First BSSSC Board Meeting hosted by Kaliningrad Region, Russian Federation
Strong support of the BSSSC from Russian Department of Foreign Affairs, amending a Paper underlining the importance of culture and approved funding for a Baltic Sea Region Youth Camp were among the highlights in the Board Meeting held back to back with the VII Kaliningrad International Forum in Kaliningrad May 21-23.
The BSSSC delegation had three days in Russia, the two first days in Svetlogorsk, participating in the VIII International Forum of the Kaliningrad Partner Regions. At the conference the importance of cross border cooperation was emphasized from both Russian and international actors, such as the Governor of the Kaliningrad region, Anton Alikhanov, Head of the Department of European Cooperation, Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs, A. Kelin, and the EU's Ambassador to Russia, Markus Ederer. The BSSSC Chairman, Roger Ryberg held a keynote speech emphasizing the role of culture in building bridges across borders. He also noted that the political climate on the national level between EU countries and Russia might be colder than normal, but it is warm on the regional level - showing to Kaliningrad's active participation in the BSSSC. There were also presentations of Kaliningrad regions work internationally and internally as well as presentations of several other partner regions work such as Warmian-Masurian region (Poland), Pskov Region (Russia) Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) and the Gomel region (Belarus). Project funding possibilities were also been presented, among them, the BSSSC Secretary General, Ann Irene Sæternes, presented the new European Economic Area (EEA) and Norway grants fund for regional cooperation.
Strong Russian support of BSSSC
At the BSSSC Board Meeting in Kaliningrad there were several Russian representatives. From the Agency for International Affairs and Regional Cooperation of the Kaliningrad region both Head of Agency Alla Ivanova and Senior Executive, Evgeniya Russu were present. Ivanova presented several of the ongoing international projects in the Kaliningrad Region, such as Polish-Russian cooperation programmes funded by the EU and Russia. Andrey Tolmachev, Head of the Administration of the Svetlogorsk municipal district, gave a presentation of the development of Svetlogorsk.
Denis Moskalenko – Head of the subdivision for regional cooperation, Department of All-Europe Cooperation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said that the Russian foreign affairs strongly supports the work of the BSSSC.
- In these difficult times, building interregional cooperation is especially important, as cooperation such as the BSSSC is building understanding from the bottom up, he said.
The BSSSC Board underlined their gratitude to Kaliningrad Region for hosting the Board Meeting and their successful International Forum. The BSSSC Board invited the Russian Foreign Ministry to be represented at the BSSSC Annual Conference in Gdansk September 10-12.
BSSSC Policy Paper on Culture, creative industries and regional identity
Stefan Musiolik, BSSSC Board Member and Head of Unit Baltic & North Sea Affairs State Chancellery of Land Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), presented the draft of the BSSSC Paper on Culture, creative industries and regional identity. The Board agreed to amend the paper.
BSSSC calls for a more comprehensive understanding of culture - relating to cultural, cohesion and innovation policies. The recognition and support of a vivid and attractive cultural life in European regions should have high priority and should be highlighted in all EU-policies. Among others, this should be integrated into the EU’s funding policy after 2020. The paper communicates that culture should be a part of all fields, not only in an area of its own. This is because culture is very important for the creation of a regional identity in the Baltic Sea Region, for growth and jobs, for innovation, for social inclusion and for attaching the hearts of the people to the EU.
- EU policies should not only be addressing the head, but also the heart of the people, said Musiolik.
The paper will be posted in its final form on our website soon.
Baltic Sea Region Youth Camp 2019
The BSSSC alongside Euroregion Baltic, Union of Baltic Cities and Baltic Sea Cultural Center are planning to arrange a Baltic Sea Region Youth Camp for Youths around the Baltic Sea Region (Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden) back to back with the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) Annual Forum in Gdansk 2019. This festival is an initiative for increasing youth participation in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The Youth Camp will be a cultural camp for the youths from all over the BSR in the days leading up the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) Annual Forum 2019 in June 2019. Both the forum and the intended youth camp will be in the Gdansk area, PolandThe BSSSC and our partners applied for funding at the Project Support Facility at the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and were at the end of last week notified that we received a funding of up to 65 000 euros. The BSSSC would like to thank CBSS for this opportunity and we are very much looking forward to arranging the Baltic Sea Region Youth Camp!
The Minutes from the Board Meeting will be posted on our website soon.
25. May 2018