EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

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    In these times, Europe’s tourism sector experiences a new demand for special and diverse short trips closer to home.

    A joint project of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, and DG Regio, European Commission, proposes you different itineraries in your region to accommodate your wanderlust and to get to know Routes4U.

    Routes4U combines a selection of the Council of Europe’s 38 certified Cultural Routes and the four EU macro-regional strategies, supported by the European Commission, giving tourists a chance to discover Europe’s diverse landscape of cultures, history, and gastronomy in the Adriatic and Ionian, the Alpine, the Baltic Sea and the Danube Regions.

    In a new video launched today, Routes4U will take you on a breath-taking adventure on new cultural routes under development through the European continent and beyond, covering 31 countries: 19 EU member states and 12 non-EU countries. Enjoy a cultural journey – explore your macro-region!

    With more than 15 years’ experience as a certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, the Routes of the Olive Tree gives visitors a taste of the life, traditions and history of the Mediterranean people, with world-famous festivals, exhibitions, music and product tasting events.

    The project of the Iron Age Route around the Danube river basin uncovers ancient treasures in unspoilt nature, allowing visitors to discover the hidden archaeological heritage that spans this fascinating region.

    The legacy of the Roman empire is still felt today in European culture, inspiring generations of artists, urbanists and architects. The theme of Roman Heritage gives visitors a chance to uncover lesser-known Roman sites across nine countries in the Adriatic and Ionian regions, while the Via Claudia Augusta takes tourists on a journey along trans-Alpine line of communication developed during the reign of Emperor Claudius.

    A trip to the Byzantine era takes visitors through the countries of the Danube region along the Cyril and Methodius Route to follow in the footsteps of the two saints whose contribution to the growth of the common Christian roots of Europe included the creation of the Glagolitic alphabet and the translation of the Bible into the Slavic language.

    The Maritime Heritage of the Baltic Sea offers the opportunity to explore submerged landscapes from the Stone Age, an abundance of shipwrecks from centuries of intense trade and conflict, as well as beautiful coastal landscapes that have shaped the cultural identity of the region.

    Dedicated to modern architecture as a binding element of the Baltic Sea region, you will discover the emblematic 20th century design through the works of this seminal Finnish designer Alvar Aalto, who laid the groundwork for the humanised, user-friendly environments we take for granted today.

    Finally, the Via Alpina and Mountain Heritage, a network of five hiking routes across the Alps, opens up the alpine experience to everyone through all seasons, in a journey through serene forests, rocky mountain ranges, and crystalline lakes.

    Looking forward to welcome you along the routes,

    Further information : Routes4U


    The Enterprise Europ e Network (EEN), as the world’s largest support network for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) is rooted in regional ecosystems. The ERDF supports SMEs, and European Territorial Cooperation offers adequate framework for peer-to-peer exchanges, and a participatory approach, while it underpins growth, jobs, and the economic activity of functional areas.

    In the Macro Regional Strategies and through Interreg transnational and cross-border programmes, challenges around entrepreneurship, research & innovation, and broader economic development including internationalization are addressed in tight collaboration with the Enterprise Europe Network. For example, the Annual Fora of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, pertain successful B2B events organized by DG GROW, DG REGIO, EASME and the EEN.

    In the same vein, another B2B event was organized within the framework of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region; in a joint endeavor the Romanian Association for Electronic Industry and Software played a key role in organizing the event with SMEs, universities, chambers of commerce, clusters and other stakeholders in the Danube Region with the objective to support the participants to find cooperation partners for new projects and exploring new business opportunities.

    In the Baltic Sea Region, clusters also benefitted from the matching services of the EEN. For example, the project ILDA Care within the Innovation Express call of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme aims at developing new value chains in the logistics, digitalisation and automation in the care sector. The project participants started their cooperation at the fifth Cluster Matchmaking Conference which was organized by the Enterprise Europe Network. .

    In addition, in the Alpine area, the Interreg Alpine space project ‘S34AlpClusters’, was realized with the participation of EEN host organizations with a view to support transnational cooperation for smart industrial transition by making use of the interplay between clusters and the participating regions’ S3 strategies.

