- Latest News
- Background Information
- The Action Plan
- EUSBSR Annual Forums
- Involvement of Latvia in the Implementation of the Strategy
- National Positions
- Coordination of Cooperation at the National Level
- Three steps towards practical involvement in the implementation of the Action Plan
- Funding sources
From 1 July 2023 till 30 June 2024 the work of National Coordinators for the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is led by Latvia. During this period, Latvia chairs the meetings of national coordinators and determines the agenda.
On 15 November 2005, seven MEPs from the Baltic Europe Intergroup of the European Parliament – Toomas Hendrik Ilves(Estonia); Satu Hassi, Henrik Lax and Alexander Stubb(Finland); Michael Gahler (Germany); Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis (Latvia); Christopher Beazley (UK) – issued a report on the Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, directing the attention of the European Commission and the Council of the EU to emerging challenges in the field of environment, economy, education and security faced by north-eastern Europe following the EU’s enlargement.
On 14 December 2007, on the basis of the EU Parliament Resolution of 16 November 2006, the European Council called on the European Commission to develop a Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. On 10 June 2009, the European Commission adopted a Communication concerning the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and an Action Plan for its implementation. The Strategy was adopted by the European Council of October 2009.
This Strategy is the first EU internal strategy for a European macro-region and is based on an innovative and integrated long-term approach towards the implementation of EU policies in the Baltic Sea region.
Under the Danish Presidency during the first half of 2012, three main objectives of the Strategy were defined to enable its more effective implementation:
- Save the Sea
- Connect the Region
- Increase Prosperity
The Action Plan
The course of the implementation of the Strategy is described in the Action Plan of the Strategy. The European Commission has approved the revised EUSBSR Action Plan on 17 February 2021. The revised Action Plan is more focused, with 14 Policy Areas (no more Horizontal Actions) covering 44 actions.
Each priority relates to a main objective in the Strategy; the issues under each priority have been described, and specific targets and indicators have been defined. Under the main objectives, sub-objectives and specific indicators were set, and roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders were outlined.
One or more European Union member states of the Baltic Sea region and regional organizations have undertaken the coordination of each area of cooperation policy, set out in the Action Plan. Each of the cooperation projects has a lead partner appointed – an EU Member State, an organization of regional cooperation, an association of entrepreneurs or an NGO. The Strategy and its Action Plan are subject to review on a regular basis, leaving open the possibility to include new projects.
Latvia together with Lithuania continues as a coordinator for Policy Area Energy (PA Energy) and supports the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP).
EUSBSR Annual Forums
Since 2010, annual forums have been held to address various topics related to the Strategy, bringing together the region's politicians, experts, representatives from the academic circles, regional organisations, public institutions and NGOs, as well as other stakeholders involved in the implementation of the EUSBSR.
14th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) “Safe and Sustainable Baltic Sea Region for the Future Generations” will take place in Riga on the 4th and 5th of October, 2023.
More information about the Annual Forum: https://www.eusbsr.eu/annualforum2023
Previously Latvia organised the 6th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR is entitled “Achieving E-Quality by Connecting the Region” and it took place at the Dzintari Concert Hall in Jūrmala, Latvia, on 15–16 June 2015. Participants exchanged views on how to improve e-quality – the quality of digital/electronic services and regional connectivity – and achieving equality – overall balanced development of the Baltic Sea Region. The forum also featured a debate on the competitiveness of the Baltic Sea Region. The revised EUSBSR Action Plan is was presented, and views exchanged on the future of the EUSBSR. The results of the Annual Forum are presented in a final report, prepared by the Latvian Institute of International Affairs.
Involvement of Latvia in the Implementation of the Strategy
Latvia has contributed to the shaping and drafting of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region since the moment the idea was conceived. Consultations were held with stakeholders in Latvia, and a dialogue took place with the region’s countries and the European Commission.
As early as 2008, the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers approved an initial national position on the EUSBSR which laid out priority areas based on an evaluation of opinions offered by line ministries and stakeholders in the framework of the consultation process. Those were: 1) Energy; 2) Competitiveness; 3) Education, research and culture; 4) Environment; 5) Public safety. From the perspective of Latvia, a well-developed Baltic Sea Region will contribute to the increase of the overall competitiveness in the EU and make the eastern part of the Baltic Sea Region more competitive.
In December 2008, in order to provide a contribution to the drafting of the Action Plan for the Strategy, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a national position identifying the regional cooperation projects that Latvia supported including in the plan.
After considering the European Commission’s proposal on the Strategy and its Action Plan, the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers approved the 3rd national position reflecting Latvia’s opinion on the implementation and management of the Strategy and its Action Plan and setting out procedures for the coordination of that process in Latvia.
The directions of regional cooperation important for Latvia include the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan and its implementation, coordinated development of the Trans-European Transport Network and its connections with countries neighbouring the EU, increasing the competitiveness of logistics services, ensuring capacity for facilitating the crossing of the EU’s external border, development of a common area of education and research in the Baltic Sea Region, and cross-border cooperation in the assessment and prevention of environmental pollution.
Coordination of Cooperation at the National Level
In August 2009, in order to coordinate co-operation between ministries, social partners and non-governmental organisations in support of the implementation of the Action Plan, a working group was established by a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers; that group consists of representatives of all line ministries and the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia. From 2012, the working group also includes representatives from the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments and the Cross-Sectorial Coordination Centre. Latvia’s involvement of in the implementation of the EU’s strategy for the Baltic Sea region at the national level is coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To renew the membership of the working group, on 22 December 2014, Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a draft Cabinet of Ministers decision requesting the institutions concerned to nominate their representatives for the working group which was eventually presented for consideration at the Cabinet of Ministers meeting in February 2015.
In each Policy Area outlined in the Action Plan, one of the line ministries or institutions ensures the identification of Latvia’s interests at the national level and their representation at the EU level.
Three steps towards practical involvement in the implementation of the Action Plan
1. Study the Action Plan and its summary of the ongoing and planned cooperation in the region in line with the 14 Policy Areas.
3. Contact the coordinator of the respective Policy Area and potential cooperation partners in the region.