The European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is the first macro-regional strategy in Europe. It aims at reinforcing cooperation within this large region in order to face several challenges by working together as well as promoting a more balanced development in the area. The Strategy also contributes to major EU policies and reinforces the integration within the area.
The EU Baltic Sea Region counts 85 million inhabitants (17 percent of EU population) and eight countries (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland) which share common features and challenges. Hence there is a clear need for joining forces and working in cooperation. Against this background, the Strategy intends to increase the levels ofenvironmental sustainability, prosperity, accessibility and attractivess and safety and security.
The Strategy was approved by the European Council in 2009 following a communication from the European Commission. In this respect, it provides an integrated framework for improving the environmental condition of the sea, transport bottlenecks and energy interconnections as well as facilitating the development of competitive markets across borders and common networks for research and innovation.
Now well into the implemenation phase, the Strategy shows the commitment of partners at different levels. According to the European Commission's assessment, "the Strategy is already contributing positively to enhance cooperation in the Region".
How does it work in practice?
The Strategy aims at bringing together initiatives in different sectors (growth, sustainable development etc) as well as promoting cooperation between stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region.
The Strategy also promotes Flagship Projects and contributing projects funded in the Baltic Sea Region. These projects have a macro-regional impact and start from joint initiatives involving partnership from different countries.
Implementation of the Strategy requires active participation by all the actors and stakeholders implicated in the process not only at a national level but at a macro-regional level.