    You can find more examples about how European territorial cooperation projects benefit from the services and tools of the Enterprise Europe in the following brochure that has been published by DG GROW.


    The Interreg South Baltic project Cargo Bikes in Urban Mobility (CoBiUM) aims at improving sustainable transport services for local entrepreneurs and residents in Denmark, Germany, Poland and Sweden. The COVID-19 pandemic is now a priority area of interest where all available resources are being engaged. Local entrepreneurs, who have been severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, had to find ways to keep their business going. Thanks to the cargo bikes of the CoBiUM project, local restaurants can deliver fresh and warm meals around the city.

    We deliver meals to the Municipal Hospitals, the Emergency Station and the Sanitary and Epidemiological Station in Gdynia (Poland). We also use a cargo bike for quick delivery of supplies to our restaurant” says Jakub Malenta, the manager of the Muszla restaurant in Gdynia. “Such a means of transport is economic, ecological, and good for your health” adds Jakub.

    The cargo bikes turned out to be a convenient means of transport for residents who help elderly neighbours to do grocery shopping. The electric engine and a big cargo box make heavy shopping easy to deliver.

    I do shopping for three families, says Anna Skuras, mom of two and a social activist. At first, I used to go grocery shopping with a 60 litres backpack but it was very exhausting for me. I heard about the possibility of renting a cargo bike and that was it! During the dry weather which we experience right now, I use the cargo bike for transporting large containers with water for watering newly planted trees in a little municipal park nearby (as part of the neighbourhood initiative "Inicjatywa Wielki Kack"). The rain cover on top of the box makes a cosy, comfortable and hygienic vehicle for moving around the neighbourhood with kids, no matter the weather. It is a great alternative for taking a bus or a tram, especially during the isolation” admits Anna.

    The CoBiUM project with its cargo bikes creates innovative solutions for green, sustainable, and convenient transport in municipal areas. The time of the pandemic proves that there is a huge need for such services among residents. 

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The area covered by the EUSBSR is mainly the basin of the Baltic Sea, including also the hinterlands. It stretches from the Lapland to the North of Germany and is home to around 85 million inhabitants. Involving 12 countries, it is the second largest and most diverse macro-regional strategy: eight EU Member States (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden) and four Neighbouring Countries (Belarus, Iceland, Norway, Russia).

The European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is the first Macro-regional Strategy in Europe. The Strategy was approved by the European Council in 2009 following a communication and an action plan from the European Commission. The Commission publishes regular reports on the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

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 Strategy is divided into three objectives, which represent the three key challenges of the Strategy: saving the sea, connecting the region and increasing prosperity. Each objective relates to a wide range of policies and has an impact on the other objectives. 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 Baltic region defines several sub-objectives

    • Clear water in the sea
    • Rich and healthy wildlife
    • Clean and safe shipping
    • Good transport conditions
    • Reliable energy markets
    • Connecting people in the region
    • Baltic Sea Region as a frontrunner for deepening and fulfilling the single market
    • EUSBSR contributing to the implementation of Europe 2020 strategy
    • Climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management

Better coordination and cooperation between the countries and regions is needed to address these challenges.

The Strategy does not come with extra EU finance but it is supported from the resources already available according to an integrated approach. Countries may also make use of the funding they receive through EU cohesion policy, other EU programmes and financial instruments, and various international financial institutions. To know more about financial opportunities visit
  • Since 2004, the majority of the countries in the Baltic Sea region are EU countries.
  • Many of the problems are covered by EU policy.
  • As an independent player with respected authority, the EU is in a good position to facilitate cooperation.
  • The EU already runs programmes in the region and so can provide opportunities for cooperation.

As for the implementation, the Strategy will be based on the key principles applied for the existing macro-regional strategies: no new EU funds, no additional EU formal structures and no EU legislation, while relying on a coordinated approach, synergy effects and a more effective use of existing EU funds and other financial instruments. The aim is to produce a clear added value based on jointly identified objectives.

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

To get in contact with the EUSBSR team in DG REGIO, please email the secretary of the REGIO. DDG.D1 : For more information on how to get in contact with EUSBSR stakeholders, please visit the EUSBSR website.