EUSBSR Horizontal Action Neighbours

Horizontal Action “Neighbours” is one of the five Horizontal Actions in EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). The main purpose of Horizontal Action (HA) “Neighbours” is to bring together stakeholders in the EU Member States and neighbouring countries, especially the North Western territories of the Russian Federation and Norway. Close cooperation at national, regional and local level is vital to jointly tackle many of the challenges in Baltic Sea Region and to fully utilize its development potential. HA Neighbours helps interested stakeholders and project partners find each other across borders. It facilitates discussion and exchanges of experience, as well as concrete projects in the Baltic Sea Region. This has been done through building on two independent but complementary initiatives: the Turku Process and the Modernization Partnership for the South East Baltic Area (SEBA).  The Horizontal Action is co-coordinated between the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat (CBSS) in Stockholm and the City of Turku, Finland. It was included in the EUSBSR Action Plan in February 2013.

On the website, you find also HA Neighbours’ blog that highlights work for the EUSBSR from the point of view of the neighbouring countries. If you liked to contribute to the blog, do not hesitate to contact Juhani Ailio,


There are eight actions under HA Neighbours:

  • Promotion of higher education and professional networks with innovative enterprises
  • Strengthening environmental cross-border competence in the Baltic Sea Region
  • Fostering labour market-related activities in the cross-border context
  • Promoting youth and student exchanges and co-operation in the Baltic Sea Region
  • Develop sustainable cross-border areas for tourism and economic development
  • Development of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)
  • Cultural heritage and creative industries
  • Fostering cross-border cooperation through youth exchange and exchange in higher education

Horizontal Action Neighbours supports especially EUSBSR stakeholders to identify partners in neighbouring countries by disseminating information about cross-border cooperation possibilities,  organising match-making events and info seminars and ensuring dialogue between partners.

Previously, HA Neighbours has also hosted a number of flagship projects under its umbrella. The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is implemented, among others, by means of flagships – projects and processes. Flagships demonstrate the process and progress of the EUSBSR, and may serve as pilot examples for desired change. In terms of structure, a flagship is either a single project, a set of projects (a group) contributing to same action or a process (e.g. network, new cooperation platform, etc.). Read more on each of Horizontal Action Neighbours below.


strip web-01Balticlab was a Horizontal Action Neighbours flagship project from 2013 – 2015 and is now a flagship project under Policy Area Culture. Young, creative minds in the Baltic region can drive innovation and integration. Balticlab brings these minds together in the same space to create and explore new perspectives and sources for inspiration. As the network flourishes, new opportunities for collaboration open up. The lab is seen as a platform allowing young talented individuals from the Baltic Sea Region to create a dynamic cross-disciplinary network and develop future joint projects in the region. The aim is to build a network through looking at creative industries, media collaborations and entrepreneurial perspectives. Its format will hence serve the overall objective of the programme: to equip young innovative individuals in the region with expertise on starting your own business or carrying out a project idea, as well as to provide them with appropriate tools, skills and connections necessary to achieve these ends in an inter-regional context.

More information on the Balticlab website at

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Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue

EUSBSR flagship label cmyk

Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue was carried out the first two years (2014 and 2015) as a joint programme of the CBSS and the Körber Foundation, Germany.  In 2016, a follow-up project was realised in collaboration with the European Solidarity Centre Gdansk, Poland, which gathered young Europeans interested in the history of the Baltic Sea Region, from their respective networks. The programme, focusing on border areas of the region, offers the young participants a chance to get to know each other’s cultures, in order to reflect, discuss and explore their shared identity. As such, the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue is important for building a discussion on Baltic Sea regional identity among the younger generation.

Read more about the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue prorgamme here.


Auswaertiges_Amt_engl_o_ckoerber logoEUSBSR logo - for light backgrounds    Interreg logo

CBSS Summer University

EUSBSR flagship label transparentThe CBSS Summer University was a flagship of Horizontal Action Neighbours of the EUSBSR with the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) as lead partner. The programme was developed in 2014 in cooperation between Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/Germany, Södertörn University/Sweden and the University of Turku/Finland. In 2016, three CBSS Summer Universities took place in Sweden, Norway and Russia. The call for applications for 2017 has been published recently.

More information and the recent call can be found here.

CBSS Youth Camp

“Fostering cross-border cooperation through youth exchange and exchange in higher education”

EUSBSR flagship label transparentThe CBSS Summer Youth Camp 2013 was initiated to foster informal learning, facilitate people-to-people contacts, intercultural dialogue and network-building between young people from Russia and other countries of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The project strived in particular to strengthen the BSR regional identity, as well as building capacity among youth on sustainable lifestyles choices and actions allowing for sustainable development in the BSR. This was achieved through facilitating and enabling the participation of an international youth delegation of 20 people consisting of members of youth councils, young activists and volunteers from Germany, Norway, Poland, Estonia and Lithuania in the Baltic Artek Youth Camp in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia in August 2013. This group represented the majority of the international participants at the Youth Camp. The project also facilitated the arrangement of three workshops held in English at the `International Steam´ of the Baltic Artek Youth Camp. The `International Steam’ was one of nine themes of the Baltic Artek Youth Camp. The CBSS youth delegation was not only limited to participating in the `International Steam´, but the delegation travelled to Kaliningrad already on the 7th of August in order to take part in all of the events that the Youth Camp offered and stayed until the Camp ended on the 15th of August. The project convened affiliated youth organisations in the BSR, as well as representatives of higher education, for example the Baltic University Programme and Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad City), which were responsible and in charge of arranging the three workshops held in English at the International Steam of the Baltic Artek Youth Camp.

EuroFaculty Pskov

EUSBSR flagship label transparentThe EuroFaculty Pskov project was an educational development project launched in 2009 in the region of Pskov in Western Russia, close to the border of Estonia and Latvia. The aim of the project was to upgrade university education in Business Economics/Business Administration at the recently created Pskov State University (PskovSU), which is a result of a merger of five education institutions in Pskov. Before the merger the recipient institutions were Pskov State Polytechnic Institute and Pskov Volny Institute.

Find more information about it here.

Lake Peipsi

The goal of this project has been to improve the environmental situation of the Lake Peipsi basin by establishing and renovating waste-water treatment facilities in Pskov Oblast and by developing modern infrastructure in small harbours on the Estonian side of Lake Peipsi. The Lead Partner was the Estonian Ministry of the Interior, Regional Development Department, European Territorial Cooperation Bureau. The planned activities of the project on the Russian side were the inspection of the waste-water treatment facilities in 16 areas in the Lake Peipsi basin, as well as the construction and reconstruction of waste-water treatment facilities in Pskov City, the Gdovsky, Pskovsky, Pechorsky & Palkinsky areas. On the Estonian side, modern infrastructure that meets environmental requirements was to be establised in three harbours: Tartu, Mustvee and Räpina.


EUSBSR flagship label transparentThe objective of the Vistynets project was the sustainable development of a transnational cross-border natural park through a networking model, establishing links between municipalities, regional and national authorities, private businesses, ecologists, NGOs and the creative sector in Russia (Kaliningrad region), Lithuania and Poland, with possible involvement of all states in the Baltic Sea Region. To read more about the project see the Vision for the cross-border natural park project Vistynets lake factsheet.




At the 16th Ministerial Session of the CBSS, held on June 7, 2011 in Oslo, a decision was taken to implement a programme of modernization of the South Eastern Baltic Area with special focus on the Kaliningrad region and its neighborhood, and to report to the 9th Baltic Sea States Summit in 2012 as well as to the 17th Ministerial Session of the CBSS to be held in 2013. The CBSS wished to bring attention to what this part of the South Eastern  Baltic Area has to offer, and to support its efforts to modernize and interact with other parts of the region. The SEBA programme was an integral part of this vision. Project development, dialogue with stakeholders and communication have been central parts of the Partnership, which had a two-year time-frame from 2011 to 2013 and concluded with a conference in Kaliningrad in 2013. To read more about the activities under SEBA and the Conference on Creativity in Kaliningrad, please see the SEBA section of our website.

Pilot Financial Initiative

image  The Pilot Financial Initiative (PFI) is an open platform for financial cooperation to attract partners and funds to finance innovative small and medium businesses, as well as PPP projects to upgrade social, municipal and regional infrastructure, energy efficiency, nature protection in the geographic area of CBSS. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining the Initiative was signed between the Secretariat of the Council of the Baltic States, KfW Development Bank (KfW Entwicklungsbank) and the State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank) on the sidelines of the Baltic Sea States Summit in Stralsund, 31 May 2012.

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