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Help localise Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at our Annual Conference

September 18, 2017

The BSSSC is cooperating with Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Baltic 2030 unit in their work on the UNs sustainable development goals. We need your input on SDG bottlenecks – come share them at our workshop during the BSSSC 25th Annual Conference

The workshop Baltic 2030: Localizing Sustainable Development Goals is one of four workshops from 1430-1630 on September 21, Day 1 of our Annual Conference in Potsdam, Germany. The workshop aims to inform the participants of the CBSS Baltic 2030 work on the Sustainable Development Goals, through work such as their recently approved Action Plan (Baltic 2030: Realizing the vision) which was endorsed June 20 2017 by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Baltic Sea Region and a representative of the EU.

​Realizing the Vision: The Baltic 2030 Action Plan responds to the mandate, given by the CBSS member states (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Russia) in the Baltic 2030 Declaration of 6 June 2016, to create an action plan of cooperative and synergistic work to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Baltic Sea Region. This plan was made by the Baltic 2030 unit alongside an Expert Group on Sustainable Development (EGSD) which consists of experts from different levels of governance around the Baltic Sea Region. The BSSSC is and has been participating in the group. The approval of the Baltic 2030 Action Plan is an important landmark for the CBSS and BSSSC because it presents a new, common vision of sustainable development for the Baltic Sea Region. It applies the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals to the Baltic Sea macro-regional context and provides a general road map for working together — across all countries, sectors, and stakeholders — to achieve them.

​Now the CBSS wants to focus on going from talk to work and has therefore initiated a project where they want to address the implementation challenges towards the achievement of the SDGs – both on a national and Baltic Sea Region level. They are, amongst other things, creating an open learning platform for sharing knowledge, best practices and raising awareness on SDGs and Baltic 2030. Their new project will be presented during the workshop and as a participant of the Annual Conference you have the ability to give your thoughts on the direction of the road ahead.

​Read the whole action plan here.

Read the Annual Conference programme here.

Registration for 25th BSSSC Annual Conference is now closed

September 10, 2017

We have had a lot of interest regarding our Annual Conference 2017 in Potsdam, Germany, September 20-22. Registration is now unfortunately closed. 

We are very much looking forward to seeing you there!

Read more about the conference and see program and practical information.

Join the BSSSC Youth Event 2017!

August 15, 2017

Are you a youth eager to join discussions on the way forward for the Baltic Sea Region? Join us again (or for the first time) for the BSSSC Youth Event 2017 and the 25th BSSSC Annual Conference!

The BSSSC Youth Event 2017 will take place in Trebnitz and for the BSSSC AC we’ll go to in Potsdam. Both events focus on discussions about cohesion policy, cultural heritage, and Baltic2030 with its main subject to be: Cohesion = Togetherness - People working together across borders in the Baltic Sea Region. The youth event will take place from 18 September 16.30 to 20 September 18:00 in Potsdam, Germany. The 25h Annual BSSSC Conference will be the days after, from September 21 to September 22.

The BSSSC Youth Event 2017 is a chance to gain loads of knowledge, based on interacting and sharing experience is an opportunity to create new ideas and, friendships, partnerships and showing support to development of the Baltic Sea Region.

Apart from that, as always, you’ll meet active and involved youngsters from local and regional youth councils and NGOs of the Baltic Sea Region.

So if you are connected with your local/regional council of the BSSSC member country and interested in the BSR issues contact your regional BSSSC representative or Malgorzata Ludwiczek ( mludwiczek -at- ) and more info will be sent to you directly.

See you there!

Register your idea for the project idea café at the BSSSC Annual Conference

July 16, 2017

The project idea café at the Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation (BSSSC) conference 2017 is an opportunity to present your project idea to potential partners and funding programmes, to discuss ideas as well as to learn about selected funding programmes in the Baltic Sea region. The project idea café will take place on 22 September,  9:00 – 11:00 am. Send in your idea and join the project idea café!

Fill in the project idea form and send it to by 14 September. The project idea forms will be displayed at the conference venue, compiled into a project idea catalogue and sent to all participants before the event. At the café, you will learn about the coming calls and available funding, briefly present your project and then discuss your and other ideas at the tables. Read more at Interreg Baltic Sea Region webpage.

