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Youth Manifesto to shape European Cooperation Policy

A group of young Europeans has contributed to the publication of the “Manifesto for Young People by Young People to Shape the European Cooperation Policy” in October 2020, on the occasion of the 30 years of Interreg, which is the EU’s flagship scheme for cooperation across borders at the regional and national level, to the benefit of all EU citizens. The Manifesto is the result of a truly democratic and bottom-up process to involve young people in shaping the future of EU cohesion policy and especially of Interreg and the Macro-Regional Strategies (MRS).  

Following targeted surveys, polls and online group discussions with young people from all over Europe, the Manifesto presents five areas of concerns for European youth especially linked to:

1) education and training opportunities;

2) employment and job market;

3) digitalisation;

4) climate change;

5) citizens’ engagement.  

12 concrete recommendations are presented mainly addressing decision-makers and administrations at the EU, national, regional and local level to show what they can do to best address young people’s requests.   

core group of young people and organisations interested in European cooperation and/or citizens’, and especially young people’s, engagement, as well as European Commission’s staff, hold regular informal exchanges to best disseminate the Manifesto and ensure its proper follow up with the implementation of the 12 recommendations. 

The Manifesto is in the hands of anyone interested in improving EU cohesion policy and especially its cooperation dimension. Being it for a young person, a politician or someone working in a local, regional or national administration, the Manifesto is a great tool to show that young people’s ideas can only improve the way we build a better, fairer and stronger EU for all. As such, young people’s voices must be heard! 

All Interreg and Macro Regional Strategies actors are invited to implement the 12 recommendations and to further promote the Manifesto with their network!

After the Umbrella project’s success (Boosting cross-border cooperation capacities of local actors in the South Baltic Sea), Euroregion Baltic decided to propose a package of activities based on already tested actions to involve newcomers in the Baltic Sea Region. The excellent relationship of Euroregion Baltic with the Umbrella 2.0’s partners (Union of the Baltic Cities and BSSSC) will ensure perfect coverage in the Baltic Sea Region regarding stakeholders’ involvement and boost bottom-up actions.

Bottom-up actors are those closer to the citizens and their needs; they know their territory and are aware of how to apply policies in the best way.

Euroregion Baltic works as a mediator between the local municipalities and other NGOs and the upper strategic levels, meaning the regional, national, international levels besides the EU’s bound thanks to the INTERREG South Baltic Programme and close cooperation with the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Our project partners have a similar role, being close to their stakeholders and raising awareness on the value of transnational cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region.

The new EU programming period 2021-2027 is underlying the importance of sustainability, which is strongly perceived as fundamental, especially in this pandemic.

That’s why Umbrella 2.0 and its partners want to be ambassadors of the EUSBSR, EU Green Deal and UN SDGs, bringing more newcomers and bottom-up actors onboard.

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To do so, we asked ourselves whether the EU is known and well communicated, whether it is close to those who work at the local level, close to citizens. And we asked ourselves whether those things that we take for granted because we work with them daily are clear for others. Often possibilities and opportunities are often not known. EU strategic choices, long-term goals and action plans are simply not known. Therefore our mission is:

– To raise awareness of opportunities and benefits of transnational and cross-border cooperation and increase regional stakeholders’ interest in it;

– To empower stakeholders to build strategic and long term-partnerships, support networking, and straighten community of practitioners in different sectors;

– To improve knowledge of the EU, its financial instruments and relevant strategies, with particular focus on the EUSBSR;

– To explore the opportunities and benefits of being part of EUSBSR and offer practical guidelines on how to engage in long-term;

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We are project managers and strategists, but we want to pass the concept that process is more important than the result. First of all, we need to involve local actors in networking, building trust, exchanging knowledge, and setting the basis for actions.

Our goals:

– to raise awareness through networking events or conferences about EUSBSR Action Plan and communication, UN SDGs, EU Green Deal. These are the major topics that need to be investigated by the beneficiaries to make them create a connection between the upper strategic level and the bottom operative level. The latter is the one that actually can have a relevant impact on a local level, especially in terms of sustainable development.

– to make EUSBSR and local actors meet together, know each other, communicate in 3 two-day “meet-your-flagship” events. Why “meet-your-flagship”?

We believe that the flagships have proved their consolidative role. They offer processes that enable multiple actors from different levels to work together on challenges and opportunities in the chosen area. The most experienced and usually engaged actors represent regional or national authorities and academia. They are aware of the opportunities posed by the flagship processes and often engage in them. Yet, we still rarely see local and rural local entities like municipalities, local socio-economic actors and institutions, and NGOs. Therefore, the aim is to ensure they are as adequately informed as the others and foresee the same possibilities for their cross-border and transnational cooperation within the EUSBSR and other relevant EU agendas.

– to train stakeholders on project management. In fact, once actors are involved in processes and networks, projects are often the most used tool to cooperate across borders.

– to communicate the EU policies (EU Green Deal, EUSBSR) and UN SDGs through stakeholders’ thematic training.

Who is our target group? Why it’s important to reach out to so-called “newcomers”?

