BDF advocates Strategy Funding before Members of European Parliament

in Debate, News

BDF encourages Members of European Parliament to allocate targeted funds for the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and to raise the question during the elections for the European Parliament.

Christopher Beazley, the head of Baltic-Europe Inter Group. © European Parliament – Audiovisual Unit

BDF Chairman, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen encourages the European Parliament, and in particular the members of Baltic Europe Intergroup and MEPs of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) in general,  to place the up-coming EU Strategy for the BSR high on the political agenda and to raise the question during the election campaigns for the European Parliament.

In particular it is important that MEPs secures specific funds for the Strategy on the EU budget. “With the elections for the European Parliament to be held in June it is important to observe that the Strategy does not fall in a political vacuum”, BDF’s chair states, drawing especially attention to the question of financing of the Strategy.

Uffe Ellemann-Jensen made this appeal in a letter addressed to MEPs and to candidates for the Parliament (see below) on 28 April. The letter was distributed during a meeting of the Baltic-Europe Inter Group headed by MEP Christopher Beazley, where Director Hans Brask addressed Members of the Group.

“In many ways, a modest approach seems to have been chosen, since no new funds for the Region should be allocated. It is understandable that the Baltic Sea Region countries should avoid provoking discussions on allocation of Community funds between different geographical areas of the Union. At the same time, it should be recognised that there are specific needs that will have to be met order to make the Strategy a success and a possible role-model for other regions of Europe”, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen states in his letter.

BDF – as the leading, independent, non-profit networking organisation in the region – believes that it is important that at least some specific funds are available at least for the governance aspect of the Strategy. It would allowing both the EU institutions, notably the Commission, and parliamentary groupings, regional organisations and private sector representatives to play a proactive role in keeping this Strategy an on-going process and a living document. Only though the involvement of civil society structures and the creation of regional stakeholder forum, it will be possible to create a successful regional Strategy.

The Parliament has already helped establish a separate budget line on the Baltic Sea Region but so far this budget line is empty. Now time is right to take the next step in setting specific funds aside.

Read/download the BDF Letter to Members of European Parliament on 28 April 2009.