The Baltic Sea Region comprises 11 nations and more than 100 million inhabitants. The Baltic Development Forum defines the Baltic Sea Region as including the Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, Northern Germany (Hansestadt Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein), Northern Poland (Pomorskie, Warminsko-Mazurskie and Zachodnio-Pomorskie), and Russia’s Northwestern region including Kaliningrad.
The History of the Region
The Baltic Sea Region shares many historical ties, which often are symbolized by the legacy of the Hanse around the Baltic Sea. Thus, the Baltic Sea has been the facilitator of integrative processes in more than 1000 years with more intensive periods than other. Naturally, the Cold War to a large extent hindered extended cooperation, but when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 new strong ties emerged. Nowadays the Baltic Sea Region is interlaced by a myriad of formal and informal cross-border organisations and fora signalising the multidimensional scale of interaction.
The Potential of the Region
The region boasts stable democracies, institutional structures favorable to business, proximity of markets, good infrastructure, high levels of education, strong industrial traditions and a shared history of co-operation and trade. As eight of the eleven Baltic Sea countries are Members of the EU the framework for cooperation has been widely extended, which represents a unique opportunity to establish the Baltic Sea Region as the leading growth and trading centre in the world.
The multitude of regional organisations in the Baltic Sea Region also constitutes a regional strength. For an overview of regional organisations, go to the Baltic Sea Region Portal.