The Nordic Region’s relationship with the EU was a key topic of discussion at a meeting of the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation in Copenhagen on 1 July. Much of the Nordic countries’ legislation is affected by EU legislation. From early 2016, increasing focus has been placed on how EU legislation is implemented in the Nordic countries.
The Ministers for Nordic Co-operation engaged in an extended discussion on this topic at their meeting. The discussion was marked by the lack of clarity following the British referendum on the country’s withdrawal from the EU.
The three Nordic members of the EU – Denmark, Finland, and Sweden – stressed the importance of avoiding the adoption of regional positions in relation to European co-operation. Nevertheless, it is still both possible and important that the Nordic countries strengthen their co-operation as much as possible, including on EU legislation affecting key Nordic issues.
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The 18th Baltic Development Forum Summit will be held in Stockholm on 8 November 2016, in conjunction with the 7th Strategy Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Taking stock of the current state of the Baltic Sea Region, the 18th BDF Summit will explore how we can find common ground in a changing environment, looking closer at the regional economic affairs, the political climate, and the potential for business.
Organised by the Baltic Development Forum, the annual Summits have provided a high-level meeting place for regional cross-sectoral dialogue since 1999.
More information here.
Developing the Baltic Sea Region is at the core of the EU funding Programme Interreg Baltic Sea Region. Among other things the Programme provides direct support to the coordination of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR).
Strengthening the implementation of the EUSBSR and ensuring cooperation with the neighbouring countries of the Baltic Sea macro region are important aims of Interreg Baltic Sea Region. Support to the coordination of the macro-regional cooperation is one of the Programme’s priorities .
Since 2014, the Programme offers funds to coordinators of the policy areas and horizontal actions defined in the Action Plan of the EUSBSR. These funds are meant to support the coordinator work, i.e. to bring forward policy discussions and to engage policy makers, flagship leaders and others eager to contribute to their region’s development. This week, the Monitoring Committee of Interreg Baltic Sea Region granted EUR 3.54 million for the coordination of all 17 policy areas and horizontal actions.
The Monitoring Committee also supports the partnership “Let’s communicate!” led by the Finnish Centrum Balticum Foundation with some EUR 0.5 million. “Let’s Communicate!” puts the Communication Strategy of the EUSBSR into practice. Throughout the project, coordinators and flagship leaders are equipped with communication tools and encouraged to engage in communication actions. The project applies storytelling techniques to show positive change in the region. One aim is to reach out to those target groups that are not familiar with the EUSBSR.
The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is divided into three objectives which represent the three key challenges of the Strategy: saving the sea, connecting the region and increasing prosperity. Each objective relates to a wide range of policy areas. Examples include promoting clean shipping and supporting innovation. The work carried out under each policy area involves stakeholders from various levels (international, national, regional, local) and sectors (public, private, civil society). It is structured around joint actions and can be illustrated by flagships. Each policy area is coordinated by a Policy Area Coordinator (appointed Member State institution or pan-Baltic organisation).
The Strategy also includes horizontal actions which have a more cross-cutting character and are relevant for many objectives and sub-objectives; examples include cooperation on spatial planning or climate change mitigation and adaptation. The aims and approaches of the policy areas and horizontal actions are described in the EUSBSR Action Plan.
In June 8th, 2016 European Commission, European External Action Service has published the document Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council - Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations. Read the document here.
Seed Money refers to Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme funding that is used to prepare project proposals with strategic importance to one of the policy areas or horizontal actions of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). The first call is open from 28 September 2016 to 15 February 2017.
Read more: http://www.interreg-baltic.eu/news-detail/news/first-call-for-seed-money-applications-opens-soon.html
The Council discussed the future integrated EU policy for the Arctic with a view to set out a coherent response to the environmental, economic and social challenges of the region, on the basis of the joint communication by the High Representative and the Commission issued in April 2016. An important objective of the EU is to contribute to enhancing socio-economic resilience in the Arctic region, which is home to 4 million inhabitants, while also enhancing environmental resilience.
The press release can be downloaded from the Council website.
The 7th Strategy Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, on the 8th and 9th of November 2016. The Strategy Forum will be arranged back to back with the Baltic Development Forum, BDF.
The event is hosted by Sweden together with the Nordic Council of Ministers and in close cooperation with the European Commission.
