The Baltic Sea Region at a Crossroads – New Business or Business as Usual?
At the sixth annual Baltic Development Forum summit in Hamburg, 12-14 September, more than 400 decision makers from more than 10 countries discussed a variety of current political and economic issues in the Baltic Sea region. The overall theme was how to adapt and reenergize Baltic Sea cooperation and boost business opportunities in light of the region’s changed economic and political development.
Participants from all sectors stressed that the Baltic Sea region is now entering a new, decisive phase of economic development. In order to grasp momentum, it is time to define a joint vision and concrete actions to move ahead at this junction of Baltic Sea development. The following points were made,
On regional development:
- Regional cooperation is not an automatic process – it requires an active choice, initiative and leadership.
- Countries in the Baltic Sea region stand to gain from increased and action oriented cooperation on increasing competitiveness and innovation.
- Business, regional networks, universities, metropolises, national innovation agencies and other key actors should take a lead and pave the way for political decisions to develop the region.
- Initiatives should build on existing achievements, organizations and networks.
- To sustain prosperity and growth there is a need to formulate a joint vision for the Baltic Sea region with common goals, common priorities and an action agenda for implementation.
- Focus should be on increasing competitiveness and innovation, making the Baltic Sea region an outstanding place to do business.
- Creating the best conditions for conducting business is crucial, including harmonization of rules and standards and integration of capital markets.
- Increased investments in research and education are necessary to create economic growth, increase competitiveness and innovation.
- Profiling the region internally and externally is a prerequisite for sustained economic growth in view of global competition.
On the efforts of Baltic Development Forum:
- The State of the Region report 2004 and the report on Innovation in the Nordic-Baltic Sea Region were both welcomed as timely and recognized as the guiding tool for formulating a joint strategy.
- Baltic Development Forum was invited to monitor developments, facilitate concrete initiatives and to lobby for reforms in order to improve the potential of the Baltic Sea Region.
- The role and integration of Russia remains of key importance. Baltic Development Forum will continue it efforts to engage North West Russia in Baltic Sea developments.
- Baltic Development Forum was encouraged to explore the potential for a joint strategy for tourism in the Baltic Sea Region and to facilitate the development of the clusters in which the region already has a significant position.
- The Stockholm 2005 Summit should be the arena for a discussion between the Region’s key stakeholders of a concrete vision and strategy.
See the full Summit report here.
VideoFeatures from the Summit
The main themes and highlights of the Summit 2004 will be covered on our web site using VideoFeatures. VideoFeatures are video interviews with key note speakers, notabilities and experts combined with an introduction to the subject and background information on the interviewed speakers and experts. The VideoFeatures will be released during the summit to communicate the content of the Summit 2004 to the press, the public and organisations within our network.
Innovation and competitiveness
The Baltic Sea Region at a crossroads
Russia and the Baltic Sea Region