On 26th of October 2015, the Declaration on the establishment of the Association of Constitutional Justice of the Countries of the Baltic and Black Sea Regions (BBCJ) was signed by Presidents of the Constitutional Courts of Lithuania and three European Union’s Eastern Partnership countries — Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. BBCJ has thus launched a new-quality cooperation between constitutional courts of the region.
Alexandru Tănase, President of the Constitutional Court of Moldova, emphasised that the countries that joined the Association are united by the obligation to respect and protect the same European democratic values, by similar history, and by comparable current issues, and that determined the appearance of new regional cooperation. He stated that “our countries share many things in common. The similar historical challenges, which we faced in the past, revealed the true value of freedom and democracy. Today, in the face of new threats to security and constitutional values, we stand united. We share the same values, have the same aspirations and I am confident that we will have the same future — a European future.”
Lithuanian Constitutional Court’s President, Dainius Žalimas, noted that the Association has been established in order to take the long-standing cooperation between constitutional courts to a new level, to institutionalise it, as well as to promote and strengthen the motivation of the countries partners to participate in joint activities. It is hoped that the new regional cooperation of constitutional courts will open opportunities for the legal communities of Lithuania and other Baltic countries to even more actively contribute to the strengthening of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights in the Eastern Partnership countries, that such cooperation will help generate new initiatives which will ensure a firm and consistent support for Eastern partners that have chosen the European integration.
“These states now need total support in efforts to preserve their European choice and territorial integrity. The geopolitical challenges and attempts to make these countries turn away from European political and value space shows that there is a big need to strengthen the independent Constitutional Courts of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine as well as the European dimension in the activity of these courts,” stated the Lithuanian Constitutional Court’s President D. Žalimas. In addition, he noted that the new regional cooperation will provide the constitutional courts with more opportunities to share their good experience more efficiently and more frequently, and to put such experience into practice.
Georgia’s Constitutional Court’s President George Papuashvili stated that he believed that the Association would prompt an even more intensive and meaningful dialogue between constitutional courts. According to him, “this Association means a new-quality cooperation between our courts.”
Ukraine’s Constitutional Court’s Chairman, Yurii Baulin noted that it is important and useful for the countries which have chosen the European integration to learn from those countries that have already successfully implemented complex reforms in the sphere of justice.
The Declaration on the establishment of the Association underlines the constitutional courts’ role of utmost importance in affirming the supremacy of the Constitution and constitutional justice, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and expresses the need to respect the independence and sovereignty of states, and the territorial integrity thereof.
The Association also affirms the resolve of the partners to jointly represent the interests of the regional constitutional courts in the constitutional-justice world and European forums. It is worth mentioning that all the constitutional courts that have joined the Association supported the initiative the Constitutional Court of Ukraine to condemn the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation of 19 March 2014 that paved the way to the annexation by Russia of a part of Ukraine’s territory — the Crimea.
It is hoped that more institutions that exercise constitutional jurisdiction will join the Association in the future.
Moldova’s Constitutional Court is holding the presidency of the Association in the current year, as the state initiating the Declaration on the Establishment of the Association of Constitutional Justice of the Countries of the Baltic and Black Sea Regions.