Dear Baltic Sea friend, welcome back! Balticness Light brings you glimpses of stories from the Baltic Sea region!

Plenty of things have been happening. Each year September marks not only the beginning of a school-year in our region; it is also the start for a full-on work year at the CBSS, commencing with the 1st Committee of Senior Officials meeting under the recently inaugurated presidency. This year the meeting took place in Helsinki on 10-11 September and kicked-off the activities centered around the Finnish Presidency priorities aimed at making the Baltic Sea clean, safe and smart. Since that first meeting it was clear that Coherence, Cooperation and Continuity - the three guiding principles of the Presidency (the three big C’s as we informally call them) are precisely the driving force behind the initiatives about which we will be telling you this year. On all possible levels: across various pan-Baltic organisations and frameworks, and also across specialized networks and even projects. We have experience and know-how in the region, we just have to not forget to share it and tell about it to one another. Thus, dear Baltic Sea friend, again – welcome back to the year of Balticness!

 

November 2013

Frameworks for University Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region

On October 28-29 the city of Turku demonstrated the strength and diversity of Baltic academic discourse. The Baltic Sea Region University Network debated university cooperation among member states of the CBSS, started conceptualizing the CBSS Summer University, taking place in the summer of 2014, and revived the Eurofaculty in Pskov. By doing this the Baltic Sea University Network demonstrated areas of academic cooperation between universities in the European Union, as well as neighboring countries such as Russia or Norway. In this regard the event indicated the challenges of bringing together asymmetric partners, but at the same time developing cooperation in wider Europe. Beyond a purely academic discourse the Baltic Sea Region University Network exemplified lessons learned from projects of cooperation, generating success stories of a Baltic academic identity. 

Common ground between EU and Russia discussed at St. Petersburg Strategic Forum

 

Director General Jan Lundin, senior adviser Iris Kempe and the Baltic 21 team participated at the 12th yearly Annual Forum of Strategic Leaders in St. Petersburg, a Conference gathering main stakeholders in North West Russia on regional development. Baltic 21 adviser Maxi Nachtigall lead a workshop on Innovation networks and clusters of green technology within the round table sequence "Forum Green Day" arranged by Leontief Center, Nordic Council of Ministers and CBSS.  Jan Lundin participated in a roundtable on EU-Russia cooperation on regional projects, as well as discussions between Russian and European representatives on establishing relevant themes for this. The next step in this process will be the EU Baltic Sea Strategy Annual Forum in Vilnius 11-12, where a similar workshop on “common ground” between the EU and Russia will be organized.

Visiting peers in Russia – The EFFECT project in Petrozavodsk

 

The first peer-to-peer visit of The Baltic Sea Region Dialogue Platform on Energy and Resource Efficiency, EFFECT, was arranged on the 23rd to 24th of October 2013 in Petrozavodsk, Russia. The visit convened several project partners, including the Council of the Baltic Sea States, County Administrative Board Dalarna, Sweden, Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning as well as a number of local participants, with representatives of the city of Petrozavodsk, the Business Incubator of the Republic of Karelia, the Swedish Karelian Business and Information Centre, Karelia Energy Efficiency Centre and Karelian Regional Institute of Management, Economics and Law. As a result of the first peer-to-peer visit more than 20 people representing the abovementioned organizations and institutions convened and discussed various aspects of energy and resource efficiency. 

Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean visit to the CBSS Secretariat

 

The CBSS Secretariat hosted a briefing on the occasion of the visit of the UfM Secretary General Mr. Fathallah Sijilmassi  on 8 October 2013 in Stockholm. The briefing focused on the exchange of expertise in regional cooperation and cross-regional synergies in Europe. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the UfM Secretary General Mr. Fathallah Sijilmassi and the CBSS Secretariat Director General Mr. Jan Lundin, to lay the ground for developing cooperation between the two secretariats in terms of exchange of information and consultation and organizing events in areas of common interest. The briefing was organized at the premises of CBSS and was attended by representatives of the Diplomatic Corps in Stockholm, academia and press.

 The Baltic Sea Labour Forum (BSLF) concludes its annual Round Table meeting in Helsinki on 1 November

 

The yearly Round Table of the BSLF gathered representatives of the regional labour market stakeholders currently members of the Forum and adopted an Action Plan on Cross Border Mobility. The main purpose of the action plan is to encourage and support practical cooperation activities among the BSLF members and to present recommendations to the governments of the Baltic Sea Region concerning cross-border mobility.  Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja in his speech, representing the CBSS Chair at the Conference, stressed the importance of issues such as labour mobility and youth unemployment, and the need to find solutions to problems, such as labour trafficking, through regional cooperation. CBSS Secretariat Director General Jan Lundin and The Swedish European Social Fund representative Christian Råbergh also outlined future financing possibilities in the field of labour mobility. The CBSS Project Support Facility is already enabling the BSLF to prepare future project proposals on facilitating orderly labour migration in the region through a system of information points, similar to what already exists bilaterally and in a Nordic cooperation context. 

Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings – What’s new?

 

The Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (TF-THB) had a productive year filled with project work and extensive outreach activities. On 30th October 2013, the Swedish Minister of EU Affairs, Ms. Birgitta Ohlsson, visited the Secretariat to discuss the TF-THB activities and the CBSS role in the EUSBSR, more particularly the Flagship project “ADSTRINGO”, which focuses on trafficking for forced labour and labour exploitation.

Under the umbrella concept of ADSTRINGO, six independent research reports providing information on recruitment practices, vulnerabilities, factors, methods and channels that facilitate exploitation in Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation and Sweden were published. Furthermore, the report Human Trafficking 2013 – Baltic Sea Region Round-up was launched by the TF-THB on 18th October 2013 at the EU Anti-Trafficking Day Conference in Vilnius. The report outlines current human trafficking challenges and the direction of counter trafficking work in the CBSS Member States and the Region.

CBSS & Swedish Institute launch Balticlab 2.0!

 

Following the successful pilot initiative of Balticlab Networking Weekend in 2012 and the Balticlab Project Development Programme in April-June 2013, the CBSS and the SI have launched Balticlab 2.0. The aim of Balticlab 2.0 is to bring young creative minds from the Baltic Sea region together into one space to explore new perspectives and sources of inspiration in the region. By providing opportunities for interdisciplinary talented individuals to network and come up with joint collaborations in the region, Balticlab aims to support their personal development as well as see their increased engagement in improving the region. Balticlab 2.0 is having an open call for participants from the Baltic Sea region until 12 November, after which around 100 participants will be selected to join the Balticlab Networking Weekend in Stockholm on 13-15 December 2013. For more information on the Balticlab Network and for the latest updates on the Balticlab 2.0 open call (Deadline for applications extended till 12 November!) see www.balticlab-online.eu.

 

Off to Vilnius for the 4th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR

 

11-12 November 2013, the 4th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region will take place in Vilnius, Lithuania. This year the CBSS Secretariat is taking a more active part in it than ever before, at a time when the EU Presidency is being held by a CBSS Member State. The project village and a number of workshops of relevance for the CBSS have been prepared through our joint efforts with the Lithuanian EU Presidency and the European Commission. In the next  Balticness Light we will be telling you more about our participation at this Annual Forum. Whereas now you can meet us on site in Vilnius -  exhibiting and presenting at the project village and workshops.