Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

EU takes over HELCOM Chairmanship

​​​​​​​​​​Reaching a healthy Baltic Sea ecosystem by 2021, promoting innovation for a sustainable Blue Economy and tackling the challenge of regional governance are the main priorities for the European Union now chairing HELCOM until 30 June 2018. The Chairmanship of the Helsinki Commission rotates between all the Contracting Parties every two years according to their alphabetical order in English.​Ms Marianne Wenning, Director for Quality of Life, Water and Air in the European Commission, and Mr. Matjaž Malgaj, Head of the Unit that deals with Marine Environment and Water Industry, also in the European Commission, are nominated as Chair and Vice-Chair of HELCOM on behalf of the EU.  “It is an honour to take over the responsibilities of HELCOM Chair and also rather exciting at this point in time, as there are major deliverables expected in the next two years, including the first results of the HELCOM holistic assessment in mid-2017”, says Ms Wenning.  “The assessment will reveal the changes in the Baltic Sea ecosystem health since 2010 and provide a lot of new information about the pressures affecting the sea, as well as analysing the measures and economic impact”, she continues. The priorities of the EU Chairmanship also include responding effectively to key pressures by implementing the regional action plan for marine litter and promoting sustainable agricultural practices, among others. The EU intends to promote knowledge and innovation in the Baltic Sea, in particular by the use of the BONUS programme[1], and also foster a well-managed network of marine protected areas. In addition, the priorities lift up regional governance, more specifically securing cooperation with Regional Fisheries Bodies and contributing to international ocean governance. All the priorities of the EU Chairmanship of HELCOM have been summarized in a also available in print format. Estonia held the Chairmanship until 30 June 2016.  reflecting the accomplishments during that time have been prepared by the receding Chair, Harry Liiv, Estonia.[1] Joint Baltic Sea Research and Development Programme (BONUS), >> * * * Note for editors  is an intergovernmental organization made up of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. Founded in 1974, its primary aims as a governing body are to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution, as well as to ensure safe maritime navigation. The official name of HELCOM is the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission; it is the governing body of the Helsinki Convention. * * * For more information, please contact:Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at) Katarzyna WolosCommunications officeEnvironment Directorate-General (DG ENV) of the European CommissionTel: +32 229-97981E-mail: katarzyna.wolos(at)

Read the new priorities. The Chairmanship of the Helsinki Commission rotates between all the Contracting Parties every two years according to their alphabetical order in English.