EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

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    Interreg transnational cooperation programmes have been operational for more than 20 years, implementing actions in the framework of the EU Cohesion Policy. These programmes bring together European regions and cities that are located in different countries yet are sharing many challenges and opportunities due to their common geography, history, and culture. 

    The geographic and cultural similarities defining the transnational programme areas provide an excellent basis for cooperation. In transnational projects, actors from the private and public sectors, universities and civil society organisations work closely together to advance new or improved solutions designed to meet the most pressing needs of their populations. But what does that mean in real terms? What do transnational cooperation projects and their results imply for the regions, cities, and citizens? Whilst it is impossible to present the full scope, diversity and added value of transnational cooperation in just a few pages, the publication '10 Things to Know About Transnational Cooperation' aims at providing a flavour of what is the role and achievements of Interreg transnational/interregional programmes across Europe. 

    The document was prepared by an informal working group including representatives from Interreg transnational programmes and Interreg Europe, with the support and facilitation of Interact.

    European Territorial Co-operation 

    In January 2018, the European Commission adopted the first-ever ‘European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy’. The macro-regional EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is already in full speed fighting against plastic marine litter. The BLASTIC project, an EUSBSR flagship under policy area ‘Hazards’, aims to reduce plastic waste and, thereby, the inflow of hazardous substances into the Baltic Sea by mapping and monitoring the amounts of litter in the aquatic environment. As a result, the project compiles a list of sources and pathways, as well as recommendations for resource efficiency in the waste and water sector. The methodology is implemented in 3-4 urban areas and the concept is further promoted in other areas. As a result of the project, the amount and inflow of plastic marine litter and hazardous substances into the Baltic Sea will be reduced. 

    How does the BLASTIC project contribute to the objectives of the EUSBSR? 

    "With the European Commission launching a ‘Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy’ just this January 2018 the project BLASTIC is already well on its way to support the implementation of this ambitious EU strategy by actively addressing a number of actions helping to reach the vision for Europe’s new plastics economy. In BLASTIC, countries are engaging and cooperating to halt the flow of plastics into the oceans and taking remedial action against plastics waste already accumulated. Best practices are disseminated widely, scientific knowledge improves, citizens are mobilised and cities become cleaner. Furthermore the project is contributing to a better understanding of origin, routes of travel and effects on human health. BLASTIC is by all means a frontrunner project on the issue of plastics and marine litter and the Baltic Sea region again serves as model cooperation for the whole of Europe. This is why we, as policy area coordinator, see BLASTIC as a true flagship in the EUSBSR". 

    - Maxi Nachtigall, coordinator of policy area ‘Hazards’, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 

    The BLASTIC project is co-funded by the Interreg Central Baltic Programme and it is led by Keep Sweden Tidy. Project partners include Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association (Finland), IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute (Sweden), Tallinn City Government (Estonia), City of Turku (Finland), Stockholm Environment Institute Tallinn Centre (Sweden), and Foundation for Environmental Education Latvia (Latvia). 

    For more information see here.

    The study ‘Macro-regional strategies and their links with cohesion policy’, contracted by Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy and conducted by a consortium led by COWI company, aims first at describing the main features of each macro-region (Baltic, Danube, Adriatic and Ionian, and Alpine) through a range of macroeconomic, competitiveness, integration and governance indicators. It assesses to what extent the strategies contribute to coordination and synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds and other EU policies and instruments. The study also takes stock of strategies' main achievements and appraises their socio-economic impact. It also identifies the barriers to overcome and the drivers to use in order to make them more efficient and finally looks at the potential of the macro-regional approach to contribute to the future cohesion policy. 

    This comprehensive study is based on the analysis of existing literature, desk research, interpretation of hundreds of data, and a survey sent to more than six thousands macro-regional stakeholders. The report is composed of five documents: one core report summarising the main findings of the study and one annex per strategy compiling data and findings concerning each of them. 

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


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.


To get in contact with the EUSBSR team in DG REGIO, please email

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