EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

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24-26 October 2011 – Gdansk – European Commission's 2nd Annual Forum on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region/ 13th Baltic Development Forum Summit.

24-26 October 2011 – Gdansk – European Commission's 2nd Annual Forum on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region/ 13th Baltic Development Forum Summit

The European Commission adopted the first Report on the Implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region on 22 June 2011. The Report is available here.

The European Commission adopted a Communication on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region on 10 June 2009. This followed a request from EU Member States (1). This is the first time that a comprehensive Strategy, covering several Community policies, is targeted on a 'macro-region'.

About eighty flagship projects are listed in the accompanying Action Plan, which will be reviewed regularly. The May 2010 version is available here and December 2010 version is available here

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What is the aim of the Strategy?

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).

Why is a Strategy needed?

Since the EU enlargement of 2004, challenges facing the Region have increased. Escalating environmental threats, gaps in economic development and poor transport accessibility are issues which need to be tackled urgently. Many of these problems can only be addressed through better coordination and joint action. The EU is well-placed to facilitate this.

What happens next?

The European Council endorsed the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in October 2009(2) under the Swedish EU Presidency. Over the course of 2010, the Strategy will be implemented with a stakeholder forum scheduled for 13-15 October 2010 in Tallinn, Estonia.

Several convergence, competitiveness and co-operation programmes are co-financed from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the Baltic Sea Region in the period 2007-2013.

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(1) European Council Conclusions of 14 December 2007, point 59:
"Without prejudice to the integrated maritime policy, the European Council invites the Commission to present an EU strategy for the Baltic Sea region at the latest by June 2009.
This strategy should inter alia help to address the urgent environmental challenges related to the Baltic Sea. The Northern Dimension framework provides the basis for the external aspects of cooperation in the Baltic Sea region."

(2) European Council Conclusions 29/30 October 2009 , points 35 - 36 :

"35. The European Council adopts the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and endorses the Council conclusions on the subject (13744/09). This Strategy constitutes an integrated framework to address common challenges, i.a. the urgent environmental challenges related to the Baltic Sea, and to contribute to the economic success of the region and to its social and territorial cohesion, as well as to the competitiveness of the EU.
36. The European Council calls upon all relevant actors to act speedily and ensure full implementation of the Strategy, which could constitute an example of a macro-regional strategy. It invites the Commission to present a progress report to the Council by June 2011."