Euroregion Baltic at the IX Kaliningrad partner – regions Forum

The IX Kaliningrad partner – regions Forum took place in Kaliningrad on 18-19 June 2019. Among participant there were Vice-Governor of the Kaliningrad region Mr. A.Rolbinov, Chair of the Kaliningrad region Duma Ms. M. Orgeeva, Ambassador-at-large of the MFA of Russia Mr. M. Vanin, Deputy EU Ambassador to Russia Ms. A.Simkic, director of the Department of Development and Foreign Economic Affairs of the Ministry for Economic Development of Russia Ms. L. Schur-Trukhanovich and other officials.

More than 300 participants from Poland, Lithuania, Belorussia, Germany, Norway, Latvia and the regions of Russia (Kaliningrad, Murmansk, Moscow, Saint-Petersburg,  Archangelsk, Novgorod, Pskov, the Leningrad region and the Komi Republic) took part in the plenary session and thematic sections, discussed practical aspects of regional cooperation in various spheres.

Mr A. Rolbinov in his speech on behalf of the Governor of the Kaliningrad region said: “The Forum is organized on an annual basis which proves the interest of all participating parties in building partnership relations. One of the good examples of such long-term interaction is the implementation of the Cross-border cooperation Programmes “Poland – Russia” and “Lithuania – Russia”. At the moment the contraction of projects is going on, and the interesting fact is that most of them are aimed at tourism development and cultural heritage preservation.

Representatives of the Association of Polish Communes Euroregion Baltic

The Vice-Governor also reminded participants about the forthcoming launch of the free E-visas mechanism for foreign citizens planning to visit the Kaliningrad region: “There will be an opportunity to apply for a visa at the special website and to get entry notice in just  4 days. The E-visa is free and the term of stay is 8 days”.

The Ambassador-at-large of the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs Mr M. Vanin also welcomed the participants: “During some previous years the Forum became an important regional event. It gives impulse to further development of international cooperation between the Kaliningrad region and European countries. Achieving success in establishing regional and municipal links we develop trust between the neighbouring countries. We want the Baltic Sea region to be sustainable and prosperous. The Forum contributes to working out coordinates for practical actions. Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now participation in preparations for launching processes of agreeing on programs for the next financial period 2021-2027”.

A number of pan-baltic organizations were presented including the Euroregion Baltic and BSSSC – Kaliningrad Region is an active partner in both of them. Also, there was a presentation of the outcomes from the recent Baltic Sea Youth Camp organized in Gdańsk, Poland jointly by the: BSSSC, Euroregion Baltic, Union of Baltic Cities and co-financed by the CBSS.

Presentation of the Euroregion Baltic
Youth voice with comments and ideas straight after the Baltic Sea Youth Camp

Several agreements were signed during the Forum. Among them two grant contracts for the implementation of the large-scale strategic projects within the Cross-border cooperation Programme “Poland – Russia”: construction of the bikeway from Zelenogradsk to Svetlogorsk and construction of the wharf in the Svetliy municipality.

Participation Day 2019 and UMBRELLA mid-term conference in Gdańsk!

Almost 100 participants from Baltic Sea Region NGOs, academia, municipalities and various transnational projects joined us on 11th June 2019 in Gdansk to take part in 3rd Participation Day.

This years event was organized jointly by the EUSBSR HA Capacity coordinators, Umbrella project, which is led by the Euroregion Baltic, and Union of the Baltic Cities. We invited the stakeholders to come and share their project ideas for future cooperation possibilities in our region.

Please see below the list of projects sent to the organisers and discussed during the event:

  1. Innovations for a circular and socially coherent economy (25)
  • Waste Management and handling Household Waste in the BSR (Sweden)
  • Baltic Sea clusters network for innovation in the maritime industry (Poland)
  • Remote sensing of marine plastic pollution (Poland)
  • Smart Regions 4.0 (Poland)
  • Biking South Baltic – More Emotion (Poland)
  1. Urban mobility – smart and sustainable (7)
  2. Antimicrobial resistance and pharmaceuticals in the Baltic Sea Region environment (6)
  • Operational consortium (Poland)
  1. Competence supply (12)
  • SECiSo – supported education to re-integrate early school leavers (Sweden)
  • STEAM –  increasing the attractiveness of science and technology (Finland)
  • Digital employment – how digital solutions can be used for workers’ continue learning (Finland)
  • EduPython (Poland)
  1. Other proposals (for example; access to clean water, green technologies, rural development) (17)
  • Baltic Cultural Strategy Network – forming a network of those cities in the BSR that have been European Capital of Culture (Sweden)
  • Application of satellite data for environment management (Poland)
  • Enhancing stakeholder participation in the EUSBSR by honing their sustainability skills (Poland)
  • Changes in agricultural production due to climate change (Poland)
  • ESTLAT harbours (Latvia)
  • Coastal hiking (Latvia)
  • Vertical wind power-stations (Poland)
  • Studio visit (Poland).

