BSLF Round Table and CBSS/BSLF Cooperation Group Meeting

(18-19 March 2019, Hamburg)

On the 18th and 19th of March, the kick off meeting by Baltic Sea Labour Forum (BSLF) for Sustainable Working Life (SWL) took place.
The European Social Fund has granted the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) 800,000 Euro for this project, whose aim is to improve working life conditions and life-long learning provisions,as well as systems and policies for elderly, in order to promote active ageing and employability.

Ms Agata Ludwiczak, Deputy Head of International Permanent Secretariat from Euroregion Baltic, took part in this event as Observer, together with the other participants from different organisations namely:

From Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference: Bahr Bodo;

from NORDMETALL, Germany: Bauch Anton, Manzke Hans;

from Norden Association in Sweden, Sweden: Bergstrom Anders, Klonova Anastasia;

from Council of the Baltic Sea States: Akhutina Daria, Hemingway Bernd;

from European Social Fund Agency: Krutulyte Viktorija;

from Confederation of Danish Employees: Miβ lbeck-Winberg Christiane;

from Swedish Riksdag / BSPC, Sweden: Niemi Pyry;

from Nordic Council of Minister: Oldgard Jens;

from DGB Bezirk Nord, Germany: Hessler Siglinde, Polkaehn Uwe;

from Employers’ Confederation of Latvia (LDDK): Pumpins Janis;

from European Social Fund Project, Council of the Baltic Sea States: Fry Somers, Råbergh Christian;

from Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation (LPSK): Ruginiene Inga;

from Ministry of Social Affairs and Heaalth, Work and Gender Equality, Finland: Hämäläinen Päivi, Sauni Riitta;

from German Bundestag: Schraps Johannes;

from Max Planc Institute for Demographic Research, Germany: Edel Andreas;

from Lewiathan Confederation of Employers, Poland: Buchholtz Sonia;

from EUSBSR PA Education, Germany: Hahn Sabine;

from REM consult, Germany: Siemen Hauke;

from Council of Nordic Trade Union (NFS): Tabermann Jenny;

from Federal Service for Labour and Employment, Russia: Korchemkina Olga;

from Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Finland: Koivuneva Lippa;

from Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (LBAS): Liepina Irena;

from Former German Bundestag member, BSLF founder, Germany: Thoennes Franz;

from Academy of Economics Schleswig-Holstein, Germany: Wagemester Hartwig.

Mr Hans Manzke and Dr. Anton Bauch from NORDMETALL and Mr Uwe Polkaehn and Ms Johannes Schraps on behalf of DGB Nord, welcomed all the guests and the meeting officially started. Ms Daria Akhutina presented a report on “current developments in the field of Labour and Employment: activities and ESF Project’BSLF for Sustainable Working Life”, followed by a report on the trade unions presented by Ms Irena Liepina.

The subsequent reports were presented by employer organisations from Poland, Denmark, Latvia and Russia.
Ms Sonia Buchholtz presented the Lewiatan Confederation, which is the largest employers’ organisation in Poland, with more than 4000 companies involved: “Our mission is to provide some business conditions and support the competitiveness of companies, focusing on stable economic growth, high quality legislation, jobs and social capital. In 2018 the annual GDP growth was over 5%. There is not a lack of demands, but a lack of skills workers. In Poland there are some policies for the elder citizens that change from one that emphasizes ecnomic activities, to one that emphasizes social activities; the work access for elder workers is low.”
Ms Sonia also spoke about the new retirement legislation, work and immigration.

Then Ms Christiane Miβ lbeck-Winberg, from the Confederation of Danish Employees, took the floor, talking about the current situation in Denmark: “In Denmark the percentage of unemployment is 3.8%. People come to Denmark from Romania, Germany and other European countries… on the one hand we need people to come to Europe, to come to Denmark to work, but on the other hand the nationalistic parties want to close down the Danish borders.”