Remember that the registration deadline for the conference is 7 September.

Advocating the voice of the youth at the EUSBSR Annual Forum

June 13, 2017

June 13-14 the BSSSC participated in the EUSBSR (EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region) 8th Annual Forum. At the forum we arranged a seminar about youth inclusion.


The theme of the 8th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR was connectivity. The forum underlined the necessity to intensify contacts throughout the Baltic Sea Region including its neighboring regions to develop a better awareness of each other’s perspectives. Key note speakers were among others Sigmar Gabriel, German Federal Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany, and Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. The BSSSC especially welcomed the latter speaker's emphasis on the need to invest in youth.


During the forum, the BSSSC, Union of the Baltic Cities and Euroregion Baltic - ERB arranged a workshop on youth inclusion called "Nothing about us without us - making it happen". The three organizations presented their work on youth, and representatives from the three respective youth networks were also present to have their say in youth inclusion in the Baltic Sea Region. The interesting discussions between youth, politicians and civil officers that followed illustrated the vast differences of young people's situation in each country. While some felt their voices were being heard, others felt hopeless and wanted to move abroad. It was pointed out that even in hopeless times it will get better and that they must not give up fighting - raising your voice is an important part of democracy.

Roger Ryberg, Chairman of the BSSSC summed up the seminar by saying that "the situation for young people in the Baltic Sea Region today also underlines the extreme importance for organizations such as ours to keep on pushing for youth inclusion and their right to be heard. They are the future, after all."

The BSSSC has two seats in our Board reserved for youth. One of our youth board members, Ms. Kari Lie, participated in the seminar "Connecting the voice of youth for a sustainable future of the Baltic Sea region". At the seminar it was concluded that the sustainable development goals (SDG) of the UN must be better communicated, as many yong people work with areas that are included in the SDGs, but they are not aware of this because the youth are not familiar with the SDGs and what they stand for. Including the SDGs in education is therefore of strong importance, says Ms. Kari Lie. 

Read the whole summary for the seminar.

See more pictures in our gallery.

Youth conference arranged back to back with EUSBSR annual forum

June 12, 2017

Berlin, Germany. Around twenty youths discussed concrete measures on how to involve youth in policy making in the Baltic Sea Region. 

Together with Euroregion Baltic - ERB and Union of the Baltic Cities - UBC we have during the last two days arranged a youth seminar for our respective youth networks. Our skilled youth participants discussed several concrete measures on how to increase youth participation in political processes. The results will be presented at the Annual Forum 2017 of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region later today in our seminar "Nothing about us without us - making it happen!" at 1515.

Read more about the forum and the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region here . See you there! 

Four out of five projects with BSSSC as associated partner approved by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme

June 07, 2017

The Monitoring Committee for the Interreg Baltic Sea Region (BSR) Programme recently approved 39 projects in the 2nd call of the programme on 23 May 2017 in Helsinki. BSSSC is an associated partner in four of these projects - two on smart specialisation (Smart-up BSR and RDI2Club), one on cultural heritage (Baltic RIM) and one on transport (MAMBA). The projects will be up and running early autumn 2017. The BSSSC will support all these projects by discussing and communicating results at meetings, seminars and the BSSSC annual conferences. We will also disseminate the project outputs/results via our communication channels to sub-regions in the Baltic Sea Region. For the MAMBA project we will also co-organize a seminar on rural mobility/accessibility.


The BSSSC looks forward to support the work and to cooperate with the project partners!

BSSSC participated in the 15th South Baltic Regional Parliaments Forum

May 30, 2017

The 15th South Baltic Regional Parliaments Forum took place in Szczecin 28-30 May 2017. Nine counties from Poland, Germany, Russia, Sweden and Lithuania were represented.


The focus of the Conference was European Cultural Roots in the South Baltic Region, stimulating youth entrepreneurship, as well as women’s entrepreneurship for the regional economy. Mr. Roger Ryberg attended as a guest speaker representing the BSSSC and emphasised the importance of regional co-operation especially concerning our culture and our youth. 

- Culture builds bridges across borders and across social and political differences, he stated.

He continued with stressing the importance of the youth.

- They are at the core of social and political change and the key to any region’s future economic succes.

