EUSBSR History

Horizontal Action (HA) ‘Neighbours’ aimed at creating added value to the Baltic Sea cooperation by working with neighbouring countries and regions.

HA Neighbours focused on promoting dialogue and facilitating cooperation across the borders and with other neighbouring regions, thus enabling Baltic Sea region actors to find common solutions to mutual challenges and to seek synergies and links between various regions. The main purpose was to bring together stakeholders in the EU and neighbouring countries: Norway, Belarus, Iceland and especially the North Western territories of the Russian Federation.

HA Neighbours was coordinated by the City of Turku (Finland) and Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat.



  • Ensuring good horizontal action ‘Neighbours’ coordination and governance.
  • Encouraging partnerships between EUSBSR stakeholders and neighbouring countries.
  • Promoting dialogue and cooperation along ‘neighbouring country tracks’.
  • Following developments and liaising with neighbouring regions and other macro-regions.
  • Promoting knowledge about the EUSBSR and the possibilities it offers to coordinated action.
  • Improving communication about ‘cooperation across borders’.
  • Project facilitation and financing.
  • Fulfilling the tasks of the horizontal action coordinators (as defined in the Plan of Action).



  1. Continued dialogue and coordination with key partners of the EUSBSR on development of the horizontal action ‘Neighbours’
  2. Joint promotion of the added value of Baltic Sea region cooperation ‘across the borders’
  3. Mobilising awareness and potential stakeholders in neighbouring countries
  4. Developing dialogue and exchange with other macro-regions/neighbouring regions and relevant organisations
  5. Developing and implementing practical cooperation processes and flagships beneficial for the development of EUSBSR/ horizontal action ‘Neighbours’ goals



Throughout its existence, HA Neighbours furthered cooperation between EUSBSR and its neighbouring non-EU countries by effectively communicating the opportunities and added value brought by joint action, and by creating possibilities for stakeholders and cross-border actors to meet, share experiences, and start cooperation.

HA Neighbours actively organized and took part in different kinds of events and meetings, as well as increased the efficiency and visibility of EUSBSR communication promoting cooperation with non-EU countries. HA Neighbours functioned both as an EUSBSR communication channel for non-EU countries and a contact point for non-EU stakeholders. By mapping the state of cooperation based on data collected from funding programmes and insights received from Policy Areas and Horizontal Actions, HA Neighbours took an active role in searching for new possibilities for development and improvement of cooperation.

Early on, HA Neighbours established connections to all four non-EU neighbours – Russia, Norway, Iceland, and Belarus. By joining forces with Russian and Norwegian stakeholders, HA Neighbours managed to further cooperation between EUSBSR and the two countries. HA Neighbours also explored possibilities for cooperation with Iceland, Belarus, and the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). In addition, HA Neighbours promoted the involvement of representatives of neighbouring non-EU countries in the governance of EUSBSR.