ERB SOUTH BALTIC AGENDA Online seminar 9th April 2021
Euroregion Baltic (ERB)
continues its active role as a facilitator of cross-border initiatives in the
South Baltic area. Over the years, ERB has built a strong network of
cross-border relations involving citizens, political decision-makers, economic
and social partners, and educational and cultural institutions. Our ambition
is to use these partnerships for the benefit of inhabitants and local
communities in our cooperation area.
funds supporting territorial cooperation will be of special importance in our
work. People-to-people collaboration is essential in building relations and
should continue to be supported. This refers specifically to the South Baltic
cross-border programme, a key financial instrument for ERB cooperation since
will continue working towards improved conditions for cross-border cooperation
in the South Baltic Sea area.
To better inform ERB stakeholders from the South Baltic area we prepared a booklet in pdf file presenting our organisation, our vision and goals, highlighting ERB Members and explaining better our activities.
The coronavirus pandemic is spreading fast, which calls for rapid, concerted and consistent reactions from all sides. We are witnessing the unprecedented closing of the borders that were never expected to be closed again and demands to stay home as the most powerful sign of citizens’ solidarity.
In February 2020, Tim Bradshaw, a technology correspondent for the Financial Times wrote ‘ (…) for Silicon Valley’s evangelists, remote working is more than just a stopgap in a crisis — it is an improvement on office life. If the coronavirus continues to spread, many more of us may have the chance to find out for ourselves which it really is’. A few weeks later almost the whole Baltic Sea Region, as did other parts of the world, had to go into the ‘online’ mode and most of the international/ transnational/cross-border projects have since been run from home-offices.
For the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, it is a challenging time, as well. Its Annual Forum has just been postponed from mid of June to 19-20th October 2020 and most of the other events are being cancelled or moved to later dates. For the time being, the prospects are that the Autumn will be packed with face-to-face conferences and meetings.
With the restrictions in moving across countries and the situation when thousands of citizens have serious problems with coming back home from abroad, ministries of foreign affairs work full-hand (also partially remotely) so the process of the revision of the EUSBSR’s Action Plan became more difficult for the time being. ‘There are no physical meetings of National Coordinators’ group planned at the moment’, confirms Joanna Wojtkowska, EUSBSR National Coordinator from Poland and adds that the work will be carried out in a written procedure for now.
The new reality is also a challenge for international organizations working in the Baltic Sea Region. Anna Sośnicka, from the Secretariat of the Union of Baltic Cities, which is the leading network of cities in the Baltic Sea Region with Member Cities from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden says ‘UBC planned to have a UBC Executive Board meeting in Liepāja, Latvia on 17 April 2020, but due to all those restrictions it has been cancelled and an online meeting will be held at the same time instead. Two other meetings of the UBC Commissions to be held in April and May are postponed; new dates are not settled yet. The Commissions limit their activities concerning project implementation. They have only online activities – emails, teleconferences’. The situation across the Baltic Region is very similar, with some exceptions. Magda Leszczyna- Rzucidło, the head of International Permanent Secretariat of Euroregion Baltic says: ‘In Euroregion Baltic, we have now entered the home-office mode mostly. Since our International Permanent Secretariat is based in Poland, we work from home now, and our offices are closed. From all ERB Partners, only Sweden is still regularly working from their offices, the rest of the ERB Secretariats from Poland, Denmark, Lithuania and Russia are all experiencing lockdown.’
The consequences of COVID-19 for the cooperation within EUSBSR and the Baltic Sea Region as a whole, are difficult to predict. Many measures have been taken to ease certain problems. Many solutions are yet to be found. And we must be aware that some problems just can’t be avoided and we will just need to face in their full scope and strength. An important issue is raised by Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło: ‘Since we had worked a lot using online tools before, it was not a problem for us to switch to Zoom and Wheraby meetings and we use them both for the internal work, but also our projects. i.e. Interreg South Baltic Project Umbrella, where ERB acts as a Lead Partner. The biggest problem we face now is the number of physical meetings cancelled or postponed. Due to the uncertain situation, we are not able to tell whether they could happen still in Spring/early Summer, or we should postpone to fall, which may be very busy then’.
