BDF is pleased to present the general outcome and the different features from the thematic sessions, speeches, debates and activities that took place during the the European Commissions Annual Forum on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the BDF Summit 17-19 June in Copenhagen in Conference Report 2012. The conference turned out to be a very timely reminder to all stakeholders to embrace the EU negotiations ahead of the 2014-2020 financial period to make sure, that partnership agreements and operational programmes reflect the needs of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.
A lot of enthusiasm and commitment still exist in the area, documented by the attendance of more than 850 participants. This was not least important in the face of the serious economic and euro-crisis debate that was going on in parallel to the conference. The general outcome of the Conference was positive: it is possible to co-operate, and many stakeholders were interested and willing to take active part in the macro-regional development and the global connectivity.
“Connecting Europe – Smart and Green Partnerships” captured this point, that we are heavily interdependent. It is hardly possible to be a winning region in Europe, if Europe in general is not doing well. The public-private encounters that were taking place allowed for discussion of new infrastructure projects in the region, not least with the presence of some of the most important financial institutions.
More than 30 EU-funded cross-border projects exhibited their projects and achievements. These projects and the general networking allowed for and enabled the projects to strengthen their mutual coordination and information exchange. Thereby synergies could be developed.
The outcome of the conference has also helped set a forward looking agenda for the region. One important message was a commitment to ensure that the Regions vast and sometimes difficult geographic conditions do not impede trade, mobility and energy reliability. That is in line with the Strategy`s new “Connect the Region” objective.
The Conference also testified to the importance of co-operation with Russia, for instance in the framework of the Northern Dimension and the Council of Baltic Sea States. Through a range of projects in water, wastewater, solid waste and energy efficiency these frameworks are helping to deliver real benefits to the entire Region.