At first, participants were welcomed by the Vice Marshal of the pomorskie Region and ERB Board Member – Mr Wiesław Byczkowski, followed by Anders Bergstrom, representing both HA Capacity and PA Education as their coordinator. He also explained the concept of Participation Day. They were followed by three inspirational speeches from the representatives of 3 different sectors:

Public sector
Mr. Mikko Lohikoski, Union of the Baltic Cities


• Private sector
Mr. Tomasz Szymczak, Starter Incubator and Gdańsk Entrepreneurship Foundation (ppt here: Participation Day Gdańsk Tomasz Szymczak


• 3rd sector
Ms. Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło, Euroregion Baltic (ppt here: PD2019 MagdaLeszczynaRzucidloEuroregionBaltic)

After a short break, Anders Bergström, Horizontal Action Coordinator, HA Capacity presented RU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in brief – presentation here: EUSBSR_HA_CAP_Participation_Day_2019_Gdansk_20190611 

All five workshops are linked to the overall theme of the Annual Forum addressing the growing challenges such as depopulation, ageing, migrations, new production and consumption models, but also new social, cultural, mobility and labour market patterns, which influence our everyday behaviours and attitudes. The introduction by the PA and HA Coordinators provided an overview of existing development processes in the five thematic areas including possibilities to take part in existing
development processes.
1. Innovations for a circular and socially coherent economy – Ms Esa Kokkonen, PA INNO
2. Urban mobility – smart and sustainable
3. Antimicrobial resistance and pharmaceuticals in the BSR environment) PA Health Hazards – AMR and pharmaceuticals in BSR region
4. Competence supply – Daria Akhutina, CBSS
5. Other proposals (for example; access to clean water, green technologies, rural development –  full list of the projects is attached here: EUSBSR_Participation_Day_2019_PROJECTS)

Thank you to all the #UMBRELLA partners for being with us in Gdansk and thank you to all the participants for fruitful discussion, lots of great ideas and fantastic networking sessions!

As for the Participation Day concept – we will see you next year in Finland!

UMBRELLA project 2nd Awareness Raising Event in Denmark

On Europe Day, 9th May, UMBRELLA project held its second Awareness Raising Event. What better occasion to talk about EU opportunities for municipalities and educational institutions? These were the main focus groups of the conference that took place in Sorø, a small municipality located in the core of Region Zealand and perfect location to gather stakeholders from all the surroundings The host was Guldborgsund Municipality, represented by our Umbrella’s partners Anna Topp Gustavsen and Frede Danborg, and by the Mayor John Brædder, who spent some welcoming words to provide an overview of the region’s affairs and projects. Co-organizer of the event was CELF- Centre for Vocational Educational Lolland- Falster, represented by Claus Brandt Kristensen.

What was the scope of our Awareness Raising Event? Well, as you might know, Umbrella is committed to increase capacity among local actors in the South Baltic Sea and to do so, information stands at the basis of all our activities. After the first ARE, held in Gdansk in June 2018, many things happened but there’s always need to meet new people and improve the networking, covering all the regions where our partners are located.

Very good point in our ARE was the presentation conducted by “Greater Copenhagen EU Office”, represented by Jesper Blaabjerg Holm who talked about EU funding opportunities, with some hints for the future programming period 2021-2027.

The afternoon session was marked by three parallel workshops on:

  • Renewable Energy, with focus on biomass and biogas thanks to the participation of the Energy Agency for the southeast Sweden and Gate 21 (DK)
  • Cultural Cooperation, that gathered a group from cultural centres and museums that came up with ideas for further cooperation
  • Educational cooperation, moderated by CELF representatives.

Please see all the presentations below:

We hope that the numerous occasions of networking during this day laid the basis for further collaboration and that participants will feel inspired to follow our next events and activities in fall!