Our project proposal addresses the need to build capacities of small and local actors, mostly “newcomers”, to widen their participation in the Baltic Sea regional cooperation. The need was identified in the “Needs analysis”, conducted in the frame of the Umbrella project in which Euroregion Baltic has been the lead partner of “Umbrella Boosting cross-border cooperation capacities of local actors in the South Baltic Sea” project (www.umbrellaproject.eu). The analysis was based on quantitative and qualitative questionnaires made among the small and medium-sized municipalities, NGOs, local action groups from the 5 South Baltic Sea states. The assessment report “Mapping stakeholders and analysing barriers in the South Baltic Sea” provided information about specific gaps that the SBP should address in future. Recommendations were also provided, including the need to focus on newcomers, small-organisations also, for instance, sports associations, associations dealing with social affairs, and schools. Today, these are almost absent as project partners in the current programming period, for several various reasons but most commonly for their lack of capacity. The report points out that “micro-scale” is a relative concept and can vary between regions and sectors of activity. Our definition of newcomers includes actors related to the governance layer that is closer to citizens (local authorities) and horizontal subsidiarity (civil society’s initiatives).

The Umbrella project was launched at the beginning of 2018. It resulted from the realisation that the South Baltic Programme (SBP) was hard to access for small organisations, mainly because of their insufficient institutional and financial capacities. SBP stakeholders in general and small local actors specifically still experience communication barriers, limited English language skills, and lack of competences and capabilities in project development and implementation. To address these challenges, the Umbrella project committed to developing know-how capacities for small local and regional actors and civil society organisations in the South Baltic Programme area to improve their participation in cross-border cooperation. To achieve this goal, Umbrella implemented a significantly more comprehensive approach, determined by a strategic decision of the partnership to address different levels of capacity building processes – from a single institutional capacity of potential project partner, via micro-activities addressed to the micro organisations till strategic capacity building on the programme macro level where we cooperated with EUSBSR HA Capacity coordinators (our Associated Partner).

The Umbrella project has offered a tailor-made set of solutions and reached the following objectives:

It mapped stakeholders in the South Baltic Region and delivered a report with an assessment of needs and potential project themes, as well as project barriers to addressing in the South Baltic Programme and its future programming period (2021-2027). It invited mapped stakeholders to 2 awareness-raising events on EU financial possibilities, programmes, cross-border cooperation networks;

– It organised 3 Cross-border conferences with EUSBSR Policy Area panels on: Bioeconomy, Energy and electromobility and sustainable tourism;

– It held micro-activities to “meet-your-neighbours”: networking thematic meetings to initiate cooperation;

– It delivered 12 national trainings in national languages on project management in Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Lithuania;

– It invited mapped stakeholders to Umbrella’s “Rent-an-Expert” service to help them learn how to write meaningful project applications;

– It delivered a training and coaching pack on project management: from ideation to implementation of EU financed projects, including and 1 “train-the-trainers” session;

– All the training materials and stakeholders are collected in the Moodle platform http://umbrellaproject.eu/moodle/ ;

– The project helped writing more than 5 new projects in SBP, Swedish Institute and Erasmus +;

– Umbrella will be finalised in December 2020, and it is going to organise 4 Cross-border workshops in the form of focus groups to discuss the upcoming SBP programming period. It will deliver a “Meet-your-neighbours success stories” book, and it will end with a final conference;

– No. of local actors involved in cross-border activities: 240 organisations of which:

✔ 90 were involved in cross-border micro-activities and raising awareness events developing knowledge capacity about the South Baltic Programme.

✔ 100 were involved in CBC conference with EUSBSR PA panels and training

✔ 150 were involved in basic cross-border cooperation level (scouting actions). These are organisations (newcomers) with a lack of capacity to participate in regular projects, and relevant bodies involved in SBP implementation (directly and indirectly) were also collected and presented in the form of on-line platforms.

Umbrella proved to be an optimal mediator among different stakeholders. Therefore, starting from the presumption that the EUSBSR and the local actors are entirely detached from the other, the project objective would be to develop know-how capacities for local organisations in cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region, harmonising local needs and actions and upper strategic lines.

While the local actors are focused on objectives in their local sphere of influence, the strategy provides guidelines that are not known at the local level. A bridge between local actors and the strategy needs to be set to enhance the interaction among all the governance levels to start a process that can facilitate the implementation of EUSBSR and other sustainable policies matching with EU Green Deal and SDGs.

Umbrella 2.0 would act to mediate the communication between the strategies and the local level, raising awareness and providing practical knowledge and tools for implementation.

More on the NEWCOMERSWho are they?

