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Your Majesty, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank the Finnish President and the Finnish Prime Minister for taking the initiative to host this summit. You have mobilised strong support for our environment in the Baltic Sea area through your common initiative and – needless to say – I fully agree. You can count on Denmark’s full support in your endeavours.
We have come a long way in our cooperation in the Baltic Sea area, both politically and economically. The Baltic Sea is no longer the dividing factor it was 20 years ago. Today the Baltic Sea connects our countries but it is also our common responsibility. Therefore, a common and coordinated effort is required to ensure a Baltic Sea with a sustainable environment.
We need to look closely at our current efforts. Where we can add value. Where we can strengthen existing structures or projects to ensure that they remain relevant and effective. Denmark remains committed to the projects and initiatives which have been launched and we are constantly looking to improve our contributions and performance.
The HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan is an important instrument. A major part of Denmark’s obligations is based on the ambitious Green Growth Agreement that my government approved in June last year. We introduced a range of environmental procedures, especially in the area of farming, which we are willing to share with other countries. Until 2015 the Green Growth Agreement will enable investments in the range of 13.5 billion Danish kroner equivalent to 2 billion Euros.
But we know that in order to achieve the ambitious goals of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, we must also look beyond the context of HELCOM.
We support public-private partnerships as an important tool to improve the Baltic Sea environment – the concept of this summit. The Danish Ministry of Environment is currently preparing a public-private partnership meeting to enable Denmark to ratify the Ballast Water Convention by 2011. The partnership will promote know-how, networking and development.
The EU has also proven to be an effective instrument in our joint effort to improve the environment of the Baltic Sea. Within the remit of the recently adopted EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, Denmark has assumed the role of coordinator for three out of fifteen priority areas. In addition we are coordinating another three priority areas in cooperation with Germany, Latvia and our hosts Finland, respectively. These include, inter alia, maritime security and clean shipping. We are very much involved.
Within this framework maritime surveillance is a cornerstone in properly administering the safety and security of the Baltic region. On that line, the flagship project under the EU strategy aiming at “the Baltic Sea becoming a pilot region for the integration of maritime surveillance systems” is very much on our mind. I can assure you of Denmark’s support for an early initiation and a successful completion of the project.
Close cooperation with Russia on the initiatives of the EU Strategy is of particular importance. I am very pleased to note the interest shown by Russia to participate in the development of concrete initiatives.
Bilaterally, Baltic Sea States are already working closely together to improve maritime surveillance. Negotiations between Sweden and Denmark to establish a common Vessel Traffic Service in Oresund are ongoing. Such a system enhances safety and prevent accidents, which could harm the environment.
Last but not least, Denmark has an active role in the International Maritime Organisation to ensure that international shipping contributes to the reduction of green house gas emissions. Denmark would like to see a binding international regulation which covers all ships regardless of flag.
In conclusion, let me express my hope and belief that by coming together here today we will drive the goal of a clean Baltic Sea forward. We only have one Baltic Sea and it’s our joint responsibility to take care of it. Denmark remains strongly committed to that goal. Thank you.