own views and the opinion of the Council of Europe jurisconsult.
Among other aspects, they asked the authorities in Constanta to
bring the amended draft instrument into line with Romanian legislation
so as to meet the procedural requirements for the euroregion’s legal
seat to be in Romania. They also agreed that the euroregion would have
three focal points, namely, Constanta, Odessa and Samsun.
45 At the Strasbourg meeting, it was convened that the launching
conference of the euroregion would take place in Varna (Bulgaria).
Consequently, the Varna conference, scheduled for 26 September 2008,
will be the last in the series of the events aiming at establishing
the Black Sea euroregion, before its future operationalisation.
On this occasion, the signature of the Constituent Act of the Black
Sea Euroregion is equally foreseen.
46 Creating a Black Sea euroregion,
similar to the Adriatic euroregion, could make a significant contribution to
stim- ulating the democratic process and in the promotion of good
governance and strengthening security and stability in the area.
It would contribute to the promotion of sus- tainable development,
through improved social and eco- nomic cohesion and co-operation.
47 The Assembly should give its full support to the ini- tiative
of the Congress to create such a euroregion and should encourage
national parliaments to proceed with all necessary legislative reforms
for an efficient co-operation at regional level.
Reporting committee: Committee on the Environment, Agriculture
and Local and Regional Affairs.
Reference to committee: Doc. 10674 and Reference No. 3219 of 29 May 2006, extended until
29 November 2008.
Draft recommendation adopted unanimously by the com- mittee
on 10 June 2008.
Members of the committee: Mr Alan Meale (Chairperson), Mrs Maria
Manuela de Melo (1st Vice-Chairperson), Mr Juha Korkeaoja (2nd Vice-Chairperson),
Mr Cezar Florin Preda (alternate: Mr Laurentiu Mironescu) (3rd Vice-Chairman),
Mr Ruhi Açikgöz, Mr Miloš Aligrudić, Mr Gerolf Annemans, Mr Artashes
Avoyan, Mr Alexander Babakov, Mr Tommaso Barbato, Mr Rony Bargetze,
Mr Fabio Berardi, Mr Ivan Brajović, Mrs Pikria Chikhradze, Mr Veleriu
Cosarciuc, Mr Taulant Dedja, Mr Hubert Deittert,
Mr Miljenko Dorić, Mr Tomasz Dudziński,
Mr József Ékes, Mr Savo Erić, Mr Bill Etherington,
Mr Nigel Evans, Mr Ivàn Farkas, Mrs María
Emelina Fernàndez Soriano (alternate: Mr Gabino Puche), Mr Adolfo Fernandez Aguilar, Mr György
Frunda (alternate: Mr Attila Bela Ladislau Kelemen),
Ms Eva Garcia Pastor, Mr Zahari
Georgiev, Mr Konstantinos Gioulekas, Mr Peter Götz, Mr Rafael Huseynov,
Mr Jean Huss, Mr Fazail Ibrahimli,
Mr Ilie Ilaşcu, Mr Ivan Ivanov,
Mr Bjørn Jacobsen, Mr Gediminas Jakavonis,
Mrs Danuta Jazłowiecka, Mr Stanisław Kalemba (alternate: Mr Lukasz Zbonikowski), Mr Haluk Koç, Mr Gerhard
Kurzmann, Mr Dominique Le Mèner, Mr François Loncle, Mr Aleksei
Lotman, Mrs Kerstin Lundgren, Mr Theo Maissen, Mr Yevhen Marmazov, Mr Bernard Marquet, Mr José Mendes Bota, Mr Stefano
Morselli, Mr Pasquale Nessa,
Mr Tomislav Nikolić, Mrs Carina Ohlsson,
Mr Joe O’Reilly, Mr Germinal
Peiro, Mr Ivan Popescu, Mr Jakob Presečnik, Mr Jeffrey Pullicino
Orlando, Mrs Adoración Quesada Bravo, Mr Dario Rivolta, Mr René
Rouquet, Mrs Anta Rugāte, Mr Fidias Sarikas, Mr Herman Scheer, Mr Andreas
Schieder, Mr Steingrimur Sigfusson, Mr Hans Kristian Skibby, Mr Ladislav
Skopal, Mr Rainder Steenblock, Mr Valerij Sudarenkov, Mr Vilmos
Szabo, Mr Vyacheslav Timchenko, Mr Bruno Tobback (alternate: Mr Daniel Ducarme), Mr Nikolay Tulaev, Mr Tomas
Ulehla, Mr Mustafa Ünal, Mr Henk van Gerven, Mr Rudolf Vis, Mr Harm Evert Waalkens, Mr Hansjörg
Walter, Mr Blagoj Zasov, Mrs Roudoula Zissi.
N.B. The names of those members present at the meeting are
printed in bold.
See 20th Sitting, 23 June 2008 (adoption of the draft recom-
mendation); and Recommendation