COMMUNICATION concerning the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region
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Eight of the nine states bordering the Baltic Sea are members of the European Union. The introduction of Community rules, and the opportunities created by Community instruments and policies (for example cohesion policy, the strategy for sustainable development, environmental policy, the integrated maritime policy, the internal market and the Lisbon Agenda) have opened important new possibilities for a more effective co-ordination of activities, thus delivering higher standards of living for the citizens of these Member States. However, even with good levels of international and inter-regional communication and cooperation, full advantage of the new opportunities that EU membership provides has not yet been taken and the challenges facing the region have not yet been adequately addressed.
The Baltic Sea Region is a highly heterogeneous area in economic, environmental and cultural terms, yet the countries concerned share many common resources and demonstrate considerable interdependence. This means that actions in one area can very quickly have consequences for other parts, or the whole, of the region. In these circumstances, the area could be a model of regional co-operation where new ideas and approaches can be tested and developed over time as best practice examples.
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