EDA participated in the 4th Annual Forum of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

Aquafima : 28.11.2013

The 4th Annual Forum of EUSBSR took place on 11th-12th November, 2013 in Vilnius, Lithuania. Forum was organized by European Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. About 700 participants visited the event, representing all levels of Strategy stakeholders, NGOs, Academia, Business, Governmental sector and other relevant stakeholders.


The Strategy is build upon three objectives which represents the key challenges of the Baltic Sea Region: saving the sea, connecting the region and increasing prosperity. Each objective includes several priority areas. The Strategy also indentifies horizontal actions that are issues which need to be addressed within the Region. The EUSBSR goal is to improve the Region’s transportation systems, increase the safety of energy supply by renewing the infrastructure, and ensure sound environmental conditions of the Baltic Sea and safe vessel traffic. The Strategy unites eight EU countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. 

The theme selected for the 4th Annual Forum was dedicated to “Baltic Sea, Baltic Growth, Baltic Environment” with a focus on the environmental challenges, economic growth, competitiveness and job creation in the Baltic Sea Region.

The Forum was opened by speech of H.E. Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania and Johannes Hahn, Member of the European Commission in charge of Regional Policy. The programme included high level political Panel Sessions, number of Workshops that particularly addressed specific thematic concerns brought forward by the subject of the Forum as well as Back-to-Back meetings and Project Village that allowed participants to get acquainted with up to 40 flagship projects that either were successfully implemented or are under implementation within the framework of the EUSBSR, as well as various organizations, institutions, groups of professionals, NGOs and their work that have been or will be done in order to achieve objectives set by the Strategy through an exhibition format.

11th November Plenary Session “Macro-regional strategies – to boost smart and sustainable growth” focused on the added value of the macro regional approach, especially for blue and green growth. Among speakers were: Rimantas Šadžius, Minister of Finance of Lithuania, Lowri Evans, Director General, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission. Next Session “How jobs and ecology go together” focused on how environmental concerns can create jobs, which sectors will be growing through implementing the environmental measures and other related issues.

Edmunds Sprūdžs, Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia, Katariina Poskiparta, State Secretary, Ministry of Environment in Finland and other Politicians shared their views, perspectives and current situation on the matter. Day concluded with set of Workshops:

-          Baltic Blue growth

-          Baltic Renewables

-          Growth with limited resources – scenarios

-          Going green and showing it

-          Can clean & safe Baltic shipping make money?

Plenary Session “Baltic profit, Baltic energy” opened second day of the Forum. The session focused on the role of private sector in achieving sustainable development and how environmentally friendly approach could increase and improve Region’s competitiveness, how private sector could meet environmental requirements while being profitable. An introductory statement about current situation in Lithuania delivered Valentinas Mazuronis, Minister of Environment of Lithuania. Session followed by set of Wroshops:

-          Sustainable agriculture – price tags and possibilities for the region

-          When Baltic business meets the environment

-          Growth within limited resources – sustainable economy

-          Cooperation for a healthier Baltic Sea Region environment

-          Funding the Future

The day concluded final Plenary Session “Regions as drivers to sustainable Baltic growth” was focusing on the role of local and regional authorities in addressing the environmental challenges, the need for regional cooperation for meeting environmental targets and ensuring sustainable development. Among speakers were Anders Knape, Member of the COTER Commission, Committee of the Regions, Jaakko Mikkola, Director of International Affairs, Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation (BSSSC).

Jose Palma Andres, Director, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Comission and Thomas Gulbinas, Director of European Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lithuanian Presidency closed 4th Annual Forum of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. All participants were welcomed to the 5th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR that will take place in Turku, Finland.