BSSSC would like to thank the West Pomeranian Voivodeship for inviting and being such nice hosts to us. 

Implementing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals?

May 16, 2017

How can the Baltic Sea Region reach the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations? This question is tried answered in the upcoming Baltic 2030 Action Plan developed by the Baltic 2030 unit in Council of the Baltic Sea States.

The Baltic 2030 unit in Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) together with their Expert Group on Sustainable Development has developed the action plan. It presents a new, common vision of sustainable development for the Baltic Sea Region. It applies the UN 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals to a macro-regional context and provides a general roadmap for working together — across all countries, sectors, and stakeholders — to achieve them. The Action Plan is intended to create the framework for spreading recommendations, tools and best practices to support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement in the Baltic Sea Region.

BSSSC is a part of the Expert group and has been a part of the ongoing process since the first meeting November 2016. Last meeting was on May 17 in Reykjavik, Iceland where the group together continued the work on the 16-page long action plan. BSSSC advocated the importance of youth inclusion and for a multi-level governance approach. The BSSSC would like to thank the CBSS for their efforts on creating this important document.


The final plan will be released this summer and will be posted on our website. 

Second Board meeting of 2017 held in Kuressaare, Estonia

May 11, 2017

11-12 of May the BSSSC Board Members, Board Civil and partners met up for the second BSSSC Board meeting of 2017.


At the Board meeting, Helen Sõber from the European Union Secretariat in Estonia presented the Estonian priority areas of their upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union. A discussion followed on their plans as well as a discussion on the recently published White Paper on the future of Europe by the European Commission.

The sharing of best practices and common challenges is an important part of the BSSSC network. During the Board meeting, Board members presented and discussed regional reforms in our respective member countries. In addition, the host region of the BSSSC annual conference in Potsdam, Germany 20-22 September presented the draft program of the conference. The working routines of the BSSSC rapporteurs' work were also discussed during the Board meeting. This will constitute an important part of the implementation of the BSSSC workplan under the Norwegian Chairmanship for the next one and a half years.  

The meeting was arranged in Estonia on the island of Saaremaa in the small city of Kuressaare. The party was transported there by bus and ferry and we were lucky enough to have a guide on both means of transport. Before and after the Board meeting we visited a local brewery and had a guide at the local Kuressaare Castle.

-  Seeing new areas and local communities of the Baltic Sea Region is always inspiring for our work. It truly was a beautiful background for our Board meeting. We send the Estonian hosts our greatest thanks, says BSSSC Chairman Roger Ryberg.


Read the draft minutes here​! 

Increasing prosperity through culture?

April 27, 2017

On April 27, around eighty participants attended a seminar in Oslo about value creation in culture, cultural heritage and creative industries through Baltic Sea Region cooperation.


Thursday April 27 the seminar “Value creation focusing on culture, cultural heritage and creative industries” was held in Oslo as part of the Let's Communicate project. The seminar was organized by Eastern Norway County Network (ENCN) and BSSSC in close cooperation with the Norwegian Arts Council and the Directorate for Cultural Heritage in Norway. The aim of the seminar was to increase Norwegian actors’ knowledge about the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) and the possibilities of cultural cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) with the purpose of job creation and increased prosperity.

Further, the seminar looked at the interrelation between the work in different organizations, networks and platforms as well as financial programs in the BSR. Among others, Peter Schenk, European Commission DG Regio, presented the EUSBSR for Norwegian actors and Justyna Zielkowska from Polish Ministry of Culture presented the aim and focus of PA Culture. Marcus Hagemann from ARS Baltica informed about how his network works to encourage cultural collaboration and invited Norwegian actors to get in contact with them to discuss ideas and potential projects. Ingvild Jacobsen, Arts Council Norway, and Vegard Berggård, Directorate for Cultural Heritage, Norway, presented the funding possibilities that the European Economic Area (EEA) grants provide. Perhaps indicating a more active participation by Norwegian actors in the BSR area in the years to come. The seminar ended with three parallel sessions on culture, cultural heritage and creative industry, with the focus on how European and Baltic Sea cooperation can support jobs and create added value. 

