“ 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

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

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.

Vacancy at International Secretariat of Euroregion Baltic

Over the recent years Euroregion Baltic has been developing steadily as one of the important cross-border and international cooperation platforms in the Baltic Sea Region. Acting through its International Permanent Secretariat based in Elbląg, Poland, which has been the coordinating structure within Euroregion Baltic since 2004, the organisation has managed to become a more effective lobbying and knowledge-sharing platform. At the same time it has been constantly increasing its impact through implementation of international projects, most of them within the INTERREG South Baltic Programmme.

To continue on the path of constant development we are currently looking for a new Head of the International Permanent Secretariat who will be responsible for the strategic and day-to-day management of the organisation. This is a full-time position requiring excellent managerial, administrative and social skills, as well as a good deal of travelling, but offering exciting international work environment and attractive conditions. We are looking for a reliable, well-organised person who will be able to lead a small team of dedicated project managers and interns in an international working environment.

For more information about the requirements and application procedure, please read the official vacancy announcement.

The deadline for submissions is 20th January 2019.

In case of questions regarding the recruitment, please contact the ERB International Secretariat.

Save the date: 18th-19th September- “Bioeconomy – agricultural and fishery challenges for the future”

The Regional Council in Kalmar County (Sweden), the Association of Polish Communes of Euroregion Baltic (Poland) and Umbrella project’s partnership would like to invite you to the two-day South Baltic Sea Conference:

“Bioeconomy – agricultural and fishery challenges for the future” in Kalmar, on 18th-19th September. 

The conference is co-organized with the EUSBSR PA Bioeconomy- Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Registration is now open at the following link: https://bit.ly/2wjkeuP

Don’t wait! Register as soon as possible not to miss this chance! » Read more

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
« 2 of 6 »

 

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.

1 2 3