Representatives of small NGOs and municipalities, practitioners, working in those institutions from all sectors who need to build their knowledge, understanding, and skills to work effectively in EUSBSR partnership. Also, they are EUSBSR actors with some experience who wish to complement and formalise their learning with the latest EU/EUSBSR frameworks, innovative and practical tools etc.
In Interreg Baltic Sea Region Orientation Paper for 2021-27, they are called the “first-timers” in opposition to the “Usual suspects club”, so those who are well-known project partners, consortium leaders and strategic processes developers.
Newcomers constitute a very heterogeneous group of different kinds of organisations (regarding size, strategic orientation, business model, funding streams, target groups, etc.), making it challenging to distinguish, characterise and identify them among EUSBSR cooperation actors. We need them on board in the EUSBSR cooperation, as they neither follow the logic of academia (characterised by excellence in scientific disciplines) nor the logic of typical business actors (shaped by competitiveness and profit). Their modus operandi focuses on solving societal problems (usually, they are mission-driven). They aim to influence the policymaking process, or they are more service-oriented and try to improve the situation of their primary target group.

Interreg South Baltic Programme seeks to stronger involve local, regional & non-governmental stakeholders as well as academia in the programming process. Euroregion Baltic, a Lead Partner of the ”Umbrella – Boosting cross-border cooperation capacities of local actors in the South Baltic Sea” project decided to become an active part of this process. Between October and December 2020 ERB/Umbrella project organised:

  1. Four thematic focus group workshops

•Blue & green growth

•Energy transition & connectivity

•Sustainable & innovative tourism –and cultural heritage

•Building civil & more inclusive society

  • Umbrella project final conference on 2.12.2020 with a panel called: South Baltic Programme – Future. Speakers:
  • Niels Chresten Andersen, Regional Municipality on Bornholm

Introduction of the panel. South Baltic programme 2021-27 – state of art

  • Dominika Butkiewicz, Head of the Joint Secretariat of South Baltic Programme

Proposed Priority Axes and specific objectives of the next Interreg South Baltic Programme

  • Anna Drążek, Director of the Pomorskie EU Office in Brussels, ‘Pomorskie in the EU’ Association
  • Jens Masuch, GA-MA Consulting

Input on the future of the South BalticProgramme given by the Umbrella beneficiaries summary – report

  • Direct consultations with the representatives of the Council of Non-Governmental Organizations of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship (ROPWWM) and request to provide their written feedback

Organisations actively involved in the process – their representatives took part in the 4 thematic focus group workshops:

1. BMUC Innovation & Development, Member of the Offshore Center Bornholm, Denmark

2. Energy Agency for Southeast Sweden, Sweden

3. Municipality of Västervik, Sweden

4. Symbiosis Kalundborg, Denmark

5. Baltic Tech Park, Klaiped, Lithuania

6. Warmia and Masuria University, Centrum Biogospodarki i Energii Odnawialnych (CBEO), Uniwersytet Warmińsko-Mazurski w Olsztynie, Poland

7. Pomorskie Voivodeship, Economic Development Department, Energy Efficiency office, Poland

8. Baltic Institute for Regional Affairs, Gdynia, Poland

9. Western Ships Agency (legal name in Lithuanian language UAB ,,Vakarų laivų agentai”) , Lithuania

10. Gate 21, NGO, Albertslund, Denmark

11. “Pomorskie in the European Union” Association, Gdańsk, Poland

12. Klaipeda Association of Communities, Lithuania

13. Roskilde University, Denmark

14. Municipality of Kalmar, Sweden

15. Municipality of Guldborgsund, Denmark

16. Kalmar County Museum, Sweden

17. New Competence Center., Gdańsk, Poland

18. Netport Karlshamn , Sweden

19. Rotorwerk, consulting company, Germany

20. European Solidarity Center Gdansk, Poland

21. DIALOG Association, Poland

22. Water Users Partnership Oskarshamn, Sweden

23. Kalmar County Administrative Board, Sweden

24. Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IOPAN), Poland

25. Gdansk Water (Gdanskie Wody sp. z o.o) , Poland

26. Voivodeship Fund for Environmental Protection & Water Management in Olsztyn, Poland

27. Masuria Entrepreneurship Agency, Poland

28. Leibnitz Institute of Farmed Animals Biology, Dummerstorf, Germany

29. Linneus University of Kalmar, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Sweden

30. Region Kalmar County, Sweden

31. Municipality of Karlskrona, Sweden

32. Oskarshamn Municipality, Sweden

33. Bornholms Museum, Denmark

34. Museum Lolland-Falster, Denmark

35. Baltic Sea Cultural Centre, Gdańsk, Poland

36. Tourism Associiation Vorpommern, Germany

37. The Coastal Union Germany (EUCC-D), Germany

38. University of Gdańsk, Poland

39. CSE Światowid, Elbląg, Poland

40. CittaSlow cities, Olsztyn, Poland

41. Pomorskie Tourism Board, Gdańsk, Poland

Joint Secretariat of the Interreg South Baltic Programme has released information about the current state-of-the-art in programming the Interreg SBP for the years 2021-2027. You can read it below on go directly to the Interreg SBP website: https://southbaltic.eu/interreg-south-baltic-2021-2027

Euroregion Baltic is directly involved in the works on the new Programme for 2021-2027 being an active member of the Joint Programming Committee, members of two SWokring Groups for the new Programme, as we as leading the Join Delegation of Euroregions in the Programme Monitoring Committee.

