At the meeting of the board of Baltic Development Forum on 3 March, Lene Espersen was appointed as Chairman. Stephan Müchler, CEO of Southern Sweden’s Chamber of Commerce and President of Baltic Chamber of Commerce Association, was reappointed as Vice-Chairman of the Board.
In addition Thomas Bustrup, Deputy Director General of the Confederation of Danish Industry was invited to join the board. Thomas Bustrup has accepted the invitation and now joins BDF. Lene Espersen commented on his appointment:
“It is important to BDF to sharpen the organisation’s business and industry profile in order to fill the need for a stronger private sector voice in the regional cooperation. Our overall ambition is to make the Baltic Sea Region an economic growth center in the EU and in the World and to advance the growth and competitive potential through partnerships and public-private dialogue. This requires a strong business partner to governments and international organisations, including the European Commission. Thomas Bustrup will be a great help in pursuance of BDF’s ambition. His broad background within industry including international business development, European policy, globalization and market development is just what we need”.
Thomas Bustrup is looking forward to taking up the work. “BDF has an exceptionel network of decision-makers in the Baltic Sea region. Also BDF’s cooperation with international organizations is strong. I hope to contribute to this outreach. Obstacles to trade, investment and economic growth should be taken up on national and European levels but also regions can help ensuring the free flow. The Baltic Sea region can set an example as the Nordic countries are doing in many ways.”
The board also discussed the future priorities of BDF, and the possible venues for the Summit in 2015 and 2016. The Summit in Turku will be BDF’s flagship event for 2014, but the Fehmarnbelt Days 2014 will be another important conference to prepare. BDF will take other major initiatives within investment promotion, which includes a conference on the issue in June 2014 in Helsinki, and the final conference of the Rensol energy-project in Turku.
BDF will continue to work on questions related to ICT as a growth enabler and present a report which will focus on small and medium sized companies. Smart cities and ICT is another topic for 2014. In 2014 several other reports will be launched including the State of the Region Report and the Political State of the Region report. BDF will also present a publication on water management in companies and institutions – examples of concrete best practices in sustainable use of water – and a business plan for how to organize the cooperation between the region’s main investment promotion agencies.The board will continue the discussion BDF’s strategy at the next board meeting 6 May with the aim of defining a longer term strategy.
In the field of BDF’s internal management, the board reviewed BDF’s governance structure and adopted new procedures that will improve BDF’s economic management and reporting. Finally the 2013 financial report was adopted as well as the 2014-budget.