The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is about both content and method. Within the framework of the strategy, we work with practical issues in many thematic areas. But it is the method, i.e. the way of working, that distinguishes the Baltic Sea Strategy from other collaborations.
This was the theme of the workshop "International cooperation is required for sustainable regional development". The participants, actors in the Swedish Baltic Sea Network, practiced the working methods of the EUSBSR by building a collaboration around a concrete challenge.
In addition to Sweden EUSBSR also includes Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany. The strategy, in turn, also cooperates with neighboring countries Norway, Iceland, Russia and Belarus. EUSBSR covers an extensive collaboration in a wide range of thematic areas: efforts to save the Baltic Sea from environmental degradation, making more efficient use of regions research infrastructure, creating methods for better integration of migrants and helping young people who are neither in education, employment or training, NEETs.
Way of working is crucial
However, the breadth of the thematic collaboration is not the most remarkable. It is instead the method, i.e. the way of working together, that draws attention and raises hopes of a more cohesive, inclusive Europe. The basic idea of a macro-regional strategy is to instead of pursuing individual projects, create long-term development processes, so-called flagships. A flagship consist of a series of activities, projects, networks, study visits, etc., which are connected to each other and coordinated by policy coordinators. The method is inclusive: civic organizations participate in the work together with authorities, researchers and stakeholders from the private sector. They can represent all levels of governance, national, regional and local.
During the seminar on 7 December, the participants from the Swedish Baltic Sea Network gathered to explore the working method of the EUSBSR. After initially choosing a thematic area, the participants collaborated in groups to construct a development process, a flagship. They considered which actors should be involved, how the theme should be limited and which sub-areas need to be worked on. The groups received immediate feedback on their proposals from the ERDF, ESF, Erasmus +, Interreg and the Swedish Institute.
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