The Joint Programming Committee (JPC) was established and the 1st meeting took place on 4th February 2020, during the meeting, the JPC Rules of Procedure, as well as Terms of Reference for the socio-economic analisys, were adopted. In the following months, the public procurement procedure was carried out and the best offer was selected. Contract with the PWC Advisory was signed on 18th June 2020.

During the second meeting of the JPC held on 22nd of June 2020, PWC Advisory presented the methodological report and the first results of the study. The cooperation with the Contractor was divided into two stages:

  • In the first stage, Contractor was obliged to conduct socio-economic analysis, SWOT/TOWS analysis and Problems and Objectives Tree (POT). The socio-economic analysis, SWOT and POT stage ended on 8 October 2020 and it was a starting point for further discussions and decisions on Programme Strategy, Priorities and Specific Objectives;
  • In the second stage on the basis of the conducted research, surveys and workshops with JPC, MA, JS, public stakeholders etc. (held in the Summer) as well as requirements and requests submitted during the 3rd JPC meeting (10th September 2020), Contractor prepared a proposal of the Programme Strategy, Priority Axes and Specific Objectives, covering:

In the Programme Strategy

– characteristics of the eligible area; 

– most important common challenges;

– characteristics of the basic social, economic and territorial differences occurring in the CP area.

In the Programme Priorities and Specific Objectives

– justification of the choice;

– related types of actions and their expected contribution;

– indicative percentage breakdown of funds by category of intervention;

– first proposal of the output indicators and result indicators selected from the common list;

– the main target groups.

The first proposal of the Strategy and Programme Priorities was delivered on 20 October 2020 by the PWC Advisory. Working Group 1 was established by the JPC (20 October 2020) and started work jointly with the Contractor on Programme Strategy and Priorities. During the 4th JPC meeting organised on 3-4 November, 2020 first draft of the Strategy was presented.

The next step was the establishment (19 November 2020) of the Working Group 2 for the implementation arrangements of the future Programme. Afterwards, the second draft of the Strategy and Programme Priorities incorporating the results of the WG1 discussions was developed on 30 November 2020.

Currently, work is focused on the joint elaboration of contribution to Programme Document according to the template for Interreg Programmes as stated in the draft of Interreg regulation:

  • Programme strategy: main development challenges and policy responses etc.;
  • Priorities, covering: specific objectives, types of actions, indicators, main target groups etc.; 
  • Financing plan (incl. ERDF and national co-financing);
  • Implementing provisions (Programme Authorities, liabilities of Member States );
  • Use of simplified costs options.

During the 5th JPC meeting planned for 12th January 2021, the final draft of the Strategy, Priorities and Specific Objectives should be adopted. In the next steps planned for I – II Quarter of 2021, the process of drafting of the Cooperation Programme document as well as Strategic Environmental Assessment will begin.

The Joint Secretariat of the Interreg South Baltic Programme encourages all stakeholdrs to take part in the public consultations of these documents. Information will appear on the programme website in due course.

Youth have their say! Don’t miss the 1 March afternoon session of the #MacroRegionalStrategies week dedicated to the Youth. We will be present thanks to the Baltic Sea Youth Platform project #BSYP and we encourage all Euroregion Baltic Youth Board members to join us! More info about the #MRS week here: https://www.balticsea-region-strategy.eu/…/591151-eu…

Also, if you’re interested in Young Europeans’ involvement in the future of European Territorial Cooperation you should read the Manifesto for Young People by Young People to Shape the European Cooperation Policy. The whole Manifesto is available for reading and download here: https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docgener/brochure/youth_manifesto_interreg_en.pdf you

Save the Date! From 1 to 5 March 2021, DG REGIO will host the 2nd EU Macro-Regional Strategies Week (EU MRS Week) that will take place digitally.

Reconnect, Rethink, Recover – the motto of the EU MRS Week gives a straightforward idea on the burning issues that will be tackled throughout the five days:

To Reconnect MRS key implementers, stakeholders and representatives of EU institutions will be key to Rethink the way to cooperate and prioritize MRS objectives in order to best Recover from the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 with concrete actions on the ground.

Therefore, the participants will have the opportunity to attend many sessions on paramount matters, such as the embedding process, MRS supporting the enlargement process or on how EU funding programmes directly managed by the European Commission (e.g. Horizon, Life, …) can support the implementation of MRS. Amongst the opening session with high-level speakers, there will be the occasion to engage with young people from the macro regions as well as with civil society organisations.

Discover below the provisional agenda of the week:

  • On the 1st of March, you can expect the opening session, followed by bottom-up sessions to empower participation of Youth and of Civil Society Organisations in MRS, and on MRS support to recover from COVID-19 
  • On the 2nd of March, in the morning, the EUSAIR Governing Board and the EUSBSR National Coordinators Meeting will take place while the EUSALP strategy will discuss embedding matters in. In the afternoon, you can join the workshop on the contribution of EUSAIR and EUSDR to the priorities to the Economic and Investment Plan of the Western Balkans .
  • On the 3rd of March, a cross-MRS embedding workshop is to be expected. In the afternoon, the opening session on EU funding programmes in direct management will gather representatives from the EU Council and from several line DGs of the European Commission to respond on the Council Conclusion of the 3rd report on the implementation of MRS On the 4th of March, six consecutive workshops will bring programmes in direct management closer to MRS 2021-2027 in an exchange between line DGs and MRS key implementers regarding:Horizon Europe, Digital Europe, Connecting Europe Facility, LIFE,  Single Market and ERASMUS+

Finally, on the 5th of March, the High level Group Meeting will take place in the morning and in the afternoon, the four MRS Presidencies and Trios will meet and close the EU MRS WEEK.

DG REGIO works in close cooperation with the four Presidencies of the EU Macro-Regional Strategies, namely the German Presidency of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), the Slovak Presidency of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), the Slovenian Presidency EU Strategy for the Adriatic–Ionian Region (EUSAIR), and the French Presidency of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP).

Stay tuned for more information regarding the registration to the closed and open sessions.

On the 11th of March, on the Lithuania Independence Restoration Day, the port city will host an opening event, which will announce the beginning of the European Youth Capital 2021 program. This title, which has been awaited for a couple of years, was taken over from the French city of Amiens. The project consists of nine platforms presenting young people’s ideas, challenges and problems, such as weak political activism, an aging city, the avoidance of “inconvenient” topics and people, and the lack of an environment which would foster entrepreneurship and creativity. In the 2021 program there will be 67 events, 70 various organizations, 133 ambassadors not only from many European countries, but also from such distant countries as Pakistan, Hawaii, and India. The title won is an extraordinary opportunity not only for young people but also for the city itself, to attract the attention of European youth, to present the city in an international context, and to strengthen the identity of European youth.

“Young people, their thoughts and ideas are the driving force behind every city. As long as young, energetic people care about their city, every city has a bright future. I would like to thank the youth of Klaipėda, all the ambassadors and friends of the project, whose insightful view not only of the advantages of Klaipėda, but also of sensitive topics, brought this honorable title to the city. I believe that together we can give Klaipėda an even bigger youthful drive. This year, let Klaipėda become an exceptionally open city that hears and listens, and in which people of all cultures, views and groups feel good,” Vytautas Grubliauskas, the Mayor of Klaipėda, said.

Challenges, achievements, potential

The title of the European Youth Capital is awarded to the city in two cases – when the city wants to share good practices, or when the city dares to identify its problems relevant to the young people and takes a more active approach. Klaipėda was awarded the title in the latter way. Unlike many of the titles the city has held, the main goal of the European Youth Capital is to create a city where the young person feels heard and needed.

According to the project idea, Klaipėda will implement a complex program set out in nine platforms, which consist of the problems, achievements and expectations identified by the youth. Among the challenges raised by the project are weak political literacy of young people, lack of an environment which would foster entrepreneurship and creativity, avoidance of “inconvenient” topics and people, and an aging city.

Even though the global pandemic has adjusted the original project plans, number of events and budget, many of the key events have remained and been successfully carried out throughout the past year.

“Until the beginning of the summer, all events in the program will take place remotely, using smart technologies, interacting and communicating over a safe distance. Since much of the events, such as lectures, discussions, are aimed at certain target audiences, which include several, sometimes several hundred people, remote events take place successfully,” Greta Meškauskienė, Manager of the European Youth Capital 2021 project, said.

850.000 Euros are planned for the European Youth Capital events. This money will be used to organize close to seventy events, including the opening and closing ceremonies of the European Youth Capital, various debates, and initiatives.

Exceptional events

The European Youth Capital program includes close to 70 events, discussions, initiatives and actions. A large part of the project events is dedicated to clearly defined target audiences – schoolchildren, students, socially sensitive groups. The program highlights seven major events – the international festival-workshop “BeachArt”, the exclusive international 3D street drawing festival “Art Gates”, the contemporary art and ancient traditions festival “Gabya”, community meetings “Sleep Under the Stars”, the youth cooperation initiative “Youth Picnic”, the mega concert of the most famous Lithuanian LGBT+ friendly and LGBT+ music stars. The program also includes various sports events – “Non-traditional sports festival”, “Sports festival” (surfing tournament, skateboard and break dance competitions).

The Open Yyouth Space that will open its doors on Paryžiaus Komunos street will also be a gift for young people. This will be the second youth center in Klaipėda. The Open Youth Space on Paryžiaus Komunos street, in the reconstructed Football School, is due to open in May.

ALL YEAR ROUND EVENTS: Creating attractive urban spaces “I am not just a wall”; A cycle of success stories for young entrepreneurs on Youtube; The “Exhibition of 3D drawings and creative space” will take place throughout the summer.

EVENTS IN SPRING: School Forum; Youth Ambassadors Forum; Cultural event: Ukraine; Symposium on LGBT+ friendly youth policy making.

