During the two days of the Interreg South Baltic Programme kick-off conference the stakeholders took the occasion to celebrate the official closure of the South Baltic Programme 2007-2013 and inauguration of the next Programme generation 2014-2020. Being simultaneously a closure and inaugural event, the conference gathered more than 160 participants in total.
Organised onboard the ferry MF Skania (Unity Line) between Ystad (SE) and Świnoujście (PL), the first day was officially opened by Ms Anita Ryng from the Polish Ministry for Infrastructure and Development. Looking back upon the efforts done between 2007 and 2013, Thorsten Kohlisch and Dominika Butkiewicz (Joint Secretariat) shared results of the Programme and experiences gained by the Programme staff.
The South Baltic Storyville – a narrative session dedicated to personal stories – gathered end-users from Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden who shared how South Baltic projects affected their life and business.
Ms Regina Huber (Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy), outlined the priorities and expectations of the European Commission towards the 5th generation of INTERREG programmes, emphasising the main changes envisaged for the new programming period (as compared to 2007-2013) and highlighting the headwords of ‘thematic concentration’, ‘result orientation’ and ‘partnership’.
Representing the Managing Authority of the Programme, Ms Inga Kramarz introduced the overall Programme objective (to increase the blue and green growth potential of the South Baltic area through cross-border cooperation) together with the five priority axes and specific objectives of the new Programme.
In a panel discussion with members of the Joint Programming Committee, Anita Ryng (MA), Krzysztof Żarna (PL), Cecilia Lagerdahl (SE), Steffen Schubert (DE), Niels Chresten Andersen (DK) and Sebastian Magier (Euroregions) shared their views on the new Programme.
Attended by more than 130 guests, the second day of the conference took place in Szczecin and was dedicated to practical sessions providing insights for future applicants. The conference was opened by Vice Marshal Jarosław Rzepa of Zachodniopomorskie. The Joint Secretariat introduced the general Programme’s concepts of blue and green growth and soft cooperation as well as priority axes, project categories, the Programme’s timeframe and available tools for a successful start.
The event continued with a guided partner matching exercise designed for exchange of contacts and ideas.In the afternoon, two strands of parallel workshops on SME internationalisation and innovation, green technologies, cooperation capacity and cross-border networks, tourism, transport as well as labour and skills development allowed for a more detailed introduction of the respective priority axis, presentations of project ideas and subsequent discussions. Actively contributing to the workshops, the Priority Area Coordinators and Horizontal Action Leaders for the areas of Climate Change, Innovation, Tourism and Transport outlined possible synergies with the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The conference was closed with informal networking possibilities including a cross-border band performance.
For more information about the event and conference materials, please follow this link.