"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.

The Polish National Contact Point Ms. Henryka Mo?cicka-Dendys, says that the revision process should allow for a bottom-up approach.

-We expect the new action plan to be a more proactive plan, to steer the development of the future implementation. We like also to support new ideas. We are in e.g. in favour of supporting the ideas to bring culture and public health into the Strategy-.

Several hundreds are participating in the 3rd Annual Forum of the EUSBSR in Copenhagen 17-19 June 2012. The official opening was made by H. R. H Prince Frederik of Denmark. During the morning session, the strategy was also in focus in the speeches of e.g. The Danish Prime Minister Helle Thornvig-Schmidt and the Commissioner Johannes Hahn. The theme for this year Annual Forum is Connecting Europe - Smart and Green Partnerships. More information on the event website

This was the message from the Commissioner for Transport  in the European Commission, Mr. Siim Kallas. In order to improve the connections Mr. Kallas is asking for a stronger public - private support, and he also invited all to create a mutual push to use more EU funds in order to implement transport projects in the future. Mr. Kallas underlined that it is important to continue the work within the trans-European transport network TEN-T.

Among the visioneers, Vice Mayor Kritsin Vinje from Oslo suggested a joint effort in the Nordic Countries to agree and to work together to get from Oslo to Copenhagen traveling in a train within 2,5 hours by the year of 2025.

The individual website for PA3 To reduce the use and impact of hazardous substances has now been updated.
Here you can find documentation from the Workshop held in Warsaw, 10th of May 2012, presenting results from ongoing flagships and future priorities and needs.
Minutes and documentation on the Fourth Steering Group meeting, held in Warsaw, 11th of May 2012, are also available on the website. The meeting focused on targets and indicators, aiming at finding new strategic actions within the strategy. The steering group agreed, amongst other things, that future strategic actions will be capacity building and extended macro regional research.
Access the Priority Area websites by clicking on the tab 'Priorities and Actions'.

A visual identity manual has been produced for EUSBSR stakeholders. A special section on the requirements on the use of the EUSBSR visual identity has also been included. The document is available under the section 'Visual Identity' displayed on the left column.

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.

The first edition of the BTJ Think Tank is now online. The publication has been prepared by the Baltic Transport Journal editorial team with the intention to initiate discussion on strategic issues and challenges for transport and energy sectors within the Baltic Sea region. The topic of the first issue of the BTJ Think Tank is the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), Download it here