On 27th September 2011 the Euroregion Baltic Executive Board adopted the Position Paper on the future of the South Baltic Cross-border Cooperation Programme after 2013. Since Euroregion Baltic was an early supporter of establishing the Programme and later actively participated in its implementation and management, the ERB Executive Board decided to voice its unanimous support for its future continuation.
The adoption of the document was also a direct result of the work of the ERB Task Force on the EU Cohesion Policy that had been established during the ERB cooperation review process in 2010 to enhance the role of ERB as a lobbying platform towards the EU by monitoring the preparation of future Cohesion Policy and promoting the greater role the Objective 3 – European Territorial Cooperation.
The Position Paper investigates four main elements of the Programme i.e. geographical scope, thematic focus, financial framework as well as management and implementation, and lays out concrete proposals to its future architecture.
Concerning the geographical scope, ERB proposes that all its member regions be included in the Programme in the next programming period. This means that the Programme area would be extended to all Warmińsko-Mazurskie in Poland and also include the Kaliningrad Region which could participate according to the same financial mechanisms as the regions within EU. Also, ERB believes that the 150 kilometre limit for maritime borders should be replaced with a criterion of functional geographies such as euroregions.
The thematic focus of the South Baltic Programme should be based on the Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the Northern Dimension and cover such issues as the sustainable enlargement of markets and sustainable management and use of the maritime environment, natural heritage and people-to-people actions.
Euroregion Baltic also proposes to significantly increase the allocation of EU funding in the Programme to better address existing economic and social disparities, meet the challenges related to the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and overcome problems resulting from significant distances and maritime border between cooperating regions.
Finally, concerning the management and implementation, the Position Paper proposes to merge the Steering and Monitoring Committees into one Committee, introduce a self-evaluation procedure, simplify the implementation rules and include the N+3 automatic de-commitment rule in all territorial cooperation programmes.
The whole text of the Position Paper on the South Baltic CBC Programme can be viewed here.