The seminar was arranged within the frame of the “Let’s Communicate!” project financed by Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme. The project aims to maintain and further develop the communications of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The BSSSC/ENCN is helping communicate the EUSBSR by arranging three seminars in collaboration with other Norwegian actors, as well as sharing good EUSBSR stories and project examples through our communication channels.

Join our seminar at the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region Annual Forum 13-14 June

April 23, 2017

Registration to the 8th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is now open. Join our seminar about youth inclusion 15:15 on the 13th!


The Annual forum has a program brimming with key speakers and interesting events for all actors in the Baltic Sea Region. The BSSSC are also participating with our own seminar - again focusing on one our key issues - Youth policy. Along with the Union of Baltic Cities (UBC) and Euroregion Baltic (ERB) we are organizing a seminar called "Nothing about us without us - making it happen". This is a follow-up to our seminar at the last EUSBSR in Stockholm last November called "Nothing about is without us" where youth politicians from the youth networks of ERB, UBC and BSSSC discussed youth inclusion together with important stakeholders in the Baltic Sea Region. Their conclusions from the youth were as following:



  2.  YOUTH NOT TO TREATED AS A SUBJECT – WE WOULD LIKE TO BE TALKED WITH INSTEAD OF TO -We need to see youth as a diverse group, we can´t talk about youth as a single agreeing unit 




For this seminar we want to discuss concrete measures to make sure the statements from above are included in future policy making. 


Be sure to register for the EUSBSR 8th Annual Forum here.

The BSSSC continues active participation in EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR)

April 09, 2017

April 5-6 the BSSSC Secretary General participated in the EUSBSR Spring workshop for national, horizontal area and policy action coordinators.


Since the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region was launched in 2009, it has been an important basis for the actions of the BSSSC and its regions, and BSSSC has since the very beginning participated as a key stakeholder in the planning and implementation of the strategy. Amongst others through the “Let’s Communicate” project that helps communicate the possibilities of the strategy. April 5 and 6 our Secretary General, Ms. Ann Irene Sæternes, participated in a workshop with policy area coordinators, horizontal action coordinators, as well as national coordinators. Representatives from the Directorate-General of Regional and Urban policy from the European Commission were also at the workshop. They discussed areas such as how to initiate, organize and finance projects, how to reach policy impact and how to have better dialogue between the different coordinators. 

Read more about the EUSBSR at their website

BSSSC welcomes Norwegian Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers

March 29, 2017

Norway holds the presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) in 2017. Last Monday, BSSSC Chairman Rogerg Ryberg, met up with the State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Elsbeth Tronstad, to discuss the road ahead for our organizations.


Mr. Ryberg and Mrs. Tronstad discussed Baltic Sea Region cooperation in general, Nordic-Baltic cooperation and cooperation with Russia. Mr. Ryberg also presented the BSSSC priorities for 2017 - 2018.


The State Secretary strongly supports bottom-up cooperation and values the engagement from local and regional actors in the Baltic Sea Region. The programme for the Norwegian Chairmanship of the NCM has many connecting points with the BSSSC Work plan 2017-2018, and the meeting concluded that there is a clear added value of stepping up information exchange and dialog in the coming year.

Read more about the Norwegian Council of Ministers at 

Capacity Building for Strategic Youth Policy and Transnational Cooperation

March 22, 2017

Youth policy is one of the BSSSC's main priorities. This is why we are happy to be an associated partner of the CaSYPoT project - Capacity Building for Strategic Youth Policy and Transnational Cooperation.


The last three days the BSSSC has been participating in a workshop in Elbląg, Poland with other partners and associated partners of the CaSYPoT project. We were there to exchange best practices of youth policy and also give input to the making of a youth survey that will be conducted in Russia, Sweden, Poland and Lithuania. The survey is created by researchers from universities in the Euroregion Baltic area. The survey will collect information about the young people, from the listed cities in Sweden, Poland, Russia and Lithuania through the designed surveys. Academic researchers in the Euroregion Baltic area will then present the results to (local) politicians. 

Read more about the exciting CaSYPoT project at ! 

BSSSC granted observer status in HELCOM

March 06, 2017

During the last Annual Meeting in the Helsinki Commission, BSSSC was granted observer status in HELCOM. This will make it easier for both organizations to coordinate the efforts for a sustainable future for the marine environment in the Baltic Sea.

HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission - Helsinki Commission) is the governing body of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, known as the Helsinki Convention. HELCOM was established about four decades ago to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution through intergovernmental cooperation. 


We are very pleased to be granted observer status in HELCOM, says BSSSC Chairman Roger Ryberg. He explains that the Baltic Sea is especially vulnerable to pollution due to its shallow depth and its geographically enclosed nature.


– Even though there have been made improvements over the last years, among others by the good work of organizations such as HELCOM, there is still a long way to go. This is why sustainable development is one of the BSSSCs main priorities for our Chairmanship. The EU, the UN as well as national governments have created excellent plans and strategies, such as the EUSBSR and the Baltic 2030 (UN Development Goals). However, these changes will not happen only by strategies from the top, but by the cities and we, as regions, taking the roles as doers and implementers.


HELCOM's vision for the future is a healthy Baltic Sea environment with diverse biological components functioning in balance, resulting in a good ecological status and supporting a wide range of sustainable economic and social activities. Mr. Ryberg emphasizes the role of HELCOM and the possibilities it might give both parties.


– The BSSSC sees HELCOM as one of the most important actors in working for a sustainable future for the Baltic Sea environment. The observer status will make it easier to coordinate the two organizations' efforts for a green and sustainable environment in the Baltic Sea Region, says Ryberg.


The summary from the meeting goes as follows: “6.5. The Meeting considered the applications by Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE) and by Baltic Sea States Sub-Regional Cooperation (BSSSC) for observer status in HELCOM (document 6-1) and granted observer status to Baltic Sea States Sub-Regional Cooperation." 

Read more about HELCOM on their website

BSSSC helps communicate the EUSBSR strategy

February 28, 2017

February 29 - March 1, the Secretary General and the Executive Secretary of the BSSSC participated in a Partner Meeting for the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) project “Let’s Communicate”. The project aims to maintain and further develop the communications of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The BSSSC will help communicate the important EUSBSR strategy by sharing good EUSBSR stories and project examples through our communication channels. 

Read more about the project at the EUSBSR website

EU Cohesion Policy post 2020

February 14, 2017

The BSSSC Board has come to a common BSSSC Statement regarding the EUs Cohesion Policy post 2020. The paper was written by our Working Group on Cohesion Policy and was adopted by the Board during our last Board Meeting February 9. 

BSSSC is convinced that cohesion policy’s prominent role among EU policies and also within the future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) must be maintained beyond 2020. In an increasingly volatile political environment the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) provide stability, contribute to reduce development disparities between European regions, and strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion in Europe. 

Cohesion policy is also an effective investment policy and contributes strongly to growth and jobs in the EU. The policy has benefitted the citizens of all EU Member States and supported them during difficult economic times. It is close to the citizens and has the potential to substantially contribute to overcoming the crisis of European integration and to counter anti-European tendencies in our societies.

Against this background, BSSSC is concerned about tendencies in the EU Commission to prefer directly managed instruments to instruments of shared management: Pressing challenges at European and global level can only be successfully tackled by European policies and initiatives if actors on the local and regional level are truly involved in their implementation.


Continue reading our statement on our Cohesion Policy page

Save the date! Time and place for the BSSSC Annual Conference decided

February 09, 2017

The 2017 BSSSC Annual Conference will be in the Brandenburg region (Potsdam), Germany from September 20 - 22.


Last year, the BSSSC Annual Conference was in the Hämeenlinna region in Finland. In the olympic spirit, the flag was handed over from Mr. Kiemunki from Hämeenlinna to Mr. Kneifel-Haverkamp from our new host region: Brandenburg, Germany. Good luck!


When ready, the topic, program, and other practical information will be distributed on our website, newsletter and all social media channels. Meanwhile, make note of the dates September 20 - 22.

We are looking forward to seeing you all at the conference! 

24th BSSSC Annual Conference 14.-16.9.2016

June 01, 2016

The 24th BSSSC Annual Conference will take place from 14th to 16th September 2016 in Hämeenlinna, Finland.

