This year, we have something special in store to mark Valentine's Day and at the same time promote cooperation across borders and regions and create a buzz around the 25th anniversary of Interreg - the EU's Regional Policy programme for territorial cooperation.
The European Commission-DG Regio is launching a Valentine's competition. People will be asked to submit their stories (a photo and a caption of 100 words) - "sharing your tales of how romance overcame obstacles across European borders" (cultural, political, linguistic, administrative, geographical, logistical...) by 15/3/2015 by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Eligible photos will be posted on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EUinmyregion after the submission closure.
Details on the interreg website: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index.cfm/en/policy/cooperation/european-territorial/interreg25years
Follow us at #EUlovewithoutborders

A study coordinated by the European Parliament provides a critical analysis of the future role of macro-regions in the implementation of European Territorial Cooperation. On the basis of a literature review and case studies, the study offers an assessment of potential benefits in the development of new macro-regional strategies as well as the most common risks and difficulties in their implementation. Recommendations are derived to inform the position of the European Parliament on how it can efficiently support the creation and implementation of new macro-regional strategies.

Euronews correspondents visit the Danube Region, as well as the Adriatic Ionion Region, to take a look at how macro-regional strategies are helping boost economic prosperity. An interview with Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu sheds light on how the strategies help countries cooperate to face common challenges.

Watch

The European Commission has today, 19 December 2014, adopted the transnational programme for the 8 EU countries and neighbouring countries in the Baltic Sea Region. Focussing on key issues such as the environmental status of the Baltic Sea or maritime safety and security, the programme is worth more than €263 million from EU investments alone. The programme will also exploit shared potentials including research, innovation and business links, as well as common work on sustainable transport.

Corina Crețu, Commissioner for Regional Policy who approved the programme today, said: "The sort of challenges this programme for the Baltic Sea will tackle are those - like environmental threats and maritime safety - that need a joint response from the countries of the Baltic. Importantly, this programme has been designed to support also the successful EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. We have high hopes - for example to see millions more in transnational research and development investment so together we can really harness potential for better jobs to improve the lives of people here."

Earlier this week the Commission has also adopted the Central-Baltic Programme (FI-EE-LV-SE) and even so the crossborder programmes Sweden-Norway, Botnia-Atlantica (SE-FI-NO) and Nord programme (SE-FI-NO) that all are within the EUSBSR area.

Link to the press release from the Commission is to be found here.

The Centrum Balticum organisation in Finland has opened up a new web page for information about the EUSBSR. The webpage is presented only in Finnish language.

Interreg Baltic Sea Region offers financial support to transnational projects contributing to the development of a more innovative, better accessible and sustainable Baltic Sea Region.

In this respect, Interreg Baltic Sea Region takes an active part in the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR).

In this framework, a call has been opened to give support to the Priority Area Coordinators (PACs) and the Horizontal Action Leaders (HALs) of the EUSBSR.

The call is open until 19 February 2015.

More information can be found in attachment.

Attachments:
Download this file (1st call_PAC HAL support_Announcement Note.pdf)Call PACs HALs 2015[ ]144 kB

The Council Conclusions on the governance of macro-regional strategies were published on 21 October 2014. It reiterates most of the recommendations of the European Commission Report on this question adopted in May 2014 and calls for an effective governance model.

A photo gallery for the EUSBSR has just been created and includes pictures from many different meetings and events as well as generic pictures taken in the Baltic Sea region. This tool aims to help EUSBSR stakeholders in their communication activities. The photos currently displayed in the online photo sharing platform have been provided by the INTERACT Programme and other EUSBSR stakeholders. In this respect, special thanks go to the Interreg South Baltic Programme which made available all the pictures submitted for its photo contest organised in 2012 as part of the local events of European Cooperation Day. EUSBSR stakeholders can also share additional photos on this gallery by contacting INTERACT Point Turku.

Check the photo gallery

The INTERACT programme has produced a publication addressing the main differences and similarities between EU macro-regional strategies and sea basin strategies. It specifically tackles the comparability and main principles between macro-regional strategies and sea basin strategies. It includes topics like added value, common challenges, cooperation, geographical areas etc.

The personal calendars for the next year will fill in very quickly, therefore we invite you to book the date for the 6th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region already now.

The meeting will take place in Jūrmala, Latvia, on 15-16 June 2015.

The title of the event is 'Achieving E-quality by Connecting Region(s)'.

The first #EUChatREGIO will take place on 25 September 2014 – 15:00-16:00 CET Time and will focus on the role and added value of macro-regional strategies in Europe.

Using Twitter and other forms of social media for work and professional development presents regional and local professionals and media with interesting opportunities for learning and sharing best practice across regions, cities and public services.

This tweetchat aims to help people concerned share their experiences, ideas, and views on the role, added-value and benefits of macro-regional strategies, both current and future.

Please use the hashtag #EUChatREGIO. The tweeting will be from @EU_Regional and the twitter accounts of the different strategies will join the discussion.

Suggested questions for discussion (please always specify question n°-ie Q1a- in your tweet and if appropriate the strategy concerned #EUSBSR #EUSDR #EUSAIR #EUSALP.

More details on the #EUChatREGIO are avaliable here.

Ms. Riitta Ahdan, Head of INTERACT Point Turku, passed away on Friday 29 August 2014 after a fairly short time of illness. We remember Riitta as a very supportive leader of the unit and work targeted colleague. Before working with INTERACT starting already in 2004, Riitta Ahdan worked on international projects in 1988 at the University of Turku in Finland, moving on from there to the University of Helsinki at the time when Finland joined the European Union. Her work has been very much related to regional development issues and included both EU co-funded projects as well as participation in the regional management groups of EU co-funded programmes. In INTERACT Riitta Ahdan was coordinating the INTERACT Point Turku expert teams contributing to a successful implementation of both ETC cooperation and ENPI CBC.

In Memoriam
Riitta Ahdan (1956-2014)