Ministers of the Environment and High-Level Representatives of the nine Baltic coastal countries and the European Union met on 6 March in Brussels to agree on new commitments for the Baltic marine environment.


A ministerial declaration welcomes, among others, the joint HELCOM-UNESCO-EUSBSR status report on pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment as well as the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) regional cooperation platform to reduce pharmaceuticals in the Baltic Sea.

The many successful cooperation projects developed with partners in the region, including under the EUSBSR, as well as different projects within the cross-border cooperation programmes are welcomed.

The countries commit to continue the constructive cooperation with actors and to endeavour to ensure synergies between the priorities of the Baltic Sea Action Plan and, among other frameworks, the EUSBSR Action Plan.

The declaration is available at HELCOM website.


The National Coordinators (NC-group) met on 6 February at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tallinn, Estonia. This was the third NC-group meeting under the Estonian Chair. The NC-group welcomed the new Danish National Coordinator, Mr Morten Skovgaard Hansen.

Future of EUSBSR Communication Strategy

At last meeting, the NC-group suggested that the "Let´s Communicate!" project will lead the process of renewing the EUSBSR Communication Strategy. The NC-group considered that the document should be of more strategic and permanent nature. The “Let’s communicate!” project consortium is willing to function as the core “task force” responsible for the planning and for writing the Communication Strategy.

Preparations for EUSBSR 2018 & 2019 Annual Fora

The Estonian hosts briefed the NC-group about the state-of-play of the preparations for the EUSBSR Annual Forum 2018. The call for seminars had raised high interest with more than 50 received proposals. As this exceeds the capacity, organisers will select 21 seminar proposals. The registration for participants will start in mid-April. 

In the meeting, the EUSBSR Annual Forum 2019 was also discussed. It is planned on 12-13 June and will be organised by the Pomorskie region in Gdánsk, Poland. The envisaged main theme of the Annual Forum 2019 is  "Circular and sharing economy – answer to demographic challenges for the Baltic Sea Region".

Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) ceasing the role of PA Innovation coordinator

The Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) Secretariat informed in the beginning of February that it will not continue as the the coordinator for Policy Area Innovation after July 2018. The NCM has also taken a decision not to continue as manager of the flagship BSR Stars beyond the 31 July 2018. The changing situation and its impacts were discussed and the NC Chair will continue to inform and consult the NC-group about new developments.

New Flagship Approved

A new EUSBSR Flagship Project under the Horizontal Action Climate was approved: “Bioeconomy in the South Baltic Area: Biomass-based Innovation and Green Growth" (BioBIGG). Lead partner is Roskilde University in Denmark. The project is financed by Interreg South Baltic programme and it lasts until 2020.


Next NC-group meeting will be taking place during the second half of April. The last meeting during Estonian Chairmanship is planned for 6 June 2018 in Tallinn after the Annual Forum.


Read the whole NC-group meeting report here.


As regional identity is one of the priorities of CBSS, it is now calling for projects that focus either one or all of the following: culture, education, children and youth. Call is open from 15 February – 31 March 2018.


Projects for, with and by children and young people are highly valued. The focus is to improve and strengthen the particpation and influence of children and young people and strenghten their regional identity.

Cultural co-operation in the Baltic Sea Region has many facets and projects driven by the highest artistic quality, as well as where culture is used as a force to build bridges across borders, as well as social and political differences are welcome.

To qualify for funding, projects must also reflect dimensions of sustainable development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

More information on the CBSS website.


The Bloomberg Innovation Index for 2018 has been released and four Baltic Sea region countries can be found among the 10 most innovative economies in the world.




Sweden is ranked second followed by Germany at the fourth place. Finland and Denmark are found on the seventh and eighth place of the Index.

The rest of the Baltic Sea region countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland as well as Russia and Norway) can all be found among the 50 most innovative countries.


The index scores countries using seven criteria, including research and development spending and concentration of high-tech public companies.

Source: Silicon Republic & Bloomberg


Within the framework of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region Policy Area Innovation  aims at promoting global competitiveness and growth of the Baltic Sea region through support for entrepreneurship, business development, science and increased innovation capacity.






A seminar focused on the clean and safe shipping in the Baltic Sea Region will be organised on 6 February 2018 in Oslo. The aim is to engage more Norwegian actors in the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSBSR.


Logos NOseminar


In the seminar the work within the EUSBSR in the field of clean and safe shipping is presented and the ways for Norwegian actors to get involved with the Strategy are outlined. Good examples and future opportunities of Norwegian actors in concrete projects are also presented.

The seminar is organised in English.

The programme and registration link are available at the event website.


The seminar is organised in the framework of the "Let's communicate!" project. One of the tasks of the project is to promote the EUSBSR in Norway. 


The organisers of the 9th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region to be held in Tallinn on 4–5 June 2018 invite all strategic stakeholders to participate and propose seminars for the event.

Seminars are an essential part of the Annual Forums of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). They serve to exchange views on themes pertinent for the EUSBSR as well as to develop and disseminate new ideas and initiatives.

Seminars should provide a clear link to the Strategy and to the general subject of the 9th Annual Forum: “After 2020”. We expect the seminars to relate to at least one of the three main themes of the Annual Forum: “EU Cohesion Policy and the EUSBSR After 2020”, “EUSBSR and the Digital World” and “EUSBSR and the Marine Environment”. Ideas about seminars that enhance the EUSBSR main objectives – “Save the Sea”, “Connect the Region” and “Increase Prosperity” – are also welcome. 

  • The event will be hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia together with the Baltic Development Forum in Denmark and other partners and is organized in close cooperation with the European Commission. The Annual Forum is co-financed from the programme of Interreg Baltic Sea Region.

The 9th Annual Forum will have 21 slots for 90-minute seminars. The call for seminars will be open until 31 January 2018. Please find additional information and a form for your proposal here


Would your organisation like to start or expand a joint collaboration that contributes to sustainable economic, environmental or social development in the Baltic Sea Region? The Swedish Institute provides seed funding for joint projects in which Swedish organisations meet transnational challenges in cooperation with organisations from the Baltic Sea Region countries and the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries.

The project activities that the Swedish Institute supports via ‘seed funding’ must be clearly linked to one or more of the challenges identified in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The projects should help to create conditions for long-term, sustainable relations in the region.

Basic facts about seed funding from the Swedish Institute:

  • Seed funding projects can include the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Denmark, Estonia,  Finland, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine
  • The main applicant has to be a Swedish actor who wants to cooperate with organisations from at least two other countries. See the Swedish Institute website for more detailed conditions for the participation of specific countries and partnership composition.
  • The following types of Swedish organisations from the public, private and non-profit sectors may apply for funding: NGOs, municipalities, regions, regional councils, county councils, higher education institutions, research institutes, intergovernmental organisations, businesses, trade organisations and government agencies.
  • A project can apply for a maximum of SEK 500,000 and may run for no longer than 18 months.

The call will be open until 13 February 2018.

More detailed information and application documents can be found on the website of the Swedish Institute.


 The National Coordinators (NC-group) of the EU Strategy fro the Baltic Sea Region met on the 28th November at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tallinn, Estonia. This was the second NC-group meeting of the Estonian Chair and the final one during the Estonian EU Council Presidency period.

EUSBSR communications

Several communications matters were discussed in the NC-meeting. Firstly, it was decided that the EUSBSR communication strategy should be updated. The EUSBSR communication project "Let's communicate!" is prepared to lead the work regarding this process.

Secondly, the funding of the EUSBSR communications was discussed: there will be another call in Interreg Baltic Sea Region to support the communications of the EUSBSR. However, it was agreed that the current solution (project funding) lacks long term stability.

Thirdly, "Let's communicate!" project launched a communication tool kit platform to the NCs. The tool kit is a "one-stop-shop" for those communicating the EUSBSR providing material, tools and tips for better communications. During the spring the platform will be open to all key stakeholders of the EUSBSR (NCs, PACs, HACs and Flagships).

Preparations of the 9th Annual Forum

Six months to go until the next EUSBSR Annual Forum in Tallinn, Estonia! The preliminary programme is now published at the Annual Forum section. There will be a call for seminars open during 3-31 January 2018 and it will be published at the EUSBSR website. 

Study on macro-regional strategies

The comprehensive study about EU macro-regional strategies and their links to cohesion policy (contracted by Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy and conducted by a consortium led by COWI company) was discussed in the NC-meeting. It was agreed that even if the EUSBSR Policy Areas are at slightly different phases of development, the Strategy as a whole shows positive progress. The NC-group widely supported the main conclusions and proposals of the report. 

Five new Flagships approved!

The NC-group supported five new EUSBSR Flagships!

  1. RDI2CluB (Rural research, development and innovation milieus in transition towards smart bioeconomy clusters and innovation ecosystems) under Policy Area Bioeconomy;
  2. BONUS BLUEWEBS under Policy Area Bioeconomy;
  3. BSR Digi co-lab: Transitional Digital Collaboration in the Baltic Sea Region (with 2 sub-projects) under Policy Area Innovation;
  4. HAZBREF (Hazardous industrial chemicals in the EID BREFS) under Policy Area Hazards;
  5. INTERCONNECT (Better public transport services for regional and cross-border travels in the South Baltic area) under Policy Area Transport.

The Flagships are already included in the Annex of the EUSBSR Action Plan, where all ongoing and completed Flagships are listed. More about the newly adopted Flagships will soon follow in the EUSBSR blog!

 NC group in Tallinn November 2017

The EUSBSR NC-group and the cooperation partners were photographed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tallinn, Estonia. 

Read the whole NC-group meeting report here.


The Interact booklet “Making the Most of Macro-regional Strategies” intends to take stock of the development of EU macro-regional strategies and their multifaceted aspects. The booklet has been planned, designed and conceived in the spirit of promoting and spreading the macro-regional idea.




A wide range of topics is covered in the publication, such as the involvement of regional parliaments in macro-regional strategies, general aspects of governance, policy integration, cross-sectoral cooperation, as well as monitoring and evaluation of macro-regional strategies. In addition, a specific project example in the Baltic Sea Region illustrates how to overcome challenges in governance and stakeholder engagement.

Furthermore, the concept of a macro-regional strategy is also proposed for the North Sea region in order to enhance regional cooperation and thereby share ideas and experiences more effectively. Moreover, the booklet deals with issues such as participation and effects of inter-organisational networks in the framework of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region, capacity building at both the individual and institutional level, as well as the involvement of non-EU Member States.

Read the study and more information at Interact website.


A comprehensive study on all EU macro-regional strategies and their links to Cohesion Policy has been published!


The study aims first at describing the main features of each macro-region (Baltic, Danube, Adriatic and Ionian, and Alpine) through a range of macroeconomic, competitiveness, integration and governance indicators.

It assesses to what extent the strategies contribute to coordination and synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds and other EU policies and instruments.

The study also takes stock of strategies' main achievements and appraises their socio-economic impact. It also identifies the barriers to overcome and the drivers to use in order to make them more efficient and finally looks at the potential of the macro-regional approach to contribute to the future cohesion policy.

The study and more information are available at InfoRegio's website.