Afterwards Mr Pumpins Janis, LDDK, talked about the issues in Latvia “One of the main problems in Latvia is the lack of a labour force, many people from Latvia emigrate to other countries. Latvia has the worst situation in all the EU cuntries because our population has decreased by 27% in recent years. Our priority as organization is to form labour force with competitiveness skills.”

Last but not least, Ms Olga Korchemkina, State Agency ROSTRUD, from Russia, emphasized the importance of the collaboration and cohesion between EU and Russia: “It is really interesting to see the different approaches that these two counries have, the problems are different and the approaches are different.”

In the afternoon, Bodo Bahr, Secretary General, BSPC presented the report “Norwegian priority for the next Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference”; which was followed by the analysis made by Ms Anastasia Klonova, Norden Association, titled “Youth Employment in light of the knowledge Platform Integrate young people in NEET situation”.
A discussion was initiated on “policy recommendations on behalf of BSLF focused on social policies in light of demographic change, labour market’s needs and active ageing”.

On the second day, 19th of March, the meeting was moderated by Ms Daria Akhutina, CBSS Senior Advisor. It started by illustrating Lithuania’s experience through the presentation of “ESF 54+ initiative”. Therefore Mr Hauke Siemen, REM consult, spoke about the outcomes from the implemented Interreg BSR projects ‘Best Agers’ and ‘Best Agers Lighthouses’, followed by Mr Anders Bergstrom, who presented the EUSBSR PA Education: “Way Forward”.

At the end of the meeting, Mr Somers Fry and Mr ChristianRåbergh underlined the role of the BSLF and BSLF/CBSS Cooperation Group on Labour.

On 12-13th June, BLSF will take part in the EUS BSR Annual Forum in Gdansk, Poland.

In the near future, the Lewiathan Confederation of Employers from Poland will be discussing their participation in the Baltic Sea Labour Forum.


“ Right of access to public information” SIA4Y WORKSHOP

The SIA4Y “Right of information access from the youth perspective” workshop took place from 6th-7th March in Elblag, Poland!
The event was organized by the Association of Polish Communes of Euroregion Baltic and brought together 100 young people! There were participants from several Lithuanian cities (Telšiai, Vilnius, Eigirdžiai, Klaipeda), the Russian city of Kaliningrad, Sweden (city of Hässleholm), Poland (Elbląg, Gdańsk, Nowe Miasto Lubawskie, Iława, Dzierzgoń, Olsztyn, Gdynia, Słupsk, Otomin, Warsaw, Przezmark), Italy and Greece!
On 6th March, the participants from abroad arrived in Elbląg! There was a joint dinner and a small local tour by Mr Marcin Żuchowski and Ms Paulina Lieder before the participants’ went to rest and prepare for the forthcoming day!
On 7th March, the workshop ensued in the Town Hall of Elblag. It opened with a speech by Ms. Malgorzata Samusjew, Director of the Association of Polish Communes, workshop host organization. Ms. Valentina Scandola, organizer of the event, introduced the agenda of the day and launched a social media contest, giving later the floor to Ms Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło, representing the Polish Economic Society Branch in Gdańsk, who introduced the project “SIA4Y- Strengthening Civil Society Participation through Public Information Access for European Youth”.
The day was divided into two main workshop sessions, whose main scope was to bring the topic of “right of information access” in the foreground, also trough a synergy between SIA4Y, CaSYPoT and SB YCGN project. The Association of Polish Communes of Euroregion Baltic, in fact, had a chance to keep a fil rouge with the youth-related activities that have been implemented in the last two years. The first one on “Responsible relationships and youth civic engagement”.
The first session was held by Marcin Żuchowski and Agata Ludwiczak, from the hosting organization. The second session, instead, counted on Mr Sergejus Muravjovas and Ms Ieva Duncikaite’s moderation from Transparency International Lithuania with the title: “Model Your Municipality: Participatory Budgeting Session”.
“Responsible relationships and youth civic engagement” session:
At their first task, the participants were divided into 8 groups and asked to answer questions on 8 youth tools, which had a distinct goal each, and were written on large pieces of paper across 8 separate tables. Each group would then proceed to the next table. The tools were: employment mobility, youth information, Youth Centers, youth media, Schools of the Future, School’s Youth Zone, Baltic Youth Week, SB YCGN local round-table meetings-suggestions.
Before the launch of the second session, the winners of the social media contest were prized with lots of tech prizes and the participants had a lunch break in an adjacent room where a rich buffet was laid out.
“Model Your Municipality: Participatory Budgeting Session”:
In this part, participants were partnered according to their home towns and asked to think of and create the budget for a common project that would benefit their municipalities. The allowed budget for the participants was 100 000 euros and they had to present their idea along with the expenses that it’d require. Afterwards, each group presented the idea they came up with and finally the audience had the chance to vote for the idea they considered most interesting and likely to be implemented. The team from Tricity area presented a beach cleaning system and received the most votes. Special mention should be made of the participants from the Elblag-Kaliningrad group who proposed an international cultural festival and the team from Nowe Miasto Lubawskie who presented a very detailed budget.
The workshop closed with a presentation by Mr Dominik Kwiatkowski about the participatory budgeting in the city of Słupsk and a focus group discussion conducted by Mr Marcin Żuchowski about the situation of youth in their schools. This last session was held in the frame of YCGN project.
In general, it was a really fun and educational workshop and its young participants had the chance to get more informed about their rights and opportunities to communicate with and influence their municipalities!

