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European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR)

EUSBSR

Since the adoption of the European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the according Action Plan interaction with the various facets and levels of the Strategy actions have grown – this is especially noticeable since the latest revision of the Action Plan in February 2013. Post revision the CBSS broadened its interaction from co-coordinating a Priority Area focused on Civil Contingencies (previously PA14, currently PA Secure) to also taking on a formal role as co-coordinator of two Horizontal ActionsNeighbours and Climate (former ‘Sustainable’).

Another development saw the re-formulated PA Crime further detailing the Action: Combatting trafficking in Human Beings by nominating the Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings project ADSTRINGO as a flagship to specifically address the objective to prevent trafficking in human beings for forced labour. The CBSS as an organization has also noted the developments of affiliated inter-governmental networks of the CBSS increased engagement with the Strategy – such as VASAB co-coordinating the Horizontal Action Spatial jointly with CBSS Strategic partner HELCOM as well as the direct engagement of ARS Baltica alongside the Monitoring Group on Cultural Heritage in PA Culture, through flagships. The Finnish Presidency and the concentration on coherence actually followed through on one of the PA Culture objectives to build an efficient framework of Baltic Sea Region cultural cooperation with their follow up meeting in Kotka, Finland in May 2014 to the first joint meeting of the Senior Officials Group on Culture, the Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture and the Monitoring Group on Cultural Heritage in May 2012 in Greifswald, Germany. BASREC is also specifically mentioned under PA Energy, giving special attention to certain types of renewables, energy, and aspects of energy efficiency. The Baltic Sea States Civil Protection Network is of course working intrinsically on all levels with PA Secure. Out of the total of eight inter-governmental networks – six are engaged in the work of the EUSBSR directly.

The CBSS Secretariat has taken on the following roles:

Policy Area Coordinator for PA Secure

Senior Adviser, Mr. Janusz Gaciarz, +46 8 440 19 26 janusz.gaciarz@cbss.org
Adviser, Mr. Jacek Paszkowski, +46 8 440 19 26 jacek.paszkowski@cbss.org
Project Officer, Andriy Martynenko, andriy.martynenko@cbss.org
Project Assistant, Nina Jernberg, +46, nina.jernberg@cbss.org
Ms Julia Fredriksson, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), julia.fredriksson@msb.se

Horizontal Action Leader for HA Neighbours

Senior Adviser Daria Akhutina, +46 8 440 1936, daria.akhutina@cbss.org

Horizontal Action Leader for HA Climate

Senior Adviser, Ms Krista Kampus, +46 8 440 1930, krista.kampus@cbss.org
Policy Officer, Mr Valdur Lahtvee, +46 8 440 19 37, valdur.lahtvee@cbss.org

Task Force for Communication of the EUSBSR

Head of Media and Communcation, Mr Anthony Jay, +46 8 440 1941, anthony.jay@cbss.org

In regard to governance, the CBSS representatives are members of a number of the Steering Committees and / or coordination groups of particular Priority Areas or Horizontal Actions – PA Culture and HA Promo to name two, the representatives have standing invites to PA Ship and PA Safe in recognition of the coordination arranged on Maritime Safety, Security and Economy by the Expert Group on Maritime Policy as well as other initiatives such as the CBSS Finnish Presidency supported Baltic Maritime Incidence Response Survey (BSMIR) and Baltic Sea Maritime Functionalities (BSMF) a flagship under the former PA 13.

The last meetings being held 4 October in Copenhagen on the topic of Clean Shipping and 13 November in Vilnius on Maritime Safety. The Head of Media and Communication at the CBSS Secretariat and his staff are also members of the EUSBSR Task Force for Communication, attending both meetings held during the presidency year on 5 Sept 2013 in Vilnius and the 5 March in Riga 2014. There is also regular contact with Horizontal Action Involve and Priority Area Education. Specifically in relation to public diplomacy and promotion of the EUSBSR the HA Neighbours flagship project and joint CBSS – Swedish Institute Talent and Leadership programme Balticlab has engaged with 4 Priority Areas Coordinators during 2014 – PA Culture, PA Education, PA Innovation and PA SME (PA Tourism was engaged in the first Balticlab programme in 2013), as well as three Horizontal Action Leaders – HA Sustainable, HA involve and HA Promo. This has enabled creative entrepreneurs and cultural actors in the region to be presented with the actions of the EUSBSR first hand and potentially build a working relationship regionally from an innovative standpoint. Under Priority Area Education for the Action Social Inclusion the Flagship Project Baltic Sea Labour Forum continues to act as the main forum in the Baltic Sea Region macro-regionally for tri-partite dialogue.
In addition to this heightening of responsibility, perhaps the largest demonstration of this strengthening of ties was visualized in the autumn of 2013 by the co-organisation of the 4th Annual Forum of the European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in November in Vilnius. This endeavour was a joint production by the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat and Interact point Turku.

