The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the “Let’s Communicate!” project (Eastern Norway County Network) organised a seminar titled What does the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) mean for Norway and how can we make use of this platform in connection with our presidencies in the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM)?

The purpose of the seminar was twofold: first, to increase the knowledge about the Baltic Sea cooperation and the opportunities for Norwegian national actors to take part in and benefit from it, and second, to facilitate dialogue on how platforms and programmes can be utilised to promote Norwegian interests in the Baltic Sea Region.

Among the speakers were representatives of the EU Commission, the EUSBSR and its Policy Areas, the CBSS, the Norwegian and Russian Ministries of Foreign Affairs, and the Eastern Norway County Network.

State Secretary Audun Halvorsen from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened the seminar by emphasising the important role collaboration with EU and the Baltic Sea Region countries plays for Norway. Both Halvorsen and Deputy Director General Bernd Hemingway from the CBSS Secretariat highlighted the importance of finding synergies between the different institutions enabling the cooperation.

Similarly, Igor Kapyrin from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed the importance of finding synergies between the strategies of international institutions and the strategic documents of the Russian Federation, as these documents guide the Russian participation in the Baltic Sea Region cooperation.

Representing the EU and EUSBSR perspectives, Blagovestka Riiser from the EU Commission's Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy and the chair of the EUSBSR National Coordinators Group Robertas Bruzilas both highlighted the significant role Norway plays for the Baltic Sea Region cooperation, as well as the new opportunities and possibilities the revised EUSBSR Action Plan provides for deepening this cooperation.

The new EUSBSR Action Plan states that cooperation with neighbouring non-EU countries is to be mainstreamed into all Policy Areas. Examples of possibilities for furthering cooperation with Norwegian actors were presented in the seminar by representatives of Policy Areas ‘Ship’, ‘Bioeconomy’, and ‘Nutri’.