Adventures of the ERB Ivy volunteers

Hi everyone!

Here are Milena and Danilo, two young Italian Ivy volunteers (lost) in Poland.

No, we didn’t know each other before and we are not doing the same project. Actually we don’t even live in the same city.

But last week there was a very interesting event in Gdansk, the “Communication Training for project manager”, organized by the South Baltic Interreg, and we have met there.

We couldn’t stop to talk about our different experiences:

I am an Interreg Project Partner the at International Permanent Secretariat Euroregion Baltic in Elblag, while Danilo is an Interreg Reporter at Joint Secretariat INTERREG SOUTH BALTIC PROGRAMME, in Gdansk.

What does it means?

Well, in few words, Danilo is mainly involved in communication and dissemination of information concerning INTERREG projects, cross-border cooperation and so on;

Regarding me,  instead, my tasks are more related to support and implement 2 INTERREG projects: CaSYPot, which aims is to find a common Youth Strategy among the Baltic Regions, and InterConnect, which focuses on new and more efficient public transport services.

Where do we live?

We are both in Poland; Danilo lives in Gdansk, one of the largest cities in Poland, on the Baltic Sea. It’s an international city, full of students, tourists and young people. There is a river that goes into the city centre, which reminds me of Navigli in Milano, just to give you an idea.

I live in Elblag, not far from Gdansk. Ok, we don’t have the sea, but we have beautiful parks and forests. When the weather is nice I go with my super-bike among trees and wild vegetation.

What’s next?

Honestly, we don’t know exactly, but for sure this experience has brought us a lot. We are both thinking of staying in Poland for the future, or maybe for a few years.

Danilo has even managed to learn a bit of Polish, which, believe me, is not easy at all!

We want to say thanks to IVY for this experience, thanks to Euroregion Baltic International Permanent Secretariat and Joint Secretariat Interreg South Baltic Programme to host us,

we are learning a lot from You, from the organizations and from the people are behind them.

New Interreg South Baltic projects have been selected for funding

As a result of the 6th call for proposals, 9 projects have been selected for funding by the Monitoring Committee (MC) of the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020. On 15th and 16th May 2019 in Palanga (Lithuania), the delegates selected for funding the following projects:
 
Specific Objective 2.2. Increased use of green technologies in order to decrease the pollution discharges in the South Baltic area
•    BSAM ¬ Baltic Smart Asset Management
•    Liquid Energy – Liquefied (bio-)gas as a driving force for development and use of green energy technology
•    WISA – Water Innovation System Amplifier
•    BAPR – Baltic Phytoremediation


Specific Objective 3. Improve the quality and environmental sustainability of transport services in the South Baltic area
•    Secmar – Secure Digitalisation for Sustainable Maritime Transport


Specific Objective 4. Increase the share of skilled labour force working in blue and green economy sectors of the South Baltic area through joint cross-border actions
•    JOHANNA – Joint staff Qualification in SB Destinations to increase the skilled workforce in the SBS and by that ensure a sustainable SCS development in the SBS
•    AquaVIP – Aquaculture Virtual career development Platform for the South Baltic region


Specific Objective 5. Improve the cooperation capacity of local South Baltic area actors through participation in cross-border networks
•    CROSSROADS – Crossroads in History
•    South Baltic Creative Clusters – Initiating a network of interacting creative clusters in the SB Region


The total eligible budget of the 6th call project selected for funding by the Monitoring Committee is 10 695 451,50 EUR.

We are especially proud, that the CROSSROADS project received the funding, as it was one of our #UMBRELLA project beneficiaries, who received our support via microactivity and further expert help while preparing the application.

 The Minutes of the 7th Monitoring Committee meeting of the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020 (pdf) 223.0 KB

Photo from the Interreg South Baltic official website

Baltic Sea Youth 2030 meeting in Gdańsk

On the 6th and 7th of May the Baltic Sea Youth 2030 meeting took place in Gdansk.

Several Youth organizations have contributed and young people have had the opportunity to build the future plan together with experts  on youth and cooperation.

ERB was present, along with CBSS, BSSSC, ERB, Latvian Youth Council, Swedish Youth, Council, Leontief Centre, Nordisk Institute på Åland/Ålands Natur och Milljö, ReGeneration 2030, International Cooperation Burau at the Office of the Marshal of the Pomorskie Voivodeship, Morena Association, as well as LSU and  LJP representatives who joined online.

