June 2015

Dear Baltic Sea friend,

Today marks the last day of the CBSS Estonian Presidency and we are looking back on a great year of events, projects and new partnerships, all dedicated to the implementation of the CBSS's three long term priorities: Regional Identity, Sustainable & Prosperous Region and Safe & Secure Region.

Read stories below, from our last months under the Estonian presidency and the new priorities of Poland, who will officilally take over the CBSS Presidency on 1 July, during Almedalen Political Week on Gotland, Sweden.

With warmest summer wishes,


6th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR hosted in sunny Jurmala

The European Strategy of the Baltic Sea Region hosted its 6th Forum in Latvia’s beach town of Jurmala on 15-16 June, marking the country’s final months of the EU Presidency.

With the title “Achieving E-Quality by connecting the Region”, the forum was dedicated to discussing the opportunities and challenges of digitalisation, emphasising the EU’s plans on a digital single market, hearing expert-opinions from Microsoft and looking at “e-Estonia” as a great example on how to embrace new technology and leave bureaucracy behind. The Forum was opened by Latvia’s Prime Minister Ms. Laimdota Straujuma and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, who reminded us to join our forces  “to make the Baltic Region prosper and to save our treasured Baltic Sea, the water that we share.

The CBSS hosted a stand at the Networking Village, offering the visitors a cup of coffee and updates on the projects and events of the Council.

The Forum coincided with the completion of the revision of the EUSBSR Action Plan, which is now more streamlined and focused on 13 policy areas and 4 horizontal actions, in total 17 thematic areas of macro-regional significance. The CBSS is now coordinating the Horizontal Action Climate under the CBSS Baltic 21 Unit and continues to co-coordinate the now-called Policy Area Secure, a merge of the previous Priority Areas Secure and Safe, together with the Swedish Contingencies Agency as well as Horizontal Action Neighbours jointly with the City of Turku.



Regional Director's Meeting in Tallinn

The Regional Directors of the CBSS Member States met on 5 June in Tallinn for the last event of the Estonian CBSS Presidency. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss and learn more about progress in the focus of the Estonian presidency: the implementation of the new long-term priorities of the CBSS. The meeting also reflected on the gradual improvement of coherence and coordination in Baltic Sea cooperation, and how to pursue this further.

Finally, the incoming Polish CBSS Presidency presented its program for the coming year under the Presidency priorities “Sustainability – Creativity – Safety”.

Conference "Local Action against Human Trafficking" gives stage to results of the STROM project

STROM – a transitional project co-funded by the CBSS Project Support Facility, looking at the role of municipalities in combatting trafficking – presented the findings of its assessment study in Riga, Latvia on 19-20 May. The Conference “Local Action against Human Trafficking” hosted international, national and local actors from 19 countries in Europe, who gathered to share and analyse the local mechanisms in place to deal with cases of human trafficking. Ilze Petersone – Godmane, State Secretary of the Ministry of Interior of Latvia gave opening remarks before different examples of local actions were presented by the participating countries.

A parallel workshop was organised by the Ministry of Security and Justice of the Netherlands and the City of Amsterdam, to collect information on the role of municipalities within multidisciplinary cooperation against trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation. 

The findings of STROM will culminate in specific Guidelines for Municipalities outlining the main challenges and best practices in dealing with human trafficking cases at the local level.

Expert level meeting on Alternative Care and Family Support in the Baltic Sea Region

On 5-6 May, the Estonian Presidency of the CBSS, the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs and the CBSS Expert Group for Cooperation on Children at Risk hosted an expert level meeting on Alternative Care and Family Support in the Baltic Sea Region in Tallinn.

The two-day meeting was opened by the Estonian Minister of Social Protection, Margus Tsahkna and it gathered together government representatives and experts from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the UK. 

Participants underlined the importance of implementing policies and good practices at national level and increased regional cooperation. The urgency of integrated services with a low-threshold for children and families at risk, ensuring timely and tailor-made support, immediate and long-term interventions and follow-up of children who have been through the alternative care system were key points of the discussions.

The meeting closed with the endorsement of the Tallinn Recommendations and Action Plan on Alternative Care and Family Support for the Baltic Sea Region. Targeting regional and national level actors, the document gives concrete recommendations on how to ensure quality and consistent care for children within a timeframe from 2015-2020 in the Baltic Sea Region. 


Concluding the CBSS Climate Weeks 

The CBSS Climate Weeks, organised by CBSS Baltic 21, ran from 14 April to 15 May 2015, and aimed to raise awareness, increase capacity on climate change and promote adaptation and mitigation actions in the Baltic Sea region. The initiative was an umbrella for a number of events and activities, such as the second stakeholder event for the EUSBSR flagship project ‘BSR dialogue platform on energy and resource efficiency´ (EFFECT), the 12th meeting of the CBSS Expert Group on Sustainable Development and a lecture for Master and Post-Doc students of natural sciences at Lund University, Center Environmental and Climate research.

A particular highlight was the AgroForum Mare Balticum in Tartu on the 14-16 April, co-organised by the CBSS Baltic 21, together with the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture and the Estonian University of Life Sciences. Back-to-back with the conference, CBSS Baltic 21 organised a follow-up to the Baltic Leadership Programme – Sustainable Development with a Low Carbon Development Project Workshop. The two-day event offered facilitated sessions where participants from nine CBSS member states and Belarus could explore and exchange more concrete opportunities for cooperation within low carbon development projects.

CBSS Baltic 21 was also present at the Second European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (ECCA), in Copenhagen from 12-14th May 2015, which provided a diverse number of sessions from science, business and policy-making dedicated to climate resilience and adaptation. The session on `Adapting the Baltic Sea region to a changing climate’, organised by CBSS Baltic 21, gave insights to the developments of challenges and adaptation strategies in Baltic Sea Region with good solutions from national and cities level.

As a part of CBSS Climate Weeks, and continuing from its previous round tables, the 4th Round Table of the BSR Climate Dialogue Platform was held in Tallinn on 29 April 2015. 


13th Meeting of Civil Protection Directors General of the Baltic Sea States in Tallinn

The annual Directors General Meeting took place for the 13th time in Tallinn on 3 June 2015 and was opened by Mister Hanno Pevkur, Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Estonia. The tradition of this gathering of international Directors General of Civil Protection institutions started in 2002 – also in Tallinn.

The floor was given to ongoing EU flagship projects under the new Policy Area Secure – from now on merged with Priority Area Crime – to share their state of play with the international partners. Helena Lindberg, Director General of MSB, promoted the Baltic Leadership Programme, which is planned to take place again in 2015, this time in Warsaw in November 2015 and encouraged her colleagues to send members of their team to the course. From Gaps to Caps, a follow up project to 14.3, had already kicked off in March in Reykjavik and works with 12 international institutions on risk assessment in the region until the end of 2016.

The handover of the CBSS Presidency from Estonia to Poland was highlighted by a presentation of the past year of the Estonian Presidency by Ambassador-at-large Raul Mälk and an overview of planned activities during the upcoming Polish Presidency by Col. Tomasz Kolodziejczyk. The symbolic manifestation of this change in presidencies was the handover of the Civil Protection Bell from Estonia to Poland, as a grande finale of the meeting.