ERB in the Annual South Baltic Conference

What a fantastic 2 days in Klaipeda for ERB Delegation, attending the Annual South Baltic Conference Unlocking the potential for blue and Green Growth. The conference was held in Klaipeda, Lithuania the dates 23-24 of May 2018 and it was a valuable experience for the team of Association of Polish Communes Euroregion Baltic, consisting of Sebastian Magier, Malgorzata Samusjew, Agata Ludwiczak, Valentina Scandola and Andreas Karadakis.

The Annual Event of the Programme was dedicated to mark the successful implementation of the Programme and to present to the public the most important and interesting joint projects of the Western part of Lithuania and other regions of participating countries – Denmark, Poland, Sweden and Germany.  Every year, this event takes place in another South Baltic region’s country participating in the Programme.

The opening session was marvellous. The Mayor of Klaipeda welcomed the participants and Anne Thomas, Head of Euroregion Baltic Executive Board gave an inspirational speech, stressing out the importance of working together for common goals.

On the first day the participants of the Event discussed the progress of the Programme and the future prospects of the South Baltic region after 2020. The thematic areas of the event were: sustainable tourism, transport, green technology promotion in the region, increase of the qualification and cooperation skills of employees, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

Participants of the Event had also the opportunity to take part in the boat tour and see closer a project co-financed by the Interreg South Baltic Programme – the LNG terminal. Another group of participants cycled to the sites of projects that are being implemented in the city of Klaipeda.

During the second day participants were given the chance to attend parallel sessions about 1)communication and dissemination project strategies and 2) clustering of projects.

European and INTERREG projects bring about a positive change in the life of European Citizens and the local communities. During the communication and dissemination session it was stressed that besides good intentions and actions, is equally important for those involved in European projects to effectively communicate and spread the project results and success stories. Also, they were presented efficient communication strategies and more “ catchy tactics to draw the attention of the widen public. 

The session for clustering of projects was very constructive as well! Project clustering across different priorities could provide additional benefits when the results are linked into add value chain – said Arturas Razinkovas-Baziukas, Moderator on project clustering workshop. 

An example of project clustering that was presented as good practice during this session is the cooperation of 2 projects managed form the Association of Polish Communes Euroregion Baltic; CaSYPoT (Capacity Building for Strategic Youth Policy and Transnational Cooperation) and SB YCGN ( South Baltic Youth Core Groups Network). SB YCGN project, sharing similar goals and values with CaSYPoT, is meant of using the survey tool that was developed for the latter to conduct another research that will be finally compared to CaSYPoT’s results. SB YCGN aims to increase capacity building of local actors working with youth, demonstrating the benefits of soft cross border cooperation in solving youth issues. Clustering of CaSYPoT project with GaYa project is worth to be mentioned too. GaYa aims to increase the quality of democratic processes in the Alpine space by enhancing the involvement of young people. The stakeholders of the 2 projects met and exchanged views and insights from their projects providing valuable feedback to each other.

 Green Transport Session had a special interest for Euroregion Baltic since the organization is a partner of INTERCONNECT project. During the workshop it was underlined the importance for the stakeholders in the Baltic Sea to search for good practises and innovation in European (public) transport and especially in other INTERREG projects. Also there was a reflection of the Ten T-days Conference for Sustainable Transport that was held in Ljubljana and the projects that were showcased there. Synergies and cross border cooperation are essential elements in order to be developed a joint integration vision for the European regions and to show the benefits of better connectivity to European Citizens. Last, It was emphasised that the goal of one ticket system for various means of transport across Europe should be a priority.

 ERB delegation is back in base full of priceless information and experiences, more wise and nuanced, committed to continue working for the achievement of the common goals in the South Baltic towards the prosperity of the region.

Interreg South Baltic Annual Event
Interreg South Baltic Annual Event
Copyright: INTERREG South Baltic
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Interreg South Baltic programme 2014-2020 approves UMBRELLA project

As the result of the 4th call for proposals, on 8th and 9th November 2017 in Güstrow (Germany), 11 projects have been selected for funding by the delegates of the Monitoring Committee (MC) – Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020. Among them, the ERB led UMBRELLA – Boosting cross-border cooperation capacities of local actors in South Baltic Sea for the Specific Objective 5. Improve the cooperative capacity of local South Baltic area actors through participation in cross-border networks.

» Read more

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.

Baltic Leaders – Energy, Youth, Europe – youth workshops in Elbląg

In order to unlock the potential of young people and their knowledge of the region they live in, with a particular focus on the need to activate the potential of local peripheries, ERB International Permanent Secretariat organized a series of two workshops entitled “Baltic Leaders – Energy, Youth, Europe”.

The first one, held on 28th September at Gymnasium 8 in Elblag, was not only a unique opportunity to address teenagers aged between 14 and 15 years old about youth opportunities designed by EU but an opportunity to listen to them and understand how they imagine life in the Baltic Sea Region. Indeed, through an activity based on the concept of non-formal education and free exchange of ideas, teenagers were able to discuss three main topics – Leisure, School, Future – expressing their needs, concerns, hopes. What has emerged clearly from the workshop is that, even though interested in the opportunity to be actively involved in the area they live in as well as to take part to EU mobility related initiative in the future, they think that it could be done more to promote them.

The second one, held 29th September at ERB International Permanent Secretariat, was a structured workshop aiming at presenting the activity of ERB to locals, future Youth Exchanges will take place in Denmark and Sweden as well as at gaining information about Leisure, School/Work, Politics/Governance. Opting for a discussion strategy based on non-formal education, the participants – aged between 16 and 40 years old – had the opportunity to talk about recreational activities, the presence of youth councils, the reason motivating them to emigrate, the way how they conceive politics.

What has emerged during this workshop and the discussion with the three experts invited – Pawel Kulasiewicz (Director of the Center for Economic, Social and Institutional Cooperation – The State Higher Vocational School in Elblag), Agata Ludwiczak (Eureoregion Baltic – International Permanent Secretariat), Marcin  Żuchowski (Association of Polish Communes – Euroregion Baltic) – is that youth would like to receive a bigger consideration from politics – the lack of trust toward politicians is deep – and feels the need to have a stronger influence over the decision-making process of young related policies.

During the workshop Ms Ludwiczak had also the opportunity to present CaSYPoT, a project focused on improving cross-border cooperation capacity of actors in the Baltic Area through the creation of a joint knowledge-based strategic youth policy. In order to help with the implementation of the project – management, communication, promotion and dissemination of information – ERB International Permanent Secretariat is currently hosting an IVY volunteer, Domenico Misurelli from Italy. IVY – Interreg Volunteer Youth is a pilot action that offers the possibility to young Europeans aged 18-30 to serve as volunteers in cross-border, transnational or interregional programmes and related projects for 2-6 months. Finally, it was also a chance to introduce the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region aiming at detecting how it tackles youth-related issues and how ERB tries to be in line with it.

The meeting provided ERB with useful information about how young people conceive their role in the society they live in, the degree of engagement and opinions over opportunities offered to them. It is interesting to note that every topic faced showed the necessity for public institutions to provide them with more information as well as to give a concrete opportunity to exert influence in the decision-making process.

ERB Executive Board meetings in Elbląg

On 22-23rd May 2017 stakeholders of Euroregion Baltic gathered in Elbląg, Poland for the second Executive Board meeting this year.

During the two days of official discussions, youth workshops and expert seminars, ERB partners touched upon a number of issues that are of importance to the organisation’s future work.

The event started with the joint meeting of the ERB Board with the Board of the Association of Polish Communes, one of important ERB member organisations and the host of the meeting. Gathered in historic roundtable hall in the Elbląg’s Old Town, the ERB politicians, civil servants and youth were welcomed by Mr Witold Wróblewski, Chair of Association’s Board and Mayor of Elbląg, who underlined the importance of ERB cross-border cooperation for municipalities and regions of the South Baltic Sea which since 1998 has been facilitating international cooperation, project implementation and trust building among the participating organisations.

The meeting was presided over jointly by Ms Akko Karlsson, ERB President and Vice Chair of Regional Council in Kalmar County, and Mr Wróblewski.

The Board discussed several important issues of ERB cooperation, among them preparations for the 20th anniversary of the organisation, as well as revision of strategic cooperation documents. Concerning the recently held Monitoring Committee meeting of the South Baltic Programme in Binz, the Board welcomed the approval of the Interconnect project and decided to commence work on the resubmission of the Umbrella project, which was rejected despite a very positive assessment by the external experts and Programme’s Joint Secretariat.

Discussing the draft ERB position on the future of EU Cohesion Policy, the Board decided to amend the final draft to better reflect the ERB priorities in the draft.

The Board also welcomed ERB’s participation in the recently approved Swedish Institute project in which together with the CPMR Baltic Sea Commission, it will engage in raising the awareness of Baltic stakeholder about the importance of the UN’s Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals.

Finally, the Board was informed about the activities of the ERB Youth Board which had submitted 4 projects to the last call for proposals in the Erasmus+ project and was actively participating in the preparation of joint conference and seminar at the EUSBSR Forum in Berlin on the issue of youth participation and empowerment.

On 23rd May ERB organised several parallel meetings with two very important concerning water and youth issues. The Water Core Group met to discuss a potential joint project in the South Baltic Programme that could be dedicated to the issues of improved management of existing water resources, while the ERB Youth Board discussed the future project with the Norwegian partners from Hedmark, as well as the organisation of the Berlin conference.The meeting was also attended by the youth from Warmia-Mazury who were selected within the Baltic Leaders project to build capacities of local youth leaders in the Baltic cooperation.

Full minutes of the ERB Executive Board meeting will soon be made available on ERB website.

ERB featured in Baltic Rim Economies

Euroregion Baltic has been featured in the latest edition of the Baltic Rim Economies (BRE).

In his article for the edition 6/2016 the ERB’s Head of International Secretariat focuses on one of the strategic areas of ERB cooperation under the Russian Presidency ie. the youth cooperation.

The short analysis includes presentation ERB’s concrete actions aiming to strengthen youth engagement in development of policies on local and regional level and also a strategic dialogue with other Baltic organisations – BSSSC and UBC on the development of youth policy in the entire Baltic Sea Region. As for the tools for strategic youth policies, the results of the ERB projects – CaSYPoT – Capacity Building for Strategic Youth Policy and Transnational Cooperation and CaSYPoT-Ru – a parallel project funded by the Swedish Institute allowing direct project participation for partners from the Kaliningrad Region, could be used in further work on the wider Baltic scale.

The article comes at the time when all three organisations – BSSSC, UBC and ERB in a discussion on the next steps which will include a joint seminar at the EUSBSR Forum in Berlin next year, and development of an Erasmus+ project on youth policy reform.

The entire article can be read here – Baltic Rim Economies 6/2016

Baltic Rim Economies (BRE) is published by the Pan-European Institute and deals with the development of the Baltic Sea region. In the BRE review, high level public and corporate decision makers, representatives of Academia, as well as several other experts contribute to the discussion.

Project CaSYPoT-Ru kicks off in Kaliningrad

The meeting in Kaliningrad Russia on 24-25 November 2016 was the next important stage of work on the project CaSYPoT-Ru – Capacity Building for Strategic Youth Policy and Transnational Cooperation. At the meeting discussions on important issues were held and significant solutions concerning the project were developed. » Read more

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