The development of a European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is the most important and concrete development for the Baltic Sea Region since the EU-enlargement in 2004. Over the years, BDF has contributed to and strongly supported such a strategy. Subsequently, a strategy for the BSR was adopted by the European Parliament in 2006. It was also a main topic at the Helsinki Summit, which called upon the European Commission to develop an EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region supported by relevant budget lines.
Read more aboutthe EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region on the European Uninion Commission homepage by clicking here.
Over the last year, BDF has sparred with mainly the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs on this topic, resulting in a Swedish initiative to make this one of its main priorities for its EU Presidency in 2009. Consequently, in December 2007, the European Council tasked the Commission to draft a European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region by June 2009. Thus, the realization of the strategy is secured.
BDF will work together with the main regional partners to provide substantial input to the strategy, since it would be wrong to leave it to the European Commission and the EU alone to define the contents of a strategy for the Region. Regional actors (governments, regional organizations and business representatives) must be able to present their view of the priorities for the future. Who should know better what is important in order to secure economic growth, address the challenges of globalization and obtain sustainable development?
BDF is well placed and possesses the knowledge and expertise to play this role, which is widely recognized. The State of the Region Report that BDF publishes in co-operation with the Nordic Investment Bank and the Nordic Council of Ministers provide the factual and analytical basis for identifying the economic areas that should be taken up. At the same time, BDF will have to ensure that sufficient acknowledgement and visibility is ensured, assuring strategic partners and members of BDF positive impact. BDF intends to make regional priorities for the future BSR cooperation a key topic for the BDF Summit this year. In general, BDF will also make further efforts to ensure closer links between the EU-level and the BSR in all its activities, not least contribute to the realisation of the Lisbon Agenda.
Together with key regional partners, BDF will play a central role in the development of a European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region by arranging and participating in seminars that will identify the main subjects that should be part of a regional strategy. Several contributions do already exist and they will be part of the process.