By IVY Theodora Chatzipanteli

Invitation to submit offers for the provision of services under the UMBRELLA project

We invite you to submit offers for the provision of National trainings, coaching sessions and training materials for the beneficiaries of the UMBRELLA project – Boosting cross-border cooperation capacities for local actors in the South Baltic Sea, co-financed by the INTERREG VA Poland- Denmark- Germany- Lithuania – Sweden program (South Baltic) 2014 – 2020

All documents necessary to submit an offer are available in the BIP (Biuletyn Informacji Publicznej) at the following link:

The deadline for submitting offers is March 27, 2019 at 12.00.

Euroregion Baltic (ERB) Youth Strategy presented during the Executive Board Meeting in Klaipeda, Lithuania

Youth is often defined as the age group from 16 until around 30-34. It can be a time of great opportunities and challenges when people prepare for the responsibilities ahead, including their livelihood, family obligations, and productive engagement with their communities.

Overview of the Euroregion Baltic Youth Strategy

The Euroregion Baltic Youth Strategy was created by Mr Przemyslaw Kulawczuk, Mr Andrzej Poszewiecki and Ms Elzbieta Kolasinka in cooperation with Mr Damian Ciachorowski and the ERB Youth Board and in accordance with research done within the scope of the CaSYPoT project. It was presented by Ms Agata Ludwiczak of Euroregion Baltic International Permanent Secretariat during the ERB Executive and Youth Board meetings in Klaipeda, Lithuania on the 13th and 14th of February respectively. The Youth Strategy’s focus is on recommending measures that will foster collaboration between the countries of the Euroregion Baltic. This aims to tackle the issues of youth migration and regional depopulation as well as the resulting social and economic challenges.

The Euroregion Baltic and its challenges

These issues are shared to a different extent by each of the countries and administrative regions which constitute the Euroregion Baltic. The regions included are Bornholm (Denmark), Kalmar, Kronoberg, Blekinge, Skåne (Sweden), Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Pomorskie (Poland), Klaipeda (Lithuania) as well as the Kaliningrad region of Russia. Relevant studies illustrate the dramatic results of regional abandonment which are especially pronounced in Poland and Lithuania and less noticeable in Sweden and Denmark.
Unfortunately, it appears that many provinces in the Baltic region are currently in a cycle of limited opportunities, outbound immigration and social and economic abandonment. The youth who are the future of their regions are particularly affected by this. In each region-member of the Euroregion Baltic, high percentages of young people have to deal with unemployment, lack of options in higher education and limited chances of self-realization. The result of this is that the majority want to move to a larger municipality or city.
Currently, each of the regions of the Euroregion Baltic has its own youth policy trying to deal with these issues. Cooperation and sharing experience between the regions are very limited. However, if more cross-border initiatives and collaboration were to be established, that could make the regions more attractive to their youth and create more opportunities.

The new Euroregion Baltic’s Youth Strategy proposal

Euroregion Baltic’s Youth Strategy is focused on understanding the young people’s needs and helping to communicate them. The three main strategic objectives of the new Youth Strategy are : connecting the youth through the promotion of mobility, engaging through development and empowering through the building of identity. First, with an increased mobility it becomes easier for young people to connect across the Baltic Sea and beyond in order to gain work experience, make connections and cooperate with other young people and adult experts. Second, the promotion of development supports the youth by fostering quality, innovation and sustainable development in cities and regions. Finally, by focusing on building identity, the Euroregion Baltic can strengthen the relations between its young people and foster future cooperation and common understanding.
A positive element of the strategy is that it includes in its creation young people alongside politicians, authorities, experts and universities. This will not only help in the implementation of the strategy by the local government but also ensure its success which is directly linked to the youth participation in it.

Euroregion Baltic has several tools in its disposal with which to achieve these objectives like employment mobility, youth information, Students’ Council, Youth Centers, media, school’s first job and many others.

Now it only remains to see which of these can be adopted and put into action on local level!

By IVY Theodora Chatzipanteli

Euroregion Baltic Executive Board Meeting (13th – 14th February 2019)

The Euroregion Baltic Executive Board and the Youth Board meetings transpired in Radisson Blue Hotel in Klaipeda, Lithuania from 13-14th February 2019!

On 13th February, the Euroregion Baltic Executive Board meeting took place. Some of its highlights included: the presentation of the Skåne Association of Local Authorities-from Sweden-as the new ERB member, the transfer of the ERB Presidency from Denmark to Lithuania, the approval of the new Head of the Euroregion Baltic International Permanent Secretariat and the ERB Action Plan for 2019. Furthermore, the new Executive Board members were introduced, a new sequence of ERB Presidencies was proposed to start after 2020 and various reports detailing hard-earned results and plans for the future were exhibited.

The inclusion of Skåne  Association of Local Authorities is undoubtedly a very important moment in ERB history. The Association from Sweden represents the 33 most southern municipalities in Sweden. Due to the Swedish local self-government tradition, the municipalities have responsibilities in many important areas such as climate issues and water. The organization also has an office in Brussels which is participating in several working groups such as Blue Growth, Energy and Climate, Water and Digitalization.

The Skåne  Association’s interests coincide with the goals of the new Lithuanian Presidency of the Euroregion Baltic (in the picture) so, it will be interesting to see how cooperation in these subjects will evolve. The Lithuanian ERB Presidency will focus on: blue and green growth (through smart specialization tool-kit), EU Cohesion policy (by effective lobbying and focusing on the South Baltic Programme after 2020) and accessibility/ transport (through the implementation of the Interconnect Project).

These goals were also included in the ERB Action Plan for 2019. It was presented by the new President of the Euroregion Baltic, Mr Vytautas Grubliauskas. The funds, projects connected to the ERB, and success criteria were demonstrated. The new strategy involves events like the Participation Day (in the frame of the EUSBSR Annual Forum) which will take place on 11th June 2019 in Gdansk, right after the Baltic Sea Youth Camp, event that will be attended by 100 young people and representatives of the HA- Horizontal Actions like HA- Capacity Building.

Finally and most importantly, we are glad to have Ms Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło (in the picture) as the new Head of the ERB International Permanent Secretariat to replace Mr Sebastian Magier who spent almost a decade working dedicatedly for the Euroregion Baltic. Ms Leszczyna-Rzucidło will start her duties in April and until then, Ms Agata Ludwiczak will lead the ERB IPS. Ms Leszczyna-Rzucidło scored the highest result in the interview stage of the recruitment and also received warm recommendations during the Executive Board Meeting. We are looking forward for her arrival in the ERB IPS!