EVENTS IN SUMMER: Youth Summer Academy; Sports festival; International workshop “New stories of unattractive spaces”; International youth camp in Ukraine; International festival of creativity; International festival-workshop “BeachArt”; Festival of contemporary art and ancient traditions “Gabya”; International conference on sustainable development; Mega concert of the most famous Lithuanian LGBT+ friendly and LGBT+ music stars; Non-traditional sports festival.

EVENTS IN AUTUMN: Community meeting “Sleep Under the Stars”; Youth picnic; Congress of youth workers; International forum “Integration of People with Disabilities in Educational Institutions: Where We Are and Where We Should Be”; Youth Ambassadors Forum; Entrepreneurship event “Youth-for-Youth”.

EVENTS IN WINTER: Closing event of the European Youth Capital 2021.

YOUTH CHALLENGES IN NINE PLATFORMS

The problems and ideas of young people are presented in nine platforms: “Dialogues”, “Solidarity”, “Leadership”, “Out of the box”, “Spaces”, “Colours”, “North-South”, “Connections”, “Potential”.

The “Dialogues” platform promotes social involvement, presents the idea of Klaipėda youth political literacy, its increase, opportunities to participate in the political life of Klaipėda, the debate culture. The main event of the platform is the YOUTH AMBASSADORS FORUM. It is a strategic initiative to strengthen the voice of young people by giving them the space, tools, opportunities and support to engage and participate in civic processes. The Forum will act as an alliance of local youth and youth organizations, working closely with and meeting regularly with policy makers. The platform also includes the Choose Klaipėda Ambassadors Initiative, which currently brings together 133 ambassadors – people who want to contribute to the implementation of project activities and seek real change in Klaipėda. The platform is implemented by Klaipėda University and KU Student Union.

“Solidarity” is a platform that changes the image of volunteers and volunteering. The platform is implemented by the AUK Center together with LCC, the Lithuanian Maritime Museum, and the Spiritual Support Center for Youth. Among the most important events of the year – the Humanitarian Camp in Ukraine (LCC) and the Lithuanian Maritime Museum events – the School Forum and EXPERIENCE, HEAR, DISCOVER YOURSELF AS THE SEA. The latter event is scheduled for June 8th. On the occasion of the World Ocean Day, the event on Smiltynė Beach will unite about 2,000 students. The topic of the event ‘getting to know the Baltic Sea’ is best described by 3 concepts – young, closed, polluted. This is an opportunity to talk about the most sensitive issues – the isolation of young people and their internal “pollution”.

The “Leadership” platform is a platform for entrepreneurship and innovative business ideas. The main event of the platform, “Youth for Youth 2021”, will take place in November. The event, which became very popular, took place for the first time in 2020, so  it is expected for the event to gain continuity. Implemented by the Lithuanian Business College.

“Out of the box” is a platform for different, unusual ideas. The most important event of the platform is the Creativity Festival on July 11, which will show how to create for a city and find ways to turn ideas into reality. The platform is implemented by “Klaipėdos šventės”.

“Spaces” – transformation of spaces for young people, provision of safe spaces for young people. The most important event of the platform is the BEACH ART festival, which will contribute to innovative solutions for revitalizing urban spaces. Implemented by “Creators76”.

The “Colors” platform, which deals with “taboo” topics, is intended for reducing exclusion, raising awareness, and increasing the sense of security of excluded young people. The platform’s events touch sensitive topics, from LGBT to the integration of people with disabilities. The main event is a symposium dedicated to the creation of LGBT+ friendly youth policy-making.

The “North-South” platform emphasizes the importance of urban decentralization and the need to move some events, cultural initiatives from the city center to other parts of the city, and to involve peripheral communities. Highlights of the platform: the ‘newborn’ festival “GABYA” which will take place on 16-18 July. The festival will become a bridge between the past and the present – ancient traditions, heritage, ethno and world music, contemporary art and modern electronic harmony. Among the exclusive events of the platform and the festival “ART GATES”, which will take place on 21-28 June, and the festival “CITY STARS”, which will happen on 4 September. The platform is implemented by: College of Social Sciences, “Creators76”, “Spotas” and other partners.

“Connections” is a horizontal platform responsible for promoting cooperation between various international and national institutions and organizations, and project ambassadors. This ensures that cooperation will continue in the future.

The “Potential” platform is responsible for involving young people in all stages of the design and implementation of the program, while strengthening youth organizations so that the voice of young people is heard in every activity.

The title of the European Youth Capital was brought by the port city youth for the first time not only to Lithuania, but also to Northern Europe, although the initiative of youth capitals started more than a decade ago. The competition is organized by the European Youth Forum. Over 500 young people were involved in preparing the program application. Currently, the #chooseKlaipeda ambassadors network brings together over 100 young people from outside youth organizations.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA WITH THE HASHTAG – CHOOSE KLAIPEDA

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/chooseklaipeda

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/chooseklaipeda/

Youtube shorturl.at/IQ356

Tik ToK https://www.tiktok.com/@chooseklaipeda?lang=en

More information:

VšĮ “Klaipėdos šventės”

Živilė Putnienė

Communication coordinator
Tel. +370 673 17050

On 13th January 2021 Umbrella 2.0 project partners: Euroregion Baltic, Unione of the Baltic Cities and Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation met together with the Swedish Institute representative to officially start the activities in the new project. Read below to get to know our project better and familiarise with the activities we plan to offer to our beneficiaries in the Baltic Sea Region.