It was a crucial meeting to start a more systematic process of coordination amoung youth in the Baltic Sea Regions, to share with all the participants what has been done so far and  which steps to be taken for the future.

The topics discussed focused on the practical instruments to engage young people and to improve communication between youth organizations.

Young people underlined the real need to have the opportunity to meet several times a year, in addition to online meetings, to build a strong cooperation within the Baltic Sea Regions.

The wokshop on the second day, brought some real ideas for the possibilities and applications that youth can catch in the frame of Erasmus + program. Thanks to the experts present, youth have started to draw the initial ideas that will be developed in the future.


Young people are planning to create a video and a letter for all organizations, politicians and adults who can and want to actively contribute, in order to ask their support.

Let’s make our voice heard!

Text by our IVY volunteer – Milena Pallotta

Skåne Association of Local Authorities joins Euroregion Baltic

Over the last few years Euroregion Baltic has been constantly developing its activities as an important and active cooperation platform not only in the South Baltic area but in the wider Baltic Sea Region. These activities resulted not only in the improved visibility of the organisation but also started to deliver concrete results based on the involvement of ERB in several cross-border projects. This development momentum culminated in 2018 when on its 20th anniversary ERB has been approached by the Skåne Association of Local Authorities (Kommunförbundet Skåne – KFSK) to discuss a potential membership in the organisation.

Having concluded almost one year of concrete negotiations and fruitful meetings, in September 2018 the KFSK decided to apply for a membership in Euroregion Baltic. Following this request, the Executive Board of ERB decided to approve the KFSK membership and welcomed the Association as its new member effective starting from 1st January 2019.

The Skåne Association of Local Authorities (Kommunförbundet Skåne – KFSK) is a nonprofit organisation with the task of supporting and developing the local self-governance, protecting local interests, promoting collaboration between municipalities and assisting them in their activities. With all 33 municipalities in Skåne being members of the Association, KFSK works in important cooperation areas of energy and climate, environment and community planning, labour market and business, local authority management, education, public health and welfare as well as research, innovation and development.

The Association is also very active in cross-border cooperation, supporting their municipalities in international projects and directly joining some of them as an important and very experienced actor. This will undoubtedly provide a added value in ERB cooperation, opening the platform to new ideas and cooperation initiatives, especially in the area of green tech and sustainable development.

ERB position on future EU Cohesion Policy after 2020

During the ERB Executive Board meeting in Palanga (18th-19th September) a position paper on the future EU Cohesion Policy after 2020 was signed by Ms. Akko Karlsson, ERB president, and Mr. Per Ole Petersen, ERB Vice-President.

In the document, the ERB adopted four main recommendations regarding a strengthened EU Cohesion Policy, the importance of European Territorial Cooperation and people-to-people projects, improved coordination with macro-regional strategies, and simplified administrative and financial regulations.

ERB supports economic, social and territorial cohesion, recognizing the importance of the European Structural and Investment Funds for growth and jobs underlying, in this frame, the need of distinguishing between cohesion and investment policies.

One point that has been underlined regards the need of adopting shared management instruments for a real involvement of actors at local and regional level, apart from the development of small-scale, people-to-people projects in order to build-up trust in the neighbouring regions.

ERB will strive to align its activities with the macro-regional strategies- with the EUSBSR in this case. Moreover, in this macro-region Russia plays a fundamental role that pushed ERB to commit in carrying on a dialogue with Kaliningrad Region on topics of common interests.

Finally, ERB asked for simplified administrative and financial regulations.

The position is available at this link.

Vacancy at the South Baltic Programme – Project Officer

If you are an enthusiastic and open-minded person, interested in working in an international context, you should seize this opportunity!

The South Baltic Programme’s Joint Secretariat in Gdańsk (Poland) offers a long-term, temporary replacement employment contract for the vacancy of Project Officer (estimated replacement period till the end of 2019).

» Read more

Youth 3.0 and Youth 4.0 projects approved in Erasmus+

Two Erasmus + projects, submitted by ERB partners in Sweden and Denmark have just been approved: Youth 3.0 and Youth 4.0. They are two of the four ambitious projects submitted last April by a partnership of four organizations in Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Lithuania. The leadership is foreseen for Europe Direct Bornholm for Youth 3.0, and Kumulus for Youth 4.0, organizations both committed in the field of youth cooperation. » Read more

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