On 14th February, the Youth Board meeting took place. Ms Agata Ludwiczak, from ERB IPS, and Mr Marcin Żuchowski, from the Association of Polish Communes, presented the new Youth Strategy. The strategy is focused around 3 objectives: mobility, development and identity. In order for these objectives to be fulfilled, the use of almost 40 tools was recommended. Some of these tools include youth mobility, the Students’ Council, Youth Centers, youth media, school’s first job and others. Furthermore, there was a discussion on the future of the Youth Board which involved a variety of suggestions and requests for changes in its structure.


In conclusion, the ERB Executive Board meeting introduced certain changes of crucial importance and drew the plan for the future. On the other hand, the Youth Board meeting brought into light many of the alterations needed to be made in order to boost its influence and effectiveness. Both meetings were characterized by openness, cordiality and a sincere wish to discuss and cooperate.

  • The next meeting of the ERB Executive Board and the Annual Forum of the ERB stakeholders will take place in Kalmar on 13th-14th May 2019!

By IVY Theodora Chatzipanteli

Connect Europe’s 1st ever meeting! (Copenhagen, 21-22.02.2019)

The first ever meeting signaling the start of the “ Connect Europe “ project took place in Copenhagen from 21-22 February 2019!
The “Connect Europe” project aims to engage citizens from 7 different European countries in a constructive dialogue about the future of Europe and to support the various EU agendas and values. The project is co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union and designed to increase transnational cooperation within the EU. This will be accomplished with local talks, national conferences, pan-European campaigns and a final event. Its duration will be 15 months starting on January 1st 2019 and closing on 30th June 2020. It is led by Nyt Europa from Denmark with the joint efforts of Aktiivinen Eurooppalainen Kansalainen Suomi Ry – AEKS (Finland), Democracy International e.V (Germany), Stichting Netwerk Democratie (Netherlands), Stowarzyszenie Gmin RP Euroregion Baltyk (Poland), Plataforma Portuguesa para os direitos das Mulheres (Portugal) and the European Civic Forum.
In its kickoff meeting the participants met to agree on the details and to compile shared topics and materials for local discussions and national conferences. Nyt Europe was represented by Ms Julie Rosenkilde, Mr Jacob Bjelskov Jorgensen and Mr Troels Knudsen, AEKS was represented by Ms Marita Modenius, Democracy International by Ms Daniela Vancic and Ms Anne Hardt, Netwerk Democratie by Ms Anne de Zeeuw, Euroregion Baltic by Ms Agata Ludwiczak, Plataforma Muheres by Ms Ana Sofia Fernandes and the European Civic Forum by Mr Vladimir Sestovic.
On 20th February 2019, the participants met and visited MP Mogens Lykketoft at the Danish Parliament. Mr Mogens Lukketoft is an MP from the Social Democratic Party, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Finance and former President of the UN General Assembly. Mr Lukketoft spoke about subjects like the decreasing popularity of the EU especially in Southern Europe, the EU referendums and the Brexit crisis, the results of austerity as a policy, sustainable development and EU’s potential. Later, several European Parliament activities for citizens were organized consisting of local talks and campaigns.
On 21st February, the partners discussed about the conference themes and project management. Each organization committed to organize an event on one of the 7 Chapters of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights- dignity, freedoms, equality, solidarity, citizens’ rights, justice and general provisions. ERB is covering the topic of solidarity by boosting democratic discussion and bringing as example our cooperation for the achievement of Cohesion Policy thanks to the Interreg projects we have worked on. The participants also discussed about the European Solidarity Corps and closed with the budget, partner agreement and reporting.

This November Euroregion Baltic will organize a conference on solidarity in Poland! Details will be published on our site!