UMBRELLA 2.0 – why we applied to SI for the support?

2021 will be a gap year for cross-border cooperation. The South Baltic Programme, a primary financial tool utilised by Euroregion Baltic to reach its scope, will launch the new programming period 2021-2027 only at the end of 2021. Only small project funds will be available. Hence, Euroregion Baltic realised that the Umbrella project’s success and capacity building process initiated in 2018 could not be stopped. For this reason, the so-called Umbrella 2.0 proposal was presented to the Swedish Institute as the natural consequence of Umbrella Project (SBP) and its willingness to become a recognised brand, active also on a broader Baltic Sea scale.

Therefore, Euroregion Baltic, together with UBC and BSSSC, submitted Umbrella 2.0- Boosting transnational cooperation capacities for multilevel actors in the Baltic Sea Region- that has been approved by the Swedish Institute in Nov 2020 and launched in January 2021.

AIM OF THE PROJECT

The project’s overarching goal is to increase awareness and knowledge of transnational cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. More specifically, the project aims at initiating a process for the development of strong multi-actor and multilevel governance partnerships that can undertake cross-sectoral sustainable solutions while following the principles and objectives of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EU Green Deal and UN SDG.

The aims concerning the Baltic Region are :

– To raise awareness of opportunities and benefits of transnational and cross-border cooperation and increase regional stakeholders’ interest in it;

– To empower stakeholders to build strategic and long term-partnerships, support networking, and straighten community of practitioners in different sectors;

– To improve knowledge of the EU, its financial instruments and relevant strategies, with particular focus on the EUSBSR;

– To explore the opportunities and benefits of being part of EUSBSR and offer practical guidelines on how to engage in long-term;

– To help build competencies, i.e. knowledge and skills necessary to run projects with benefit to the Policy areas, and create specific networks of interest in different sectors in a cross-sectorial manner focusing on a shift and transformation by our beneficiaries (activating them for sustainable transnational cooperation).

Umbrella 2.0 builds on Umbrella project results. The Umbrella project was launched at the beginning of 2018. It resulted from the realisation that the South Baltic Programme (SBP) was hard to access for small organisations, mainly because of their insufficient institutional and financial capacities. SBP stakeholders in general and small local actors specifically still experience communication barriers, limited English language skills, and lack of competences and capabilities in project development and implementation. To address these challenges, the Umbrella project committed to developing know-how capacities for small local and regional actors and civil society organisations in the South Baltic Programme area to improve their cross-border cooperation participation. To achieve this goal, Umbrella implemented a significantly more comprehensive approach, determined by a strategic decision of the partnership to address different levels of capacity building processes – from a single institutional capacity of potential project partner, via micro-activities addressed to the micro organisations till strategic capacity building on the programme macro-level where we cooperated with EUSBSR HA Capacity coordinators (our Associated Partner).

Umbrella proved to be an optimal mediator among different stakeholders. Therefore, starting from the presumption that the EUSBSR and the local actors are completely detached one from the other, Umbrella 2.0 objective would be to develop know-how capacities for local organisations in cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region, harmonising local needs and actions and upper strategic lines.

While the local actors are focused on objectives in their local sphere of influence, the strategy provides guidelines that are not known at the local level. A bridge between local actors and the strategy needs to be set to enhance the interaction among all the governance levels to start a process that can facilitate the implementation of EUSBSR and other sustainable policies matching with EU Green Deal and SDGs. Umbrella 2.0 would act to mediate the communication between the strategies and the local level, raising awareness and providing practical knowledge and tools for implementation.

The past year was the final and firmly the busiest year for the Interreg South Baltic Interconnect project which started in June 2017. 2020 began with some great news from one of the project partners, Innobaltica (Poland), who announced an open tender for the implementation of FALA – integrated ticket for the Pomorskie Region –  a charges collecting system for transportation in collective passenger transport and a consistent passenger information system, standard for both coordinators and carriers.

On February 17th the Interconnect project was presented on a hearing regarding the revision of the TEN-T regulation held by Ministry of Infrastructure in Sweden. During the conference, the Interconnect project Manager Mr Mattias Andersson, representing Region Blekinge, had an opportunity to emphasise the importance of cross-border public transport. The collaboration between Blekinge and Pomorskie Region in the Interconnect project was set as a good example where regions collaborate with private players, in this case, Stena Line, to find new ticket solutions.

In March 2020, the South Baltic success story series, developed within ERB’s Umbrella project, noted the Interconnect project as an example of Interreg South Baltic Programme success story, offering an understanding of the best practices and the success of the project’s results and outcomes.

