Baltic Development Forum was present as Almedalsveckan, the ”Almedalen Week”, took place 26 June – 6 July. Almedalsveckan is the annual forum for Swedish internal politics, and gathers the political parties, the media, organisations and spokespeople on a multitude of issues in Visby, Gotland. The 2014 Almedalsveckan saw 25 000 participants, 50 000 visitors and 700 journalists attend around 3400 seminars.
For BDF, Almedalsveckan is an important platform to meet and engage with its Swedish partners and to take part in the current dialogue on Swedish and international affairs.
BDF co-organised a seminar together with the Swedish Institute on talent retention in the Baltic Sea Region, an issue which is being addressed within the framework of the ONE BSR project. The seminar sparked some interesting debate on what needs to be done in order to attract and keep competencies in the region. Some of the main points brought up by the speakers:
– Expats should be seen as a resource, even after they have returned home. They are important ambassadours and serve as a link back to the country they have lived and worked in.
– We need to make a better job at welcoming and serve the needs of expats, making sure they get the information they need as they arrive, get help in their contact with authorities and with integrating socially and professionally, and that there are platforms in place to keep in touch with them after they have left.
– We are not primarily loosing talents to each other, but to cities and countries outside the Baltic Sea Region such as London and New York. We should not regard each other as competitors but work together to ensure that the Baltic Sea Region is seen as an attractive region to live and work in.
– There has been a close collaboration between Sweden and the Baltic countries since the early 1990ies in terms of student and professional exchange. However, since 2008 we seem to have lost momentum, and collaboration now need to be reinforced.
– Investment promotion is an important factor i attracting talent. More can be done in order to attract investment to the Baltic Sea Region.
A handbook for talent retention was also launched at the event, outlining steps to better welcome, serve and integrate expats.
Tove Lifvendahl, Politisk chefredaktör, Svenska Dagbladet. Christina Mattisson, Regionråd, Region Blekinge. Mantas Zalatorius, Area Manager Central and Eastern Europe, Business Sweden. Marcus Andersson, Operativ chef, Tendensor. Torgil Lenning, VD, Potentialpark.