The PABSEC’s active interaction with European and international parliamentary assemblies represents a major contribution to joint efforts for strengthening the role of the parliamentary diplomacy aimed at consolidating peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
The PABSEC has established its own identity on the international scene. It is developing cooperation with other international parliamentary organizations, such as the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the WEU Assembly, the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Commonwealth of Independent States, the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Eurasian Economic Community and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which have an observer status with PABSEC. Contacts have been initiated with the Parliamentary Dimension of the Central European Initiative, the Council of Baltic States, the Nordic Council, the UNESCO, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Parliamentary Network of the World Bank. Participation by the high-level representatives of the Assembly in the above-mentioned organizations’ meetings and other international gatherings, and the regular representation of these organizations in the PABSEC meetings, gave a new impetus to the expansion of PABSEC cooperation with other international organizations.
At a time when the European Union undergoes enlargement, involving also some of the PABSEC Member-Countries, when the BSEC Organization is placing relations with the European Union among its priorities, relations between the PABSEC and the European Parliament have reached a significant stage. The Assembly has constantly voiced in favor of strengthening the relations of the two parliamentary bodies in particular through an institutionalized mode of interaction. The results of the first visit by a PABSEC delegation to the European Parliament, in 5-6 March 2002 indicated the will of both sides to deepen collaboration.
Within the framework of further developing cooperation between the PABSEC and the European Parliament and in particular with a view to implement the initiative of the Hellenic PABSEC Presidency on cultural aspects of cooperation with the EP, a high-level PABSEC delegation paid a working visit to the European Parliament in May 2003. During the meetings with EP representaitves it was agreed that agreed that there was a need for a structured and programmed PABSEC-EP cooperation, which could include information exchange, participation in each other’s meetings, study visits for parliamentarians to the European Parliament, special projects reflecting requirements of the PABSEC member states in various fields of legislation, joint gatherings on the issues representing common interest with participation both the parliamentarians and experts, as well as traineeship programmes for PABSEC Secretariat staff and staff from the national parliaments of the PABSEC member states.
In May 2004, the special representative of the PABSEC President, Mr. Konstantin Markelov, Deputy Head of the Russian PABSEC Delegation and First Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Federation Committee on CIS Affairs, paid a working visit for holding consultations with the leadership of the European Parliament.
The Assembly adopted the Recommendations on “The Black Sea region within the context of the enlargement of the European Union” (rec.73/2003) and “Framework of cooperation between the PABSEC and the European Parliament” (rec.76/2004), calling on the representatives of the national parliaments of the PABSEC countries to ensure that the norms, standards, principles, policies and practices of the EU are promoted and shared paving the way towards peaceful, secure and prosperous life of the peoples in the Black Sea region and integration into a common European space, strengthening stability in Europe and beyond and responding to the common challenges of the continent through intensified cooperation. The national parliaments and parliamentarians have a crucial role to play in turning the opportunities provided by the EU enlargement into the benefits for the member countries and the BSEC region as a whole. In the Recommendation on Cultural, Educational and Social Aspects of the EU Enlargement: Consequences for the Black Sea Region (rec.86/2005), the Assembly welcomes the process of enlargement because it is able to provide to BSEC members states the opportunity to develop closer relations with the European Union, expand and stabilize their relations, ensure their security and provide prosperity. On the other hand, while the Assembly realizes that the European integration will undoubtedly benefit BSEC member states, under the same perspective it believes that each BSEC member country should seek to protect its own educational, cultural and social identity.
Upon the invitation of the PABSEC Secretary General, Mr. Miroslav Ouzky, Vice-President of the European Parliament paid a working visit to the PABSEC International Secretariat in February 2006 to discuss prospects for more active relations between the PABSEC and the European Parliament, as well as topical issues regarding the European integration and bilateral relations between the Republic of Turkey and the European Union.
The Assembly also discussed The Partnership and Cooperation Agreements between the European Union and the six BSEC member states (the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine) (rec.96/2007), which have established a viable partnership based on shared common values with regard to democracy, the rule of law and respect for human and civil rights. The active involvement of the European Union in the BSEC region shall reinforce further integration of the BSEC states within the European architecture and serve the aim to eliminate possible dividing lines on the European continent. The Assembly encourages the new impetus for increased relationship between the EU and the BSEC member states in all existing formats including the Partnership and Cooperation Agreements and calls on the parliaments and governments of the BSEC member states to further enhance the cooperation frameworks.
At the invitation of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, a PABSEC Delegation paid a working visit to the European Parliament on 27-28 February 2007. The delegation had meetings with members of the Bureau and staff of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, the members of the Delegation to the EU-South Caucasus (EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia) and the EU-Moldova Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, with the Vice-Chairmen of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, as well as with the representatives of the European Commission and the EP’s Directorate General of External Policies for the promotion of democracy. During the meetings, the parties agreed on the need to step up PABSEC-EP cooperation both on a political level and through various practical activities.
In June 2007, a series of consultations were held between the delegation of the European Parliament, formed composed of Ms. Roberta Alma ANASTASE, Rapporteur of the European Parliament on Black Sea Synergy, Member of the Security and Defence Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee, Ms. Lydie POLFER, Rapporteur of the European Parliament on South Caucasus, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Ms. Aneta POPESCU-BLACK, Desk Officer for Moldova, the South Caucasus and the Black Sea in the Directorate General for External Policies of the Union and PABSEC national delegations. The members of the EP delegation reaffirmed the growing interest of the European Union in the Black Sea Region, which was reflected in a number of ways in the European Parliament. The parties agreed to continue their political consultations with a view to contributing to the preparation of the relevant Reports in the European Parliament and promoting a closer interaction between the Black Sea countries and the European Union.
Parliamentarians, through their participation in regional and international parliamentary organizations, bring their contribution to political stability by means of closer cooperation and regional integration. In this respect, the active interaction of PABSEC and its member parliaments with European parliamentary organizations will undoubtedly pave the way towards a constructive contribution to joint efforts and undertakings for democratic development and strengthening political stability (rec. 55/2001).