On March 11th 2020, a first partnership meeting was held in Karlskrona, Sweden. Due to the travel restrictions following the Covid -19 pandemic, only ten persons participated in Region Blekinge office, and two persons experienced online. During this meeting, partners discussed the multigovernance co-operation model for public transport in the South Baltic area, the main outputs of the project, and the project’s final conference details. The partnership has submitted a request for changes where additional activities were mentioned and a prolongation of the implementation period of 6 months until the end of November 2020. Furthermore, a decision was made to postpone the final conference to preliminary October 1st 2020, instead of May 7th and most likely to hold it online.

At the turn of March and April 2020, Joint Secretariat agreed on the project’s prolongation by six months while Monitoring Committee approved all requests for changes.

With the begging of June, The Hanseatic Institute for Entrepreneurship and Regional Development at the University of Rostock (HIE-RO) announced it is about to deliver an Indicator-based self-evaluation tool in Excel for public transport planners within the task 4.2 “Implementing a multi-stakeholder planning model for public transport services”. The tool’s main objective is to develop an easy-to-use self-evaluation (or monitoring) indicator tool in Excel that can be used by public transport planners to evaluate the performance of the local and regional (public) transport system.

Between 13th and 26th of July, a joint Danish-German exhibition called “ekspeditioNORD” took place, as part of the German-Danish year of cultural friendship. The event was co-financed by the Interconnect project on the principle of supporting co-operation and cross – border interconnections between local governments and public administrations and civil societies with a specific focus on educational institutions and schools, culture and tourism organisations and business co-operations.

In August Mr Mattias Andersson, Interconnect Project leader was invited by Mukran Port in Germany to participate in ‘South Baltic Transport Loops’ project partnership meeting, where he had a chance to speak about the findings the Interconnect project and discuss the cross-project exchange.

In August, the Polish Ministry of Development Fund and Regional Policy has chosen the Interconnect Project to be promoted as one of the best projects of Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020. Therefore, a photo session was organised to present the main goals and achievements of Interconnect Project. The photo session results were presented in December 2020 in a publication on “15 years of Interreg programs in Poland”.

Summer period ended up with information that the first Interconnect scientific paper on ‘PT Data for multi-stakeholder planning and monitoring excel tool for public transport services’ was accepted for publication at the CSTFM-conference in Madrid October 2020. The paper resulted from WP 3.5 and related to a process and solutions for sustainable cross-border and regional public transport.

With the beginning of September, intensive preparations for the upcoming Final Conference started. The invitation and conference agenda sent to more than 300 people and an intensive promoting campaign in social media began.

On September 8th, Mr Mattias Andersson attended the ERB Executive Board meeting. He presented the idea of establishing a new task force within ERB, concentrated on sustainable transport issues and related to the Interconnect project’s outputs.

On September 17th, the Project partner Mr Frede Danborg from Guldborgsund Kommune was invited to become one of the pannelists during the Interreg South Baltic Programme’s Annual Event celebrating 30 years of Interreg South Baltic. Mr Danborg had a chance to present the Interconnect project, its objectives and challenges throughout projects lifetime, and opportunities it has created to impact public transport in small Baltic Sea regions.

On October 1st 2020, the Interconnect Final Conference titled ‘Future of Public Transport – Trends, Tools, Governance’ was held online via Hop.in the platform. Nearly 100 participants from 14 countries joined the conference to take part in many valuable lectures on sustainable transport, cross-border passenger transport and new solutions in public transport given by experts from EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, The Hanseatic Institute for Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, InnobalticaBlekinge Institute of Technology and Interreg South Baltic. The participants also had a chance to hear panellists from ESPON ProgrammeInteract ProgrammeRegion Blekinge and Euroregion Baltic discussing and exchanging experience on various multilevel governance options.

In November, as a result of several workshops and discussions among project partners and experts in the transport sector, a Catalogue of Solutions for Sustainable Cross-Border and Regional Public Transport was finally developed and published on the project website.

The publication was shortly followed by the Interconnect Final Report on Guidelines on multilevel governance for Public Transport in the South Baltic Area published on November 25th 2020.

On November 30th 2020, partners from Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, and Viimsi Municipality in Estonia met for the last time, to sum up, the Interconnect project results. After 42 months of an exciting and fruitful co-operation, the Interconnect project partners from 6 EU countries met for the last time to finalise their work results achieved within the project. During the final meeting, the project partners had a chance, to sum up, their previous work & results within the project and share their experience and ideas for further co-operation. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the meeting was held online. All the partners expressed their hopes to continue cooperating to support the development of sustainable public transport, mobility and connectivity in South Baltic Area.

Finally on December 3rd 2020 during the final ERB Executive Board meeting in 2020 the Board members all agreed to establish another task force in the Euroregion Baltic – Mobility Core Group, which will consist of partners from the Interconnect project, as well as contact persons and experts from the ERB member organisations.

The content of this website is the sole responsibility of the author and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union, the Managing Authority or the Joint Secretariat of the South Baltic Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020. The project UMBRELLA is partly financed from the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020 through the European Regional Development Fund.