Extracts from the common statement on the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea area, extracts from the plenary session of the EP
Type: Institutional activity
End production: 16/09/2009
The European Commission adopted a Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region on 10 June 2009.
This followed a request from the EU Member States. Since the EU enlargement of 2004, challenges facing the Region of the Baltic Sea have increased. Escalating environmental threats, gaps in economic development and poor transport accessibility are issues which need to be tackled urgently. The Strategy aims at coordinating action by Member States, regions, the EU, pan-Baltic organisations, financing institutions and non-governmental bodies to promote a more balanced development of the Region.
The four cornerstones of the Strategy are to make this part of Europe more:
1. Environmentally sustainable (e.g. reducing pollution in the sea);
2. Prosperous (e.g. promoting innovation in small and medium enterprises);
3. Accessible and attractive (e.g. better transport links);
4. Safe and secure (e.g. improving accident response).
The proposal is being discussed by the European Parliament and Member States.
Agreement is expected by the end of 2009. It is also one of the priority issues for the Swedish EU Presidency.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
|| Exterior view of the European Parliament in Strasbourg
|| Soundbite by Cecilia Malmström, Swedish Minister for EU Affairs and President in office of the Council, (in SWEDISH): the aim of the strategy is to improve the environment in the Baltic and also increase integration and competiveness in the area; there are 4 main challenges in the strategy: firstly to secure a sustainable environment, to increase prosperity, to increase accessibility and attractiveness of the region and to guarantee safety and security in the region; one of the main priorities of course is to tackle environmental questions; there are many serious threats to the environment in the Baltic.
We don't need any new funds for the strategy; the strategy is based on already existing EU programmes and stretches; the idea is to find a better way to coordinate them; we are not going to be able to achieve our goals over night; but we remain ambitious, we deserve a cleaner Baltic and this should be an area which offers the prospect of sustainable economic development across borders; if we can achieve this I am convinced that we'll be able to serve the Baltic regions' interests and hopefully create a model which can be effectively used in other regions.
|| Soundbite by Paweł Samecki, Member of the EC in charge of Regional Policy, (in ENGLISH): the overall approach is that policy orientations will be taken by the Council, their coordination, monitoring and reporting is done by the Commission, and the implementation on the ground is led by the Member States or by organisations of the Baltic Sea region; in addition, the Commission proposes to play the role of a facilitator in the case of difficulties; we can redirect the use of existing EU funds, for example by changing criteria for selecting new projects; second possibility, we can have recourse to other sources, like the international finance institutions; and finally - although it is difficult at the time of economic recession - we can try to use national resources.
|| Soundbite by Tunne Kelam, Member of the EP, (in ENGLISH): provided we take the maximum use of the BSS, this region could well become a success story of what's now called Lisbon programme; second, just now the region needs more than ever better access to and security of energy supplies; the EU and Member States have to agree on providing alternative channels for energy deliveries; first and foremost it comes down to creating a united energy system around the Baltic Sea; the issue of bilateral and primarily political projects should be settled through respecting the rightful interests of all States around the Sea and certainly not before the Russian government joins the conventions.
|| Soundbite by Constanze Angela Krehl, Member of the EP, (in GERMAN) on financing: that is very important; because I know that States, regions and local authorities are coming to me saying: we want to get involved in the Baltic strategy, what do we do? what funding can we get, what projects should be set up?; and if we don't have a good answer for them and we can't explain how it's being organised, then obviously that enthusiasm and devotion that people have, citizens across Europe in different organisations, to get involved, is going to vain away and be wasted; so we must avoid that and we must work hard on that.
|| Soundbite by Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Member of the EP, (in FINNISH): my group is particularly happy with the fact that Sweden has brought forward the activities against human trafficking and smuggling; I like to thank Mrs Malmström because I feel I can sense her ideas behind these writings; it is amazing that in this day and age we truly have to speak about human trafficking around that sea; we do need a programme to stop that human trafficking.
|| Soundbite by Isabella Lövin, Member of the EP, (in SWEDISH): there are two main threats to the Baltic, one is eutrophication and the other is overfishing; and all researchers agree on that; in effect new research has shown that the lack of top predators in the Baltic including caught has lead to even more alga bloom in the Baltic; we do need a balanced ecosystem there.
|| Cutaways (5 shots)