The overall theme of the 7th Strategy Forum is the future of the Baltic Sea Region and how to achieve a common vision for 2030. The slogan for the Strategy Forum is: One Region, One Future - Vision for the Baltic Sea Region 2030". The Strategy Forum will be used to discuss how the EUSBSR can or should contribute to a desired development within its three objectives: Save the Sea, Connect the Region and Increase Prosperity. A strong emphasis will also be placed on the agreed sub-objectives of the EUSBSR.
The registration will be open between 22 August and 30 September.
For further information, please visit: http://www.strategyforum2016.eu/
The kick-off conference for three EU projects: NSB CoRe, Scandria 2Act and TENTacle projects was held on April 7th at Kalastajatorppa in Helsinki and gathered for about one hundred participants. These three projects start their cooperation in order to develop the EU TEN-T Core Network Corridors intersecting the Baltic Sea Region.
The project North Sea Baltic Connector of Regions, NSB CoRe is led by the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council from Finland, and it aims to improve the sustainable accessibility of the Eastern Baltic Sea Region (EBSR) to freight and passenger transport.
The Scandria2Act is a project developing the northern sections of the Core Network Corridor from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, prioritizing energy efficient solutions in freight and passenger transports. The TENTacle project focuses on the accessibility of peripheral regions in the Baltic Sea Region by developing their connections to the Core Network Corridors.
These three-year projects NSB CoRe, Scandria2Act and TENTacle have been approved by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme.
To get more information about the conference and the projects, please visit Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council web page.
The LIFE programme launched two calls for proposals, underlining its commitment to supporting projects that protect the environment and tackle the impact of climate change. The total budget for project action grants for this call is more than 330 million euros.
For further information, please visit the programme website.
The European Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs invites cluster organisations, other business network organisations, technology centres and science parks interested to team up around specific industrial thematic areas, in the context of industrial modernisation.
Through a dedicated call for the expression of interest, the aim is to mobilise European Strategic Cluster Partnerships for smart specialisation investments (ESCP-S3). This call is linked to the establishment of the Smart Specialisation Platform on Industrial Modernisation and Investment and is envisaged to strengthen industry participation and inter-regional collaboration in the implementation of smart specialisation strategies.
For further information, please visit the European Cluster Collaboration Platform website.
The EU Health Policy Platform has been officially opened on the 21st of April.
The EU Health policy platform is a collaborative initiative to ease the communication between the Commission services and health stakeholders. It is aimed to be inclusive and to reflect the geographical and professional diversity of the participants.
DG Health and Food Safety runs the secretariat of the EU Health Policy Platform. It moderates the IT Platform as well as coordinating the Commission’s input and participation.
For further information, please visit: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/hpf/
The European Commission has published the Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council: An integrated European Union policy for the Arctic.
In the publication, the European Commission underscores the importance of a safe, stable, sustainable and prosperous Arctic not just for the region itself, but for the European Union (EU) and for the world, and proposes actions to further develop an integrated policy towards the Arctic.
Interreg Baltic Sea Region invites you to a project idea consultation during the Consultation Days on 12 and 13 April 2016 in Berlin, Germany. You will have the opportunity to consult your project idea in person with Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat officers. The consultations are offered on 12 April between 13.00 – 17.45 hours and on 13 April between 9.00 - 16.15 hours.
The Consultation Days addresses project developers who plan to apply for the Programme funds in the 2nd call and have already a project idea. The consultation slot is 45 minutes.
The registration will be closed when the maximum number is reached or latest on 7 April 2016.
For further information and registration, please visit: http://www.interreg-baltic.eu/event-detail/event/interreg-baltic-sea-region-consultation-days.html
The 2016 Eropean Social Innovation Competition focuses on social innovation to support the integration of refugees and migrants in Europe. The 3 winners of the competition will each receive a prize of €50,000. The competition is open for entries until 8 April 2016.
The competition is open to individuals, groups and organisations across the European Union and in countries participating in the European Horizon 2020 programme (see list).
More information here.
The Northern Dimension (ND) is nowadays one of the most effective forward-looking formats of regional and trans-border cooperation. The results and achievements of the ND, i.e. better environmental situation in the Baltic and Barents seas, new cultural ties and promotion of cultural industries, improvements in public health protection in the ND area and resolved transport problems, are also well known due to active position of the NDI and its Newsflash, which deserve all the support.
The European Union is active in various regional cooperation formats involving politicians, officials, civil society and people-to-people contacts.
One of them is the Northern Dimension (ND), a joint policy between EU, Norway, Iceland and Russia. It offers a platform for policy dialogue and practical, result-oriented cooperation through four partnerships in environment, transport, health and culture covering geographical area from the Baltic to Barents Seas. In line with the principle of co-financing, the EU has allocated close to €100m in support of the ND in previous years. For 2014-20 financial support comes from ENI Regional East Programme. The ND considerably contributed to improving the environmental situation of Baltic and Barents Seas. It addressed people’s health, transport and logistics and creative and culture industry policy.
In these times of tension between Russia and Western Europe there is a real success story: the Northern Dimension cooperation. It is an equal Partnership between Russia, European Union, Norway and Iceland, concentrating on projects of common interest in four fields: environment, health, transport and logistics, and culture. For each field there is a Partnership with own specific structures. On the political level, the Foreign Ministers´ biannual meetings are the top decision making body for the Northern Dimension. The Ministerial meeting held two years ago under the chairmanship of Lady Ashton was attended by 14 Foreign Ministers.
European Environment Agency (EEA) has published a report on the European environment. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the European environment’s state, trends and prospects, and places it in a global context.
Link to the report: The European environment — state and outlook 2015 report (SOER2015)
Finland’s two-year Chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) started in late 2013 and has now reached the half-way mark. BEAC is a forum for intergovernmental and interregional cooperation in the Barents Region. As the chair, Finland strives to strengthen the exchange of information and dialogue between the different regional fora. The atmosphere in the Council has been constructive and progress has been made in many issues such as the development of Barents Transport Plan and regional climate strategies.
The Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) has been highly successful in co-financing projects to improve wastewater treatment in North West Russia. As a result of NDEP’s 14 year cooperation with St Petersburg Vodokanal, the city is now treating 98.4% of its wastewater. NDEP grants of EUR 40 million, combined with loans of EUR 220 million from the EBRD, EIB, NIB and NEFCO have helped to leverage investments worth over EUR 860 million. Since 2011, all major wastewater treatment plants in St Petersburg have been treating wastewater in full compliance with HELCOM recommendations. NDEP has financed similar investments also in other cities in Russia to protect the fragile ecology of the Baltic and Barents Seas area.
Meeting in Brussels on 25 November EU Ministers of Culture agreed on a new Work Plan for Culture, setting out the priorities for European cooperation in cultural policy-making for 2015-2018. The Work Plan addresses key challenges faced by cultural organisations and small and medium sized enterprises in the creative sector at national and EU level in the context of globalisation and digitisation.
Common Border Crossings Points Management between Schengen Area and Russia / Belarus (2011)
Lot 1: Studies and Technical assistance in all sectors
The Study Report fulfils the requirements of the Terms of Reference (TOR) to provide a description and in depth analysis of current border control practices at Border Crossing Points (BCPs) between the Schengen Area (EU Member States and Norway) and both Russia and Belarus (as members of the Customs Union – CU – with Kazakhstan).
Cargo Traffic on the Helsinki-Tallinn Route (2011)
Sundberg, Pekka; Posti, Antti; Tapaninen, Ulla
University of Turku, Centre for Maritime Studies
The twin-city model has found to increase economical activity and well-being. The similar economical, social and cultural background of Finland and Estonia as well as the EU integration give good preconditions to create a twin-city of Helsinki and Tallinn.
Definition of the Core Transport Network in the Northern Dimension area (2012)
Draft Final Report
Beneficiary: Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics (NDPTL)
Project managed by the Delegation of the European Union to Russia
Based on planning policies in the different NDPTL countries, the overall objective of this study is to outline and suggest to the NDPTL the Core Transport Network as an extension of the TEN-T Core Network in the neighbourhood countries, in particular Russia and Belorussia.
Drivers of Demand in Cargo and Passenger Traffic between Penta Ports (2012)
Lappalainen, Anssi; Helminen, Reima; Yliskylä-Peuralahti
University of Turku, Centre for Maritime Studies
Maritime transport moves around 6 billion tonnes of freight every year. The freight consists of liquid bulks (45%), dry bulks (23%) and general cargo (32%).