Wednesday, 06 February 2019 11:08

What does EU’s big year 2019 mean for the EUSBSR?

Written by  Let's communicate!

The year 2019 is a big year for the EU in many ways: the EU elections will take place in May, and the Union needs to also negotiate for post 2020 and the update of the multiannual financial framework. As EUSBSR is an EU Strategy, all these are relevant for those working with macro-regions, and not least because of the updating process of EUSBSR Action Plan taking place during 2019.


The conference Future of Europe, organized on 31 January 2019 in Lahti, Finland, was faithful to its title, and provided fruitful discussion about the state of Europe and how the way forward looks like. The overall atmosphere about Europe's future is positive: even though there are many challenges, such as financial crisis, immigration and climate change, there is also lots of potential for the EU to become a global leader. Now, in the current global situation when there is a void to be filled, the European Union has its momentum to take the role of an active leader driven by its core values.


All eyes on the Arctic?

From the point of view of the Baltic Sea region, an important remark is the direction of the global focus. Many countries are looking to the arctic and the arctic cooperation is becoming more and more important. However, compared to the cooperation in the Baltic Sea, it lacks similar platforms and processes. EUSBSR could, once again, be an example of organizing cooperation, and these two regions could find more synergies, too. At the moment, a proper Strategy for the Arctic does not seem realistic.


The role of regions in EUSBSR

When talking about money, how could the changes in financing programmes impact the EUSBSR? One concern is that, in the future, the locus of financing may change from regional level to Brussels, and the distance to the region could lead to a lack of interest. Thus, regions have a strong incentive to be more visible in the EUSBSR and have their voice heard. At the moment, there are no direct channels for regions to influence, but the updating of Action Plan offers one opportunity.



The aim of the "Future of Europe" conference was to investigate the role of regions in the Future of Europe, in the revision of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the negotiations in the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework, from various angles such as subsidiarity, multilevel governance and macroregional strategies. It was organised by Region of Päijät-Häme in cooperation with Oulu Region, CPMR Baltic Sea Commission, and Representation of the European Commission in Finland.

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