=

Euroregion Baltic present during the XV UBC General Conference in Kaunas

The XV UBC General Conference “Building an inclusive and resident-focused city. The Baltic way” hosted over 250 participants from all Baltic Sea Countries. The UBC Youth Conference was held parallel to the General Conference, with around 70 participants from the Baltic Sea Region.

Participatory budgeting workshop speakers

Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło, Head of the International permanent Secretariat moderated one of the workshops: The value of the citizens‘ participation for cities governance co-organized by the Interreg BSR “EmPaci” project, Baltic Institute for Regional Affairs from Gdynia and Klaipeda University.

The goal of the workshop was to focus and to become a trigger for discussions and debates around capacity challenges to citizens’ participation in public policymaking in the countries of the Baltic Sea region and legitimation of participatory budgeting, citizens’ co-production of the public services in the cities and concrete remedies for those challenges. The workshop gathered over 30 participants representing cities and municipalities for all around the Baltic Sea Region.

Full conference programme available here:
http://ubc.kaunas.lt/conference-programme

UBC General Conference documents available here:
http://ubc.kaunas.lt/documents

The General Conference is the highest authority of the Union and has the power to make decisions concerning any activities of the Union, e.g. electing the Presidium consisting of the President and three Vice-Presidents of the Union for a two year period, as well as electing the Executive Board for a two year period. In addition, a number of plenary sessions and back-to-back meetings are organized during the conference.

As in previous years, a Youth Conference will also were included, and the Baltic Sea youth will actively participated in all conference programme.

Anna Fornalska-Skurczyńska, University of Gdańsk
Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło, Head of the ERB IPS

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

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.

Conclusion

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

On November 17, 2017 the transnational seminar entitled “New thinking on territorial governance – with special focus on Baltic States” will take place at the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania in Vilnius. (more…)

On 15th September 2016 in Vilnius Euroregion Baltic participated in an international conference organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, together with the Lithuanian Association of Local Authorities. (more…)

The content of this website is the sole responsibility of the author and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union, the Managing Authority or the Joint Secretariat of the South Baltic Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020. The project UMBRELLA is partly financed from the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020 through the European Regional Development Fund.