Theodora Chatzipanteli
IVY Euroregion Baltic

Baltic Sea Youth Camp 2019

Only a few months are left until the Baltic Sea Youth Camp, which will take place in Hotel Orle in Gdansk, Poland from 8-11 June 2019! The Baltic Sea Youth Camp is a three-day festival which promotes friendship, culture and political awareness among its young participants aged 18-25 from the 11 countries of the Baltic Sea Region and Iceland!
The partnering organizations who are making it happen decided to meet, inspect the hotel’s possibilities and form plans for the Baltic Sea Youth Camp. The meeting took place on 30th and 31st January in Gdansk, Poland. With Akershus Fylkeskommune, representing Baltic Sea States Sub-regional Cooperation (BSSSC), from Norway as the lead partner, and several co-partners; namely Euroregion Baltic (Poland), Union of Baltic Cities (Denmark) and Baltic Sea Cultural Centre (Poland), the meeting brought together professionals from several Euroregion Baltic countries.
On 30th January, the participants visited the island Wyspa Sobieszewska where the Hotel Orle, Gdansk is situated. The hotel which will accommodate the Baltic Sea Youth Camp is only 15 km from the center of Gdansk and is easily accessible by public transport and car. Furthermore, it is a large complex so, it is difficult to miss! Surrounded by a pine forest and only several meters away from the beach, the hotel offers many opportunities for various activities (especially sports) as well as every possible facility and comfort that a young person might wish for. There is internet and TV in the rooms and saunas, spa and massage in the first floors.
On 31st January, the main organizational meeting for the Baltic Sea Youth Camp took place. The attendees discussed subjects like participation, inclusivity, selection criteria and the daily schedule which will follow the Camp’s main themes and goals. There was an abundance of proposals for activities and workshops that could take place during the Youth Camp, so selecting the best was quite a challenge! The focus was kept around secular economy, sustainability, ecology and culture. There was a special emphasis on activities that will directly involve the youth and boost international communication and cooperation among the participants of the Camp. Finally, a draft of the schedule was made and the responsibility for each workshop was distributed among the various organizations from each Baltic country.
In conclusion, the organizations involved held a productive meeting which helped map a clear plan for the Baltic Sea Youth Camp. The working process and overall atmosphere were effective, open and cordial and while there is more to be revised, it can be said that this meeting was of crucial importance for the planning of this exciting, international Youth Camp.
Please feel free to find out more about the Baltic Sea Youth Camp 2019 and what it has to offer on its page “ “ as well as its Facebook page “Baltic Sea Youth Camp 2019”!

– Applications for the Baltic Sea Youth Camp 2019 open soon!

Theodora Chatzipanteli
Euroregion Baltic, IVY

“Right of Information access from the youth perspective” -7th March, Workshop in Elblag

The Agenda of our event is now available: Agenda SIA4Y- 6-7 March 2019

“Right of access to public information from the youth perspective” is a Workshop for young girls and boys between 18-25 years old. Organized by the Association of Polish Communes of Euroregion Baltic, this will be the first of a series of mirroring events in the frame of  the SIA4Y project- Strengthening civil society rights by information access for European youth.

This will be a good occasion for us to share and discuss the best practices we gained through projects like CaSYPoT and YCGN. But we will count also on the participation of Transparency International Lithuania, that will provide a session on participatory budgeting.

Don’t miss this opportunity!

If you are interested in participating, please contact Valentina Scandola at
» Read more

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.

Save the date: 8-11 June 2019- Gdansk

The Baltic Youth Camp is a three-day festival open to all youth within the age group 18-29 years from one of the 11 countries in the Baltic Sea Region or from Iceland.

Why should you participate?

This festival is an occasion for youth representatives from the Baltic Sea Region to gather and explore friendship, cultural identity and politics through workshops, small seminars and social activities related to art, technology, human rights, ecology, sustainability and heritage and enjoy excursions, sports and music.

Learn more on our website: and follow the Facebook page @Baltic Youth Camp !

Registration will open in February! Stay tuned =)

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