Bridge Over Troubled Water - Value of Regional Co-operation in Challenging Times

This year the conference is dedicated to the European challenges we are facing today, but also overcoming them together, via co-operation within our common Baltic Sea Region.

The Annual Conference gathers around 150 participants from political and administrative level (local, regional, national and EU level) as well as representatives from academia, organizations, NGOs and the private sector from the 11 countries taking part in the Baltic Sea co-operation. The conference will cover traditional BSSSC policy areas such as transport, culture and youth from innovative perspectives. Traditionally speakers include representatives of the European Commission, Committee of the Regions, CBSS, CPMR, BDF and many more.

Conference registration by 02.09.2016

Link to the registration: 24th BSSSC Annual Conference – REGISTRATION FORM

Link to the event: 24th BSSSC Annual Conference 14.-16.9.2016 in Hämeenlinna

First BSSSC Board Meeting by the Norwegian Chairmanship

February 08, 2017

Visits to Kalmar and Brussel as well as 2017s first BSSSC Board Meeting. A busy week comes to an end for the BSSSC.

The BSSSC has had an exciting week. We started in Kalmar, Sweden, to present our work on youth policy in the Euro Region Baltic Annual Forum. There we exchanged best practices concerning youth policy with policy makers from both local, regional and national level.

​The eighth and ninth of February the Norwegian Chairmanship had its first Board Meeting for BSSSC. Regions from eight countries were present as well as Euroregion Baltic (ERB), Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Baltic Sea Commission of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR).

The Board Meeting was a huge success, with highlights being presentations and interesting discussions with Mr. Nicola De Michelis, head of Cabinet of the Commissionaire for Regional Policy and Mr. Kim Kuivalainen, Policy Officer from the European External Action Service. Also, the Board approved the position paper on cohesion policy created by our working group. This will be a useful tool to advocate the interests of the regions of BSSSC in the EUs work on Cohesion Policy.

A summary of the meeting will be posted shortly on our webpage. 

BSSSC and CoR continue close cooperation

February 07, 2017

In connection with the first Board Meeting of the BSSSC under Norwegian Presidency in Brussels on 9 February, the new BSSSC Chairman, Roger Ryberg, met with the President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Markku Markkula.


Ryberg presented the priorities of the Norwegian Chairmanship and especially emphasized our focus on youth involvement and youth participation in democratic processes. Markkula showed great interest in this and wanted further cooperation with BSSSC in this area as CoR has ambitions to work more towards youth participation.


Ryberg also addressed the desire to renew the cooperation agreement between the CoR and BSSSC. This work will be initiated during the spring and youth work will be added as a new area.


Ryberg also invited Markkula to BSSSCs annual conference in Potsdam, Germany on 21 - 22 September 2017.

Updated Conference Programme from Hämeen Liitto

August 29, 2016

The Conference programme for the annual BSSSC Conference held in Hämeenlinna 14-16 September is at the moment updating daily. The latest conference program can be seen from the web page of the Regional Council of Häme.


Hämeen liitto BSSSC Conference page

Please remember to register by 2nd September. Registration can be done from here.

BSSSC organising a seminar at the EUSBSR Forum

October 31, 2016

In co-operation with Union of Baltic Cities and EuroRegion Baltic BSSSC organises a seminar in Stockholm on 8th November.

Seminar is part of the 7th Strategy Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

Seminar is titled "Nothing about us withous us" - A youth perspective on the future of the Baltic Sea Region. 

Seminar will focus on involving young people in the discussion as well as politicians from local and regional level in the Baltic Sea Region.


More information on the seminar here.

BSSSC Youth Seminar in the Annual EUSBSR forum

November 10, 2016

BSSSC organised in co-operation with Union of Baltic Cities and Euroregion Baltic a workshop on youth affairs called "Nothing on Us without Us" on November 8th at the 7th annual EUSBSR Forum in Stockholm.

Statements for EUBSR from the workshop ”Nothing about us – without us!”


We, the youth of the BSR, want for the region towards 2030:

  • Real inclusion of the youth – whatever level, whether it be local, regional, national or macroregional - whatever kind of politics is being made. The youth of the BSR have real opinions and want to share their ideas and be part of the discussion

  • Youth not to treated as a subject – we would like to be talked with instead of to (we need to see youth as a diverse group, