Euroregion Baltic at the IX Kaliningrad partner – regions Forum

The IX Kaliningrad partner – regions Forum took place in Kaliningrad on 18-19 June 2019. Among participant there were Vice-Governor of the Kaliningrad region Mr. A.Rolbinov, Chair of the Kaliningrad region Duma Ms. M. Orgeeva, Ambassador-at-large of the MFA of Russia Mr. M. Vanin, Deputy EU Ambassador to Russia Ms. A.Simkic, director of the Department of Development and Foreign Economic Affairs of the Ministry for Economic Development of Russia Ms. L. Schur-Trukhanovich and other officials.

More than 300 participants from Poland, Lithuania, Belorussia, Germany, Norway, Latvia and the regions of Russia (Kaliningrad, Murmansk, Moscow, Saint-Petersburg,  Archangelsk, Novgorod, Pskov, the Leningrad region and the Komi Republic) took part in the plenary session and thematic sections, discussed practical aspects of regional cooperation in various spheres.

Mr A. Rolbinov in his speech on behalf of the Governor of the Kaliningrad region said: “The Forum is organized on an annual basis which proves the interest of all participating parties in building partnership relations. One of the good examples of such long-term interaction is the implementation of the Cross-border cooperation Programmes “Poland – Russia” and “Lithuania – Russia”. At the moment the contraction of projects is going on, and the interesting fact is that most of them are aimed at tourism development and cultural heritage preservation.

Representatives of the Association of Polish Communes Euroregion Baltic

The Vice-Governor also reminded participants about the forthcoming launch of the free E-visas mechanism for foreign citizens planning to visit the Kaliningrad region: “There will be an opportunity to apply for a visa at the special website and to get entry notice in just  4 days. The E-visa is free and the term of stay is 8 days”.

The Ambassador-at-large of the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs Mr M. Vanin also welcomed the participants: “During some previous years the Forum became an important regional event. It gives impulse to further development of international cooperation between the Kaliningrad region and European countries. Achieving success in establishing regional and municipal links we develop trust between the neighbouring countries. We want the Baltic Sea region to be sustainable and prosperous. The Forum contributes to working out coordinates for practical actions. Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now participation in preparations for launching processes of agreeing on programs for the next financial period 2021-2027”.

A number of pan-baltic organizations were presented including the Euroregion Baltic and BSSSC – Kaliningrad Region is an active partner in both of them. Also, there was a presentation of the outcomes from the recent Baltic Sea Youth Camp organized in Gdańsk, Poland jointly by the: BSSSC, Euroregion Baltic, Union of Baltic Cities and co-financed by the CBSS.

Presentation of the Euroregion Baltic
Youth voice with comments and ideas straight after the Baltic Sea Youth Camp

Several agreements were signed during the Forum. Among them two grant contracts for the implementation of the large-scale strategic projects within the Cross-border cooperation Programme “Poland – Russia”: construction of the bikeway from Zelenogradsk to Svetlogorsk and construction of the wharf in the Svetliy municipality.

“ 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

#EuropeLab Forum for Young Professionals in Gdańsk

The EU-Russia Civil Society Forum invites young professionals aged between 25 and 35 from the EU, Russia, and other European states to apply for the Annual “Europe Lab” Forum.

Forum for Young Professionals “Europe Lab” is a unique communication and exchange platform for changemakers from all over Europe working in public administration, business, NGOs, universities, think tanks, and other fields of professional engagement.
Main goals of “Europe Lab” are to enable cross-sector cooperation and promote an exchange of ideas, develop partner and professional networks, and encourage common cross-border projects and initiatives all over Europe.

The working language of the Forum is English.

“Europe Lab” will take place on 27–30 July 2017 at the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk, Poland.

The programme of “Europe Lab” 2017 includes:

Workshops:
• Freedom and Captivity – Solidarity in the Present and in the Past
• Climate Change – Where Are You Going?

Innovative Formats:
• Gdańsk in the Spotlight – City Development Hackathon
• 360° Story – Multimedia Telling
Each format will be curated by a coordinator.

The best common projects, whose ideas were elaborated during the Forum, will be granted. The results will be presented at the 8th General Assembly of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum in 2018.
Finally, “Europe Lab” alumni are invited to join the young professionals’ platform at the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, to lead and play a role in a number of future initiatives.
Costs for workshops, accommodation, and meals are covered by organisers. Travel costs are borne by participants themselves.
Please submit your application until 1 May 2017 here.

For more information about the event, please go to ERCSF official website.

Forum for Young Professionals “Europe Lab” is organised by the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum in cooperation with the European Solidarity Centre and DRA / German-Russian Exchange as well as supported by the European Commission and the Oak Foundation.

World Festival of Youth and Students 2017 in Russia

The 19th World Festival of Youth and Students / #WFYS2017 is to be held on October 14-22, 2017, in Sochi, Russia.

The main goals of the Festival: consolidating the international youth community around the idea of peace, solidarity and social justice, strengthening international youth ties, as well as promoting international and intercultural youth cooperation.

More than 20 000 young people from 150 countries aged between 18 and 35 years will participate in the 19th Festival. Among them are leaders of youth nonprofit organizations and political parties, young journalists, creative and sporting youth, young professors and scientists, leaders of student self-government, as well as young compatriots abroad and foreigners who study Russian language and are interested in Russian culture. Russia will host more than 8 000 foreign participants!

Furthermore, the Festival for the first time will go beyond one city! So, for participants is provided the regional program, during which foreign participants will be able to visit several Russian cities, such as St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg, Vladivostok, Sevastopol/Simferopol

You can apply for participation in the event and follow the latest news on the website russia2017.com. Deadline for submitting applications for participation in the Festival: May 15, 2017. For all participants it will be necessary to pass the Skype interview with the Festival organizers after passing pre-selection stage.

For the participants of the Festival will be provided a special, simplified visa regime (visa application for the participant of the Festival will be free) to enter the territory of the Russian Federation.