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.

The set of indicators and targets for the EUSBSR is now approved by the General Affairs Council. The Council also approved the list of tasks and roles for the main stakeholders in the implementation of the Strategy.

The main objectives are from now on: SAVE THE SEA, CONNECT THE REGION and INCREASE PROSPERITY.

The complete set of the conclusions and the list of indicators and roles are to be found
here.

The Baltic Sea Region programme has given green light for three more projects. The projects involve 45 project partners and will receive 4.3 million EUR from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The projects implement two horizontal actions of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region's Action Plan: "Strengthening multi-level governance, place based spatial planning and sustainable development" and "Build a regional identity".

More information on
BSR homepage

The European Commission urges all stakeholders with views on the Action Plan to send their comments. Your ideas on focus, on efficiency and on added value would be particularly welcome. For written comments please send them to REGIO-EU-BALTIC-SEA-STRATEGY@ec.europa.eu. This stakeholder consultation on the new Action Plan will remain open until the end of July.

Please read more information about this call for comments here.

"We need to promote growth and jobs and align the EUSBSR to the goal of Europe 2020. We also need to see that Member States and regions are showing a committment and involvemnet in the strategy." This was the clear message from the Director-General for Regional Policy, Walter Deffaa, when he analysed the revision of the actionplan for the EUSBSR in Annual Forum in Copenhagen.

He also asked all actors to have clear targets for all actions and told that all Member States in the regions must show their willingness to support the strategy in the partnership agreements that will be signed regarding the future period 2014-2020. Mr. Deffaa also underlined that the Commission is really happy to have been able to suggest a major increase of the ETC budget for the next period (+30 %) and hoped this will also help to implement the actions and support the development of the strategy.

During the last day of the third Annual Forum of the EUSBSR, the workshop about the financial framework addressed the main aspects to be taken into account for the next programming period.
All the relevant stakeholders should have a say and formally meet in order to discuss the different priorities and make sure everybody is involved so as to strengthen the efficiency of the EUSBSR.

"The Baltic is still the most polluted sea in the world. We must focus on the Baltic Sea in itself, we have to clean the sea, the pollution is also a threat to the economy, leisure and tourism". This was the most important message from Ms. Hannele Luukkainen, BSSSC Board Member and member of the panel when the revision of the action plan was debated in the Annual Forum in Copenhagen.