The Russian Foreign Minister is looking forward to joining forces with international partner organisations in order to stimulate cooperation in the Baltic Sea region. In an interview in the Amber Bridge Magazine Minister Lavrov is analysing the developments that have taken place during the last two decades. At the same time, he is also pointing out main focuses for Russia's Precidency in the Council for Baltic Sea States organisation.

One of the main tasks according to Mr. Lavrov is: "to create a large-scale innovation fund for direct investments through PPP in order to strengthen of regional economies and to resolve infrastructure problems in Russia".

Regarding the EUSBSR, Mr. Lavrov underlines that Russia continues to hold consultations with EU to promote the interaction in the region. The whole interview can be read if clicking
on this link.

The conference report from the Third Annual Forum of the EUSBSR is now available. The event was organised jointly with the Baltic Development Forum in June 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Access the document here

Investitions Bank Schleswig Holstein (IB)  has been appointed to manage the "EUSBSR seed money facility". The total budget of this facility will be around 1.1 M€. An agreement with IB will be signed before the end of this year.

The general idea is that the facility will support projects which total budget is between 30 000 and 50 000€. At least three partners from three different EU Baltic Sea Region countries will have to be involved (in addition, neighbouring countries can also be part of a project provided of course that their participation contributes to the objectives of the Strategy). A coordinating partner from an EU Member State will have to be appointed. It can be a national, regional or local authority as well as a body governed by public law.

The eligible costs will be related to staff, travel, meetings and external experts. The administrative process will be as simple as possible. There will be a continuous submission and assessment of applications, and decisions will be taken four times a year in a written procedure.

A kick-off event is planned for early 2013, but detailed information about the whole process will be available before the end of this year.

A new issue of the EUSBSR newsletter has been released. The content of the September 2012 issue includes the Third Annual Forum of the EUSBSR, a Priority Area 12 sucess story, an interview with the coordinator for Priority Area 12 Tourism and an article on the final report on EUSBSR communication needs. The publication is available for download on the left column under the section Communication.

The BSSSC newsletter 2/2012 has been just released. The topics of this issue comprise the 3rd Annual Forum of the EUSBSR, the political scene in the Baltic Sea region and the EUSBSR communication activities among others. Read the full newsletter here.

The South Baltic Programme has just announced the ninth call for proposals. Project ideas can be submitted until 28 September 2012. Learn more about this by visiting the South Baltic Programme website here

Registration for the BSSSC Annual Conference (17-19 September) and Baltic Sea Programme Conference (19-20 September) will be open until 30 August 2012. The events will take place in Lillestrom, Norway.

The Latvian based company DEA Baltika, successful tenderer of the public procurement on EUSBSR communication needs, has delivered the final report. The document highlights positive and negative aspects of the communication carried out so far. In the positive side, the website, the visual identity and the flagship projects have been warmly welcome by stakeholders. In the negative side, more resources for communication are needed as well as clear guidelines for roles and responsibilities within the Strategy. The final report is available here.

The South Baltic Programme is calling for attention for a photo competition. In order to participate, all you need to do is to take and upload a photo of the Baltic Sea, the Baltic Sea Region or any other object related to the Baltic Sea. There is more information available on their Facebook page.

The first draft proposal of the updated Action Plan from the European Commission is available here. Please send all comments and proposals to this first draft with tracked changes before 21 September 2012 to the email address: REGIO-EU-BALTIC-SEA-STRATEGY@ec.europa.eu. There will be a second, shorter round of consultations with you (hopefully late autumn) before the document goes into inter-service consultation in the Commission.