EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

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    Today the European Commission adopted the first ever single report on the implementation of the four existing European Union (EU) macro-regional strategies: the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region and the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region

    The report provides an assessment of the state of implementation of the current strategies and takes stock of the main results achieved to date. It draws lessons from the experience gained so far and presents a number of recommendations on possible developments of the strategies and their action plans, also in the light of the future cohesion policy. 

    Common cross-cutting issues relevant for all four strategies are addressed in the report, regardless of their degree of maturity (e.g. policy making and planning, governance, monitoring and evaluation, funding and communication). Key results and challenges for each macro-regional strategy are presented in specific sections. 

    Overall the implementation of the four EU macro-regional strategies, covering 19 EU Member States and 8 non-EU countries, has generated stronger interest in and awareness of the European territorial cooperation and territorial cohesion and its added value. They have led to increased coordination and strengthened cooperation in certain areas (e.g. navigability, energy, climate change) and between countries concerned, as well as intensified cooperation with non-EU countries, bringing them closer to the EU. Strategies have also contributed to shaping policy, implementation of existing legislation and a deeper dialogue between different actors. 

    However, the strategies have not shown yet their full potential and certain challenges still need to be overcome. Greater ownership and responsibility need to be retained by Member States who initiated the strategies; effectiveness of governance systems needs to be improved; relevant existing funding sources (EU, regional, national) need to be better coordinated. The report also underlines the importance of administrative resources and capacity to deliver the set objectives. 

    Certain questions are raised in the light of future cohesion policy. These are, in particular, concerning synergies and complementarities between EU macro-regional strategies and programmes supported by the European Structural and Investment Funds, as well as alignment of strategies with Interreg transnational programmes and further improvement of governance system. 

    The report is accompanied by a Commission Staff Working Document which provides more detailed information concerning the state of implementation of each macro-regional strategy, as well as specific recommendations. 

    The report provides a comprehensive understanding on how the four EU macro-regional strategies work by including concrete examples implemented in the respective areas. Each of these has specific added-value, such:

    • the quality of the Baltic Sea water is improving and nutrient inflows are being reduced through implementation of projects like PRESTO or Interactive water management (IWAMA);
    • innovative and sustainable use of marine resources and cooperation between relevant actors and initiatives in the Baltic Sea region in this field is being further actively promoted by the SUBMARINER Network;
    • in the Danube river basin, the coordinated management of water and risk management though projects like SEERISK reduces considerably the risk of damage by floods;
    • bottlenecks to navigability of the Danube are being removed and security of navigation improved though projects like FAIRWAY and DARIF;
    • cooperation with EU countries on concrete issues of common interest within the EU Strategy for Adriatic and Ionian Region helps Western Balkan participating countries paving their way towards the EU accession;
    • aiming at a sustainable economic growth respectful of the environment, green/blue corridors linking land and sea in the Adriatic and Ionian Sea have been identified as a key area where strategic projects should be promoted;
    • establishing a cross-border educational space for dual vocational training in the Alpine region is addressed through projects like ‘mountErasmus’;
    • cross-border connectivity in the Alpine region is improved with regard to passenger transport by developing ‘AlpInfoNet’ into a cross-border travel information system. 

    More information

    A new tool for searching funding for projects in the Baltic Sea Region has been developed by INTERACT and Swedish Institute. Baltic Funding Portal is an inventory of more than 300 funding instruments making cooperation possible in the Baltic Sea Region.

    The Baltic Funding inventory includes more than 300 funding instruments. They cover public and private funding sources from all Baltic Sea countries (Germany, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia), including the non-EU countries such as Norway and Russia. In addition, EU-wide funding programmes are included.

    The added value of Baltic Funding Portal is that it presents many funding instruments for the first time in English language. More detailed information is available in the original language and on the original web-sites of the instruments. 

    Test Baltic Funding Portal and find the funding for your next cooperation project! And don't forget to use KEEP database to see what kind of projects have already been funded and implemented.

    EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region 

     

     

    The 7th Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) starts on Tuesday 8th November in Stockholm

    Corina Creţu, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Stefan Löfven Prime Minister of Sweden, Juha Sipilä, Prime Minister of Finland who holds the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, and representatives from the eight countries participating in EUSBSR will discuss during the 2 days how best to drive the region forward.

    Corina Creţu, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy said: "For seven years now, the EU Baltic Sea Strategy, the first macro-regional strategy ever, has enabled cooperation on challenges which cannot be addressed at national level: clean and safe shipping, climate change adaptation and improved transport networks, to name a few, but more needs to be done. In particular, renewed and constant political commitment, efficient pooling of resources and communication efforts to show the value added of the Strategy".

    Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden added: "The Strategy Forum in Stockholm will focus on the future with a vision 2030 for the Baltic Sea Region. I believe that our region can provide an encouraging example to others of how to co-operate around the UN Agenda 2030. By cooperating we make sure that our region stays competitive, environmentally friendly and creates jobs for the future.” 

    Juha Sipilä, Prime Minister of Finland said: “The Nordic Council of Ministers supports a transition away from the fossil fuel dependency of our societies and towards a sustainable bio-based economy in the Baltic Sea Region. In my vision of the Baltic Sea Region in 2030, the region will be a world leader in the circular economy and the bioeconomy, and this will have led to a much cleaner Baltic Sea and helped in mitigating climate change.” 

    The debates will focus on future challenges and opportunities for the Baltic Sea Region and a vision for 2030. In more than 40 sessions and seminars over 1200 participants will discuss how the Strategy can contribute to development within its three objectives: Save the Sea, Connect the Region, and Increase Prosperity.

    The Strategy Forum is the most important yearly event for the EUSBSR, and is hosted by Sweden together with the Nordic Council of Ministers and in close cooperation with the European Commission. Stakeholders from the private sector, national and regional governments, civil society, academia and media are expected to participate.

    This is the 7th edition, after those organised in Estonia (2010), Poland (2011), Denmark (2012), Lithuania (2013), Finland (2014) and Latvia (2015). The 8th Strategy Forum will be held in Germany on 13-14 June 2017. 

    Further information

More news

The European Commission coordinates the efforts of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. For news and information on the activities and progress of the Strategy as curated by the various stakeholders, please visit the EUSBSR's dedicated website at www.balticsea-region-strategy.eu.

 

The EUSBSR is the first comprehensive EU strategy to target a ‘macro-region’.

The eight EU countries that make up the Baltic Sea Region (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland) face several common challenges which are reflected in the jointly-agreed Action Plan for the Strategy. It includes a number of policy areas/horizontal actions to save the sea, connect the region and increase prosperity – each accompanied by concrete flagships as well as by clearly identified targets and indicators. The Strategy helps to mobilise all relevant EU funding and policies and coordinate the actions of the European Union, EU countries, regions, pan-Baltic organisations, financing institutions and non-governmental bodies to promote a more balanced development of the Baltic Sea Region.

The Commission publishes regular reports on the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

Achievements so far include:

  • Support for new projects, including cooperation between farmers to reduce eutrophication and improved planning for transport infrastructure;
  • Greater involvement of Russian partners in areas like environmental protection, water quality and innovation;
  • Improved cooperation between regions and other partners, including the private sector

Although the Strategy does not come with extra EU financing, a considerable amount of funding is already available to the region through EU regional policy, other EU programmes and financial instruments, and various international financial institutions. More information on funding may be found at the EUSBSR website.

Contacts

To get in contact with the EUSBSR team in DG REGIO, please email REGIO-EU-BALTIC-SEA-STRATEGY@ec.europa.eu.

For more information on how to get in contact with EUSBSR stakeholders, please visit the EUSBSR website.