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.