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REGION OF THE WEEK:

Baltic Sea Region

EU Strategy for the Baltic Region

19/06/2012

On 18 June Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn attended the third Annual Forum on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region held jointly with the 14th Baltic Development Forum Summit in Copenhagen on 18-19 June. The Commissioner also attended the 'Networking and Project Village' of the Forum, where flagship projects of this macro-region will showcase their activities.

The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region was launched by the Commission on 10 June 2009 to boost development in the Baltic Sea Region to the benefit of nearly 100 million people living there. For the eight EU Member States concerned - Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – the Strategy represents an innovative way of working together in the European Union – a macro-regional approach allowing regions to cooperate across borders to find common solutions to shared challenges.

'Northern Dimension' - a common policy of the EU, Russia, Norway and Iceland, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, HELCOM (The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission) and the Nordic Council of Ministers- provides the frame for external cooperation of the Strategy.

Implementation reports from June 2011 and March 2012 indicate very encouraging results and successes.

 

What are the region's priorities?

The eight EU Member States that implement the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region face common challenges like shortcomings in maritime safety and security, sea pollution and climate change, uneven economic development, insufficient energy transmission and supply support, gaps in transport as well as transport bottlenecks at the external borders.

Therefore the Strategy has three main objectives: "To Save the Sea", "To Connect the Region" and "To Increase Prosperity".

These priorities are implemented via a detailed Action Plan which sets out 15 Priority Areas and some 80 concrete Flagship Projects.

 

What contribution does the EU’s regional policy make?

Although the Strategy does not come with extra EU finance, a considerable amount – 208 M€ regional policy funding and 8.8 M€ neighbourhood policy funding - is available to this macro-region for the period 2007-2013.

Especially following EU regional policy programmes are important for the implementation of the Strategy:

Moreover, the Strategy mobilizes many other EU policies to support the development of the macro region like for instance environment policy with the LIFE Programme or Research and Innovation policy with the Bonus – Joint Baltic Sea Research Programme.

 

Project examples

  • AQUABEST: ERDF contribution 2.7 M€
  • AQUABEST is the first Baltic Sea Region-wide consortium of regional authorities, producer organisations, academy and stakeholders with a mission to develop common strategy for sustainable aquaculture production in the region. AQUABEST will present a toolbox of innovative practices and technologies, test them, and provide an Aquaculture Vision acceptable by all stakeholders. AQUABEST is composed of active aquaculture actors within the region. The project has 14 partners from 8 countries and some 15 associated partners representing development and research institutions, national and regional authorities, producer organizations, and NGO.

  • BALTADAPT: ERDF contribution 2.1 M€

    BALTADAPT seeks to develop a Baltic Sea Region-wide climate change adaptation strategy focusing on the sea itself and its coastline. The project's aim is twofold: Improving the knowledge process between political decision makers and researchers to lead to improved institutional capacity - The “Baltic Window” shall be the hub for decision makers from the Baltic Sea Region- and providing the operational basis for implementing the BSR-wide Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to influence policies, programmes and regulations.

  • IMPRIM: ERDF contribution 1.9 M€

    IMPRIM is a project on primary health care (PHC) which aims at promoting equitably distributed high quality PHC services in the Baltic Sea Region in order to increase the cost-efficiency of the public health system and more efficiently counteract communicable diseases as well as health problems related to social factors. The project tackles three core areas: Access to PHC, financial resources for PHC, and professional development of PHC staff. It is strongly supported by the Ministries for Health of the Baltic Sea Region States.

  • PURE: ERDF contribution 2 M€

    The Project on Urban Reduction of Eutrophication (PURE) implements one of the most effective and quickest ways to tackle eutrophication due to overload of nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus that enter the sea from land. It enhances phosphorus removal at selected municipal wastewater treatment plant in the Baltic Sea Region. PURE partner water utilities aim to achieve an average annual concentration of 0.5 mg phosphorus / liter in outgoing wastewaters which is the level recommanded to reach a good environmental status of the sea. The phosphorus removed from the wastewaters stays in the wastewater sludge and it is essential to prevent this phosphorus from ending up in the watercourses. PURE also maps, develops and shares good practices and innovative techniques to handle the wastewater sludge.

  • SCIENCE LINK: ERDF contribution 2.7 M€

    Since major research infrastructure in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) is mainly located in its western parts, SCIENCE LINK aims to establish a network of contact and consultation points in the Baltic Sea Region designed to provide convenient information on opportunities offered by large-scale research infrastructures in the Baltic Sea Region. It will offer valuable advice and support in finding appropriate instruments and services tailored for the specific needs of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. The planned activities will have a strong impact on the commercial sector especially in the eastern European countries of the BSR.

  • TRANSBALTIC: ERDF contribution 4 M€

    The overall project objective is to provide regional level incentives to create an integrated transport system in the Baltic Sea Region by means of joint transport development measures and jointly implemented business concepts. An umbrella framework would contribute to create synergies between individual transnational transport projects and pan-Baltic transport development concepts.

 

Further information