State of the Region Report 2013 – 10th Ed.

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Christian Ketels , Principal Associate Harvard Business School and Author of the State of the Region Series, in the first part of the Report provides a discussion of the recent trends in competitiveness across the Baltic Sea Region. The first part looks at the current economic climate in the Region, an important influence on the policy environment for long-term competitiveness upgrading. The second part provides competitiveness diagnostics, covering data on economic outcomes, intermediate indicators, and competitiveness fundamentals.

The second part of the Report gives an updated overview of collaboration across the Baltic Sea Region. It tracks the activities of the main regional organizations and projects over the last year as well as the way the EU Baltic Sea Region Strategy has been implemented in specific projects but also more broadly in the broader activities of countries and sub-national regions across the Baltic Sea Region.

The third part of the Report looks at the state of emerging value chains in the Baltic Sea Region and the access to capital for small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) across the Baltic Sea Region. The Report closes with some reflections on the way the Baltic Sea Region has changed since the first State of the Region Report was launched in 2004.

Ten years ago, the State of the Region Report was launched at the Baltic Development Forum’s Summit in Hamburg to provide an annual resource to inform the discussions about regional collaboration and competitiveness. Its ambition throughout this time has been to provide facts, a framework for analysis, and commentary that can help decision makers across the Region to make more informed choices. The Report has also become a window into the Region, for companies or investors considering doing business in the Region and for politicians and government officials that want to learn from its experience. It aims to provide a balanced perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of the economies at the ‘Top of Europe’, not to be a marketing tool.

In 2013, the need for a fact-rich assessment of the Baltic Sea Region is as pertinent as ever. Five years into a difficult crisis, the economic outlook for the Region remains uncertain. This is the case largely due to conditions outside of the Region, particularly in the rest of Europe. The Baltic Sea Region might be doing better than its European peers in the south, but it is still deeply affected by the trajectory of the broader European economy. This key lesson has become increasingly clear as the crisis has morphed from a US into a global financial crisis, then into a European sovereign debt, currency, and financial market crisis. The future prosperity of citizens in the Baltic Sea Region future will depend upon the competitiveness of its economies relative to its European and global economic peers. But it will also by driven by the Region’s ability to help the rest of Europe achieve a more sustainable growth path. The Top of Europe remains a part of Europe, for better or worse.

Read the full State of the Region Report 2013 here.