First Baltic EU Presidency: Vilnius a European capital together with Brussels. Helsinki the other place to turn to in the region.

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Lithuania has taken over the EU presidency from 1 July and is the first Baltic State country to take over this important task. You can read more about the presidency here.  With the priorities and objectives like “Credible Europe”, “Growing Europe” and “Open Europe” Lithuania is setting a strong agenda for the upcoming autumn. Not only financial growth, but also blue and green growth are a high priority.

Like other recent EU Presidencies from the region – Sweden, Poland and Denmark – Lithuania is prioritizing further development of the Baltic Sea Region within the EU. Not least, the 4th Annual Forum of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) with the working title “Baltic Sea, Baltic Growth, Baltic Environment” will be held on 11-12 November 2013 in Vilnius, Lithuania (read more here). The Lithuanian Presidency together with the European Commission, in collaboration with the Secretariat of Council of the Baltic Sea States and INTERACT Point Turku, will host the event. Baltic Development Forum will take an active part in the Annual Forum. Together with Swedish Institute, BDF will co-organize one of the workshops with the main aim to promote better information about funding on the future Baltic Sea region.

The Eastern Partnership is an important external dimension of the Presidency’s priorities. It will however be difficult to push new dynamism into relations with Lithuania’s neighbor Belarus, which upholds its tough, Soviet style regime. But hopefully new ideas can come out of the major Eastern Partnerships Business Forum 29 November 2013 in Vilnius (see

Finland took over the Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States on 1 July 2013 until 1 July 2014. You can read more about the priorities of the Presidency on the websites and, but the buzzwords are Coherence, Cooperation and Continuity. The Presidency will culminate when the Heads of Government of the Region meet 3-4 June 2014 in Turku, Finland. BDF is looking forward to working in close partnership with the Finnish CBSS Presidency and not least when organizing the BDF Summit 2014 in Turku together with the CBSS Summit and the Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The City of Turku is a member of Baltic Development Forum and we will also work in partnership with the City on this major event next year.

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