On the other hand, much of the Baltic Sea cooperation can be very successfully carried out using the available technology, without the necessity of physical interactions. In fact, a lot of the work carried within EUSBSR has already been done online for years. Projects, flagships and platforms have got used to Internet tools, virtual meetings and data sharing. The current situation can, therefore, give an additional incentive to scale-up and upgrade the technological skills for the benefit of ongoing operations. ‘As many people in Europe, for the time being, we are awaiting further developments more than actively doing ’corona-business’, says Anja Uhlenbrok, who is EUSBSR’s Priority Area Culture Co-Coordinator from Schleswig-Holstein. ‘With regards to the cooperation with our flagships, no change has yet shown up. We presume that they are available through the usual channels and go on in their work as usual’.
Apart from communication between the partners, also the events themselves can go online. Krystyna Wróblewska, the Secretary-General of the Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation (a network of the Baltic regions) says that, upon the agreement with the BSSSC Youth Coordinator, the organization is now moving the BSSSC Spring Youth Event planned for Gdańsk in April to the virtual space. She claims that it will change not only the method of communication but also make its thematic scope more suitable for the current situation. ‘Let’s be honest– Mrs Wróblewska notices –how to talk about the circular economy now when millions of disposable plastic gloves, etc need to be used’. We have to address the new situation not forgetting the ambitious green goals”
Another example comes from UrbCultural Planning, a EUSBSR flagship project in the area of Culture (https://urbcultural.eu/about/). Partners are discussing to what extent it is feasible to go virtual when dealing with social change while using cultural planning methods. One of the issues is to what extent the project activities can be carried out as planned with some postponements and how much partners should focus on the new situation and use other – virtual tools. Anyway, the project is about making cities and neighbourhoods better places to live.
As Anja Uhlenbrok notices ‘Changing our working routines is probably the most emerging tasks for the time being: most people involved in the implementation of the PA are working in the home office now, many also taking care of small children. To ensure the usual cooperation in day-to-day business is the biggest challenge so far.’ So- yes, current remote working on a full Baltic scale is a challenge. But it is also an opportunity. And a great chance for creativity. Now, it depends on our institutions, our companies, and to a great extent on us- if we take a ‘Silicon Valley evangelists’ stand and ‘re-programme’ ourselves, opening for possible innovations. Certainly, they can benefit the EUSBSR and the whole Baltic Sea Region cooperation. Yet, we are maybe even more aware now that not everything can and should be moved to virtual reality –that direct human relations are really important.
Author: Marta Czarnecka-Gallas, Association “Pomorskie in the EU”
The Euroregion Baltic Executive Board members, ERB Youth Board members and ERB SEcretariats & Water Core Group representatives met on 8th September 2020, again in the digital format, due to the COVID19 situation. The meeting was chaired by Mr Witold Wróblewski, ERB President and started with the informative round on COVID19 situation in all five ERB countries, presented by the ERB Board members from Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Lithuania.
Among discussion points there were:
information from the South Baltic Programme Monitoring Committee and Joint Programming Committee meetings with the special attention out to the programming for South Baltic 2021-2027presented by Mr Niels Chresten-Andersen from Regional Municipality of Bornholm and Mr Sławomir Demkowicz – Dobrzanski from Region Kronoberg;
newest capacity building initiatives based on the UMbrella Interreg South Baltic project presented by Ms Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło, Head of the ERB IPS and MS Valentina Scandola, Umbrella Project Leader;
proposal of the establishment of “Sustainable transport Working Group in ERB” by the Blekinge Region and Mr Mattias Andersson, Interconnect Interreg South Baltic Project Leader;
presentation of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Seed Money Facility “WaterMan” project, selected for funding in June 2020 and starting in October 2020. This part was presented by the Water Core Group representative from Kalmar region Mr Tobias Facchini.
The ERB Board members agreed to continue working in on-line format until the possibilities to travel and meet in person becomes safe again. The next Board meeting was scheduled for 3rd Dec 2020, back-to-back with the Umbrella project final conference (digital format).
You can now read the Euroregion Baltic Annual Report for 2019, that was adopted by the ERB Executive Board during its last meeting on 12th February 2020 in Elbląg, Poland.
Between 13th February 2019 and 12th February 2020 Euroregion Baltic was under the political leadership of the Klaipeda Region Association from Lithuania represented by Mr Vytautas Grubliauskas.
Dear Euroregion Baltic Friends,
It has been a great honour and privilege after five years to be leading the cooperation in Euroregion Baltic in 2019 again.
Assuming the ERB Presidency on behalf of the Association of Klaipeda Region municipalities, I am happy that the Year was fulfilled by exciting and inspiring events, successfully implemented various scope of projects and initiatives leading by ERB. Together we have opened a new page into ERB history. We started to implement ERB’s long – term strategic plan towards 2030. Revised and re-designed ERB future vision, ambitious cooperation goals have been set up into a one-year action plan for 2019.
Our Presidency priorities have been focussed on: EU Interreg South Baltic Programme post-2020 by lobbying ERB interests, and closer links with other BSR organizations and Brussels Regional Offices, sustainable transport and connectivity, Blue and Green growth, Youth and Water Core Group Agenda’s, as well pay more attention to ERB communication. It has been a very ambitious and interesting year!
I would like to emphasize ERB Youth work in 2019. ERB is a strong, trustful Youth Platform which opens new opportunities and spaces to act for youth people. I am proud that it has huge baggage of experiences! ERB played an important role in getting Klaipeda’s European Youth Capital 2021 awarded title, ERB was one of the co-organizers of the biggest Baltic Sea Youth Camp. Within CaSyPot project, an essential document – Youth Strategy of Euroregion Baltic 2020+ was prepared. It’s a fantastic background for new inspiring youth initiatives!
We have been continuing lobbying ERB interest on the EU Interreg South Baltic Programme post-2020. An additional position paper came out and has been delivered to the EU and national institutions. I do believe that ERB positions will be heard and they remain as a strong maritime programme which opens new cooperation perspectives for our regions! Indeed, we are better together!
Taking this occasion on the Presidency report, I would like to thank you to new Head of ERB IPS Ms Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło and her team for great leadership, ERB management and members engagement and professional networking. Thank You to all colleagues from the Executive Board for always constructive work, insights, ideas and important decisions we approved in 2019 for the better future of ERB cooperation.
Vytautas Grubliauskas President of Euroregion Baltic, 2019
January 2020Meeting with ERB Members EU
9.00 Welcome and introductions
ERB in a nutshell – presentation by Magda
Leszczyna-Rzucidło, Head of the International Permanent Secretariat
EU Office’s engagement in South Baltic related tasks & initiatives; discussion on common goals for the future cooperation between the ERB and ERB Member regions EU Offices
10.30 Coffee break
Interreg South Baltic
Programme “state-of-the-art” – outcomes of the informal Monitoring Committee
Meeting on 19th Nov 2019, ERB position papers, Joint Programming
Committee, future South Baltic CBC priorities etc.
Interreg South Baltic
Programme discussion on possible joint initiatives, actions and lobbying in
12.00 End of the meeting, joint lunch (ordered to the Office)
Our Moodle is ready and filled with useful information on project management and available EU-funding opportunities! You can now use all the knowledge we have gathered for you within the Umbrella project framework and wish to share with all South Baltic beneficiaries.
We have a great course and handbook on project management prepared by the experts, that is free to use. You simply register and enjoy our coursebook, trainers book, presentations and much more.
Of course, we also invite you to our Project Management training sessions we are currently developing in Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Lithuania. Use this link to register: https://bit.ly/2IuFu7B
Another month and yet another Success Story from the South Baltic Programme! This time we wish to inspire you by presenting the BalticMuseums: LoveIT! – Brand, gamification and Apps for museums and tourist attractions project!
Hi, my name is Jurgita Eglinskiene. I’ve been working in international projects at the Lithuanian Sea Museum in Klaipeda for many years.
This year, we celebrate our museum’s 40th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of a series of projects with our BalticMuseums community: since 2009 we’ve been cooperating with other museums, universities and IT specialists in the South Baltic region to exploit chances of digitalization in our visitor services. Back in 2009, we had started with clumsy specialized devices for offering eGuide tours, and now, just ten years later, we jointly develop gamified apps to be used on the visitors’ smartphones. Technology changes very fast, and so do opportunities. With the project, we can share developments and will be able to use the visitors’ own electronic devices instead of providing them as a museum. This means we can concentrate on the content of our museum, to produce the stories around it and focus on how to make the visit involving and mind-changing for our guests.
The project “BalticMuseums: LoveIT!” helps us implement new IT services for visitors in our museum. We will have a new multi-lingual app for visitor’s smartphones (Bring Your Own Device BYOD), with gamification elements. To gain input for such app, we wanted to work with external users. We had a chance to take the challenge of organizing a hackathon, a creative programming marathon, in our museum for the first time! With this example, you can understand how much cooperation is worth.
Our project partners in Gdynia (Poland) – NMFRI Gdynia Aquarium and Experiment Science Center – had already hosted a hackathon in the project. They were supported by two partners from Szczecin (Poland) – University of Szczecin and Netcamp. After that, all learnings were gathered and documented by Stralsund University of Applied Sciences (Germany). With this input and the support of our colleagues from Poland, we could organize our hackathon event.
Then, we extracted our learnings and passed the baton on to Malmö Museums (Sweden) and NaturBornholm (Denmark), who hosted the third hackathon. After that, again, a concept revision was made, and the final hackathon was hosted by Business Academy North and Stralsund University of Applied Sciences (Germany). Here, we opened up and seven museums, which are not partners of the project, participated with their topics in the event. This process helped us to learn as an international team, continuously revising a concept that we created together and then opening it up to others.
Apart from working on the BYOD tools and content, we are also preparing a joint brand for our app, so that we can reach a higher impact within the project community and beyond. In our project, we have strong focus on learning and exchange. In online sessions, we also get input from other organizations outside of our project. We reflect our learning and share it online on a knowledge base (www.knowledge.balticmuseums.info).
In addition to the ‘hard’ results from the project, we have other benefits. The project work has encouraged us to approach many things in the museum in a fresh way. To name some examples: for working with the Generic Learning Outcomes concept in the exhibition we got new perspectives from colleagues from Malmö, or analysing User Experience and finding critical points in the visitor journey in our museum was freshly inspired by colleagues from Gdynia. So, we gain not only new tools, but also ideas, and a spirit of sharing, openness and improvement.
In our museum, many employees are engaged in the project, from the educational department, PR, IT, and project management. Thus, the project provides inspiration to all our organization. But it does not end there. Due to the project’s dissemination activities, other museums from our region know about the international activities the Lithuanian Sea Museum is participating in and the results that we achieve with it. That strengthens the image of our museum, helps us to be a leader and advisor to the colleagues in Lithuania. We just celebrated the museum’s 40th anniversary and invited our international partners from various projects as well as Lithuanian colleagues. It is was received as a great exchange and inspiration. Thus, we can leverage our experiences beyond our own institution.
Personally, I became a real friend to many people living far away from me, who work in very different fields. Without the project, I would never have had a chance to make those friends. Being a member of a project family, makes me feel being an essential part of an international community. My advice is: Don’t be afraid of joining any international project or community – it always pays off in the sense of new friends, experience and opportunities for new ideas and activities!
Photo BM5: BalticMuseums project team meeting in Malmö, Sweden
JURGITA ALSO SHARED WITH US HER THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ON WORKING IN SBP CROSS-BORDER PROJECT! READ HER INSPIRING COMMENTS AND LET US KNOW IF YOU HAVE A SIMILAR STORY YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE! WE WILL BE HAPPY TO INTERVIEW YOU AND GET O KNOW BETTER YOUR SOUTH BALTIC PROJECT.
What has been valuable or what was the greatest asset for you as a person to be a part of this project?
I became a real friend to many people living far away from me, who work in very different fields. Without the project, I would never have had a chance to make those friends. Being a member of a project family, makes me feel being an essential part of an international community.
What have you discovered from working with other nationalities? Is there something you discovered and you considered as a surprise (for its originality, something you discovered about your country that you did not know before?)
I’d say, we’ve learnt much of each other, for example: from Scandinavian people – to be properly dressed and prepared for any weather conditions, to be open to everything that nature can suggest and award us with; from German people – to be more active and efficient everywhere: at work, during your holiday or in leisure time; from Polish – never to loose good temper and high spirits. To sum it up, it’s a great inspiration for working with people from different national cultures and work backgrounds!
What has your organisation gained from the project?
The project “BalticMuseums: LoveIT!” helps us implement new IT services for visitors in our museum. We will have a new multi-lingual app for visitor’s smartphones, with gamification elements. To keep up to date with ever-changing tech developments, the work in our interdisciplinary project team of museums, universities and IT specialists is extremely helpful for us. In this field, change happen so fast, that we need to share developments with other institutions to continuously have an attractive offer for our visitors. In addition to the ‘hard’ results from the project, we have other benefits. The project work has encouraged us to approach many things in the museum in a fresh way. To name some examples: for working with the Generic Learning Outcomes concept in the exhibition we got new perspectives from colleagues from Malmö, or analysing User Experience and finding critical points in the visitor journey in our museum was freshly inspired by colleagues from Gdynia. In addition, we had a chance to take the challenge of organizing a hackathon, a creative programming marathon, in our museum for the first time! So, we gain not only new tools, but also ideas, and a spirit of sharing, openness and improvement.
Have you experienced any successful spinout of your project /added value? (have you had any successful surprises of your project?/ have you learnt something you could apply/ suggest in your own country?
During our BalticMuseums hackathon event, the technology of hologram was proposed. The idea had won the competition but was not directly applicable to our BalticMuseums project. Inspired by the hologram solution we created another project. To open up our museum, we place a temporary exhibition in Klaipeda City centre. The hologram technology was applied inside a marine shipping container, showcasing an exclusive shell from the museum’s collection. Thanks to the hologram technology the exhibit was very emotionally touching.
What have we discovered working in cross-border cooperation with other nationalities?
Being in an international partnership for many years, we gained a wealth of experiences that allows us to feel confident in any international contacts, activities or relations. We have developed our point and our position, which allows us to act as an equal, reliable and respectful partner.
And finally – on a strategic level:
How has the project made an impact on your area?
Due to the project’s dissemination activities, other museums from our region know about the international activities the Lithuanian Sea Museum is participating in and the results that we achieve with it. That strengthens the image of our museum, helps us to be a leader and advisor to the colleagues in Lithuania. We just celebrated the museum’s 40th anniversary and invited our international partners from various projects as well as Lithuanian colleagues. It was received as a great exchange and inspiration. Thus, we can leverage our experiences beyond our own institution. The project “BalticMuseums: LoveIT!” allows us to implement new and modern tools which put us in an advanced situation to provide an engaging museum visit to our visitors.
Has your project had an impact at the policy level?
Not yet, but likely in the future. We focus on the promotion of national maritime history. It is discussed and approved in Lithuania, that school programmes and other sources of education lack information and attention to national maritime history. We hope that our tool will have a further impact on the situation.
Tips & tricks
My advice is: Don’t be afraid of joining any international project or community – it always pays off in the sense of new friends, experience and opportunities for new ideas and activities!
This story was delivered to you by UMBRELLA project!
Our Partner Region invites all the ERB Members and Stakeholders to participate in the event organized by the Agency for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of the Kaliningrad Region – IX Partner Regions Forum in Kaliningrad, which will happen on 18-19th June.
The first Kaliningrad Partner Regions Forum was organized in the Kaliningrad Region in 2008. Thereafter this event became the annual one. The Forum is the international meeting providing the opportunity for the regional actors with a large number of participants to discuss international and international collaboration, gained experience and results of cooperation, consider new plans and propose new activities. The Forum is organized by the Government of the Kaliningrad Region.
Traditionally the Forum hosts the representatives of Russian region, partner regions of the Kaliningrad Region, including the ones from Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Germany, Belorussia, also the Government of the Kaliningrad Region invites the representatives of the Federal Ministries of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Lithuania. Annually the Forum gathers about 300 participants.
The actual topics of common development are discussed at the Forum round tables, over the years the different issues of entrepreneurship, tourism, ecology etc. have been discussed. It has been already become a good tradition to discuss international programs and projects within the Forum. Typically this round table enjoys popularity among the Forum participants.
The additional formal events often are organized on the sidelines of the Forum, e.g. signing of documents on international and interregional cooperation. Also the meetings of the Joint Monitoring Committee of the Program Lithuania-Poland-Russia 2007-2013, the meetings of the Joint Programming Committee of the Program Poland-Russia 2014-2020 took place on the sidelines of the Forum.
Venue IX Kaliningrad Partner Regions Forum will be organized in Kaliningrad on June 18-19, 2019 in the conference halls of the Hotel Radisson (Pobedy sq., 10). The opening session will start at 10.00 a.m. on June 18. Information on the conference halls can be found in the Forum program and at the registration desk.
Hotels The Agency for Agency for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of the Kaliningrad Region organizing this Forum recommends the participants to book the room in the hotels:
The participants of the Forum can also book the rooms in other hotels.
Contacts In case of question, please contact us by telephone +7 (4012)599-261 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How are young people’s lives in 6 different municipalities of the Baltic Sea Region like? What are the similarities and differences and how can the data collected through the CaSYPoT project be used to inform further activities and youth strategies?
Young people from Klaipeda in Lithuania, Słupsk and Bartoszyce in Poland, Svetlogorsk and Gusev in Russia and Emmaboda in Sweden participated in the CaSYPoT survey, one of the most important surveys ever done on the youth situation in the Baltic Sea Region! A short summary of the results will be presented during CaSYPoT project’s final conference in Kalmar from 13-14.05.2019!!
The registration for the CaSYPoT final conference and the ERB Forum of Stakeholders on 13-14.05.2019 in Kalmar is finally OPEN!