South Baltic Programme – Background
From 2004 Euroregion Baltic carried out a lobbying campaign aiming at the acquisition of a CBC area status in the new EU financial perspective 2007 – 2013. The rationale behind this ambition was to facilitate the implementation process of its common strategy and Joint Development Programme. The first step in the lobbying campaign was to issue the position paper the position paper by which all the ERB member regions expressed their common support for Euroregion Baltic to acquire the CBC status, and for all its members to be able to fall under the CBC eligibility criteria. This position paper was adopted and disseminated in August 2005. It was then presented in a series of follow-up meetings in 2005 and 2006 with the regional and national representations of the ERB member countries to the European Union, members of the EU Parliament, EU Regional Policy Commissioner, Ms Danuta Hübner and her personnel. Another major contribution to the success of the campaign was the support offered by the Swedish government, facilitated by the active internal lobbying of the three ERB member regions in Sweden: Blekinge, Kalmar and Kronoberg. As early as in Spring 2006 the national governments in Denmark, Poland and Sweden agreed to create this new cross-border cooperation facility for the South Baltic area, including the Danish island of Bornholm, the Swedish regions Blekinge, Kalmar, Kronoberg and Skaane, and three northern Polish regions: Pomerania, Warmia-Mazury and Western Pomerania. During the autumn 2006 Lithuania joined in with the regions of Klaipeda, Telsiau and Taurage, as well as Germany with the 10 northern regions in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The Polish Ministry for Regional Development was agreed to be the Programme Management Authority and a Joint Programme Secretariat was agreed to be established in the City of Gdansk. At the same time, the Programme Core Group was established writing the draft Operational Programme and including representatives of Euroregion Baltic (S. Demkowicz-Dobrzański of the International Secretariat, later replaced by Tor-Björn Åstrand-Karlsson of the ERB Secretariat in Region Blekinge, later replaced by P. Ratcovitch from Region Blekinge. In addition, the national implementation group formed consisting of the representatives of all the national structures from the five countries involved in the work on the Programme, as well as the Joint Programming Committee, which in July 2007 forwarded the draft programme to the European Commission for approval. The programme with around 61 MEUR provided by the European Regional Development Fund, was approved in December 2007. In December 2007 the ERB Executive Board appointed Mr Bernth Johnson as the ERB representative to the Programme Monitoring Committee, and Ms Raisa Mincinauskiene as his deputy. Similarly, the ERB Executive Board appointed Mr Sławomir Demkowicz-Dobrzański as the ERB representative to the Programme Steering Committee, and Mr Peter Ratcovich as his deputy. In December 2007 the ERB Executive Board appointed Mr Bernth Johnson as the ERB representative to the Programme Monitoring Committee, and Ms Raisa Mincinauskiene as his deputy. Similarly, the ERB Executive Board appointed Mr Sławomir Demkowicz-Dobrzański as the ERB representative to the Programme Steering Committee, and Mr Peter Ratcovich as his deputy. The first application round took place between 26th March and 30 April 2008.