In terms of governance of the EUSBSR, gatherings occurred in several settings which the CBSS Secretariat was party to both on a regional setting as well as a Swedish setting due to the Secretariat being based in Stockholm due to the Host Country agreement. There was the EUSBSR National Contact Points meeting in Vilnius on 4-5 September 2013. This was supplemented by two joint meetings of the NCPS, PACs and HALs in Vilnius in November 2013 and in Turku in June 2014. Staff of the CBSS Secretariat also presented at the 5th working meeting in Tallinn 9-10 April 2014.

The National Coordination Meeting of Swedish PAC’s and HAL’s was held on three occasions – on 28 November 2013, 19 February Stockholm & 28 May 2014 where the Swedish EUSBSR stakeholder’s reflections on governance and policy impact of the strategy were presented. This was complemented by a Swedish stakeholder seminar on EUSBSR financial alignment 25 March 2014. There was also a coordination meeting for non-Swedish PAC’s and HALs based in Sweden, held in Stockholm on 21 May 2014. Aside from these which are ostensibly arranged by the Swedish Government Offices there is another grouping which includes all of the authorities and agencies including Flagship Project partners in Sweden which met on three occasions throughout the year – this is called the Swedish Baltic Sea Strategy Network. The meetings are arranged by the Swedish Agency for Regional Development and Growth and Ulf Savbäck, chairs the meetings – they are generally coordination based and operational in nature. Climate Change was presented by HA Sustainable on 3 April 2014. Two other meetings were held during the year on 17 September 2013 and 19 November 2013.
On the technical side the CBSS Secretariat completed and submitted two technical assistance grants for the EUSBSR on PA14 and HA Neighbours as well as a grant for the organization of the 4th Annual Forum. The Final Report of the Flagship Project 14.3 under PA Secure was also submitted to the Commission. Consultations with the European Commission were held in December 2013 and January 2014 to discuss progress on the respective PA and HAs.

A new and welcome addition to project funding since the revision of the Action Plan is the EU Seed Money Facility. In the role of co-coordinators of PAs and HAs the CBSS Secretariat has written support letters for several EUSBSR seed money applications and was present at the meeting between the EUSBSR Seed Money Secretariat and regional actors as PAC and HALs in Berlin 5 February. During the previous period May – December 2013 Ms. Krista Kampus, HAL Sustainable development represented one of the two seats allocated to the group of Priority Area Coordinators and Horizontal Action Leaders in the body that is the Seed Money Technical Committee. Other input regarding future funding occurred at the Thematic Programming Workshop on Environment of the Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014 – 2020, 17 April 2014 also in Berlin and at the Central Baltic Programme 2014 – 2020 Programming Workshop, 22 April 2013, Stockholm. The South Baltic Programme presented on programming period 2014 – 2020 at CBSS Secretariat 4 October 2013. HA Sustainable also participated in the South Baltic Programme 2014 – 2020 Programming meeting in Szczecin, Poland 27 November 2013 and PA Secure participated in the Information day Szczecin 26-27 March to EUSBSR Polish stakeholders organized by Europe Direct Information point and Interact point Turku. The Head of Administration attended the European Conference: The New Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 entitled Addressing the Challenges for Successful Management, Implementation and Control of EU Funds in Brussels on 7-8 November 2013. The CBSS as an organization has also had a role to play in terms of granting small seed financing for projects that have fed into several different Priority Areas of the EUSBSR – these are detailed later in this report.