Last Board Meeting under the Norwegian Chairmanship
The BSSSC Board met in Brussels 2-3 December for a thematic seminar and Board Meeting. The Board meeting was the last meeting hosted by the Norwegian Chairmanship – and Chairman Roger Ryberg handed over the BSSSC gavel to the new Chairman Mieczylaw Struk.
The two day meet-up started at the Helsinki EU Office where the Board had highly topical discussions on fresh opportunities provided by the next multiannual financial framework (2021-2027) and by the strategic priorities of the next Commission (2019-2024) for the Baltic Sea Region. Rainer Steffens from European Committee of the Regions was invited to present RegHub. RegHub have gathered regions all over Europe to analyse and give advice on how European policies could be better designed and implemented. Katarina Dahlman from the Delegation of Finland to the EU presented the signals from the new EU Commission on climate and sustainability issues. Among others update on new green deal and the circular economy action plan.
Oslo Region European Office / Osloregionens Europakontor hosted the Board Meeting on December 2. The Board discussed the reform of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, amended the BSSSC Strategy 2030, and had discussion on the future of interreg funds, the BSSSC Chairmanship report and next year's Annual Conference. In addition, there was a very interesting presentation and discussion regarding the Northern Dimension with Policy Officer Aaretti Siitonen from European External Action Service - EEAS . Mr. Siitonen gave an update on the Northern Dimension policy. He could inform that the EU-Russia relation dramatically changed in 2014 due to Russian annexation of Crimea. He said that relations are not likely to be restored to pre-2014 situation, but he emphasised, however, the need to have a good relationship with Russia. He underlined that the principle of "selected engagement" and people to people (P2P) contact is important in this regard. The Board Members shared some experiences with how they cooperate with Russian regions and agreed with Mr. Siitonen that the level of cooperation has decreased. There was consensus that keeping contacts and trying to create more collaboration is important.
As Pomorskie Region, Poland, is taking over the Chairmanship they have made a work plan for 2020-2021. Krystyna Wroblewska, new General Secretary of BSSSC, presented the new work plan, much based on the work plan from the Norwegian Chairmanship, with some admendments. She invited the Board to provide input and comment by end of January 2020, and that the new work plan should be adopted at the Board meeting in Gdansk in February. She said that they commit to maintain BSSSC visibility, involvement in EUSBSR and to develop cooperation with Committee of the Regions. They will take youth work further and integrate the SDGs in our work. Furthermore, she added that they would like to concentrate more on democracy. They will use Northern Dimension as a framework – also in the context of the AC in Kaliningrad and in the cooperation with other Russian regions. Finally, she said that they will exploit the Submariner network in support on work with blue growth.
The Norwegian BSSSC Secretariat would like to thank Helsinki Eu Office and Oslo Region European Office / Osloregionens Europakontor for hosting the meetings. This was the last Board Meeting hosted by the Norwegian Chairmanship of the BSSSC. Starting 2020 the BSSSC will be chaired by Pomorskie Voivodeship. With this, the current Chairman, Mr. Roger Ryberg, handed the BSSSC gavel over to the new Chairman Mieczylaw Struk. The Norwegian Chair and his Secretariat want to thank BSSSC for giving us the opportunity to Chair the organisation for the last three years. We now wish all the best of luck to the Pomorskie Voivodeship!
10 December 2019
The new (Mieczylaw Struk, left) and the former (Roger Ryberg, right) Chairman of the BSSSC