Foreign Minister Baerbock is meeting with her counterparts from the countries bordering the Baltic Sea in Norway. After Russia's exit from the CBSS, the countries are faced with a new situation. In addition, it is about offshore wind energy, energy supplies and thousands of tons of ammunition on the Baltic Sea floor.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants to promote cooperation within the Baltic Sea region in the generation of offshore wind energy. The federal government will also use the forthcoming German presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the Greens politician announced at a ministerial meeting in Kristiansand, Norway, which is taking place on Wednesday. Germany takes over the presidency from Norway on July 1 for one year. It is the first meeting of the CBSS after Russia's expulsion and withdrawal from the body because of the war of aggression in Ukraine.
With electricity from wind and other renewable energy sources, one frees oneself from Russian energy imports and combats global warming, explained Baerbock. "The phase-out of fossil fuels is therefore not only a climate policy necessity, but also a security policy imperative." The meeting in Kristiansand is also likely to deal with other consequences of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine that has been going on for three months. Baerbock is also planning bilateral talks with her Norwegian counterpart, Anniken Huitfeldt. The following points should be on the German Foreign Minister’s meeting note:
offshore wind energy
Alongside wind power on land and solar energy, offshore wind power is a central pillar in the expansion of green electricity in Germany. In the coalition agreement, the traffic light government made up of SPD, Greens and FDP has significantly increased the expansion targets for offshore wind energy compared to the previous government. Instead of 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 and 40 GW by 2040, it should now be 30 GW by 2030, 40 GW by 2035 and 70 GW by 2045. There are currently 1,501 wind turbines with almost 7.8 GW in operation in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, largely in offshore areas in the so-called exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which Germany is allowed to use exclusively in international waters.
Norway as an important energy supplier
According to the federal government, Norway is Germany's second most important energy supplier after Russia. A third of natural gas imports and around seven percent of oil imports (as of March 2022) come from Norway. Conversely, Germany is Norway's largest consumer of gas. The first power cable connection Nordlink between Norway and Germany is an important element of the German energy transition. Regular commercial operation has been running since April 2021. The aim is to exchange German wind energy with Norwegian hydropower.
The CBSS, its members and goals
In addition to Germany and Norway, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, founded in 1992, also includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, Iceland and the EU. Russia's membership was suspended in early March. As a result, Moscow announced its withdrawal last week. Before the attack on Ukraine, the Council was one of the rounds in which concrete cooperation on technical issues with Moscow was possible. He has set himself the goal of creating a regional identity and promoting security, sustainability and prosperity.
NATO membership of Sweden and Finland
Before she left for Norway, Baerbock explained that there was also a turning point in security policy in the Baltic Sea region. It was never planned that Sweden and Finland now wanted to join NATO. But Russia left the two countries with no other choice. "They are a real asset for our alliance," said the minister. "We will do our utmost to support our partners on the way there - they already have our full solidarity."
Turkey is currently blocking a quick start of NATO accession talks with Sweden and Finland. The government in Ankara has raised security concerns over alleged support from both countries for the banned Kurdish Workers' Party PKK and the Kurdish militia YPG in Syria.
Ammunition dumps in the Baltic Sea
Ministers are also expected to address WWII munitions, sustainable development, maritime governance, human trafficking, child protection and civil protection. In addition to posing a threat to shipping traffic, the old ammunition could also pose a threat to wind farms in the Baltic Sea. New financial commitments from Germany were not expected here.
According to estimates, there are 300,000 tons of conventional ammunition and 42,000 to 65,000 tons of chemical warfare agents in the Baltic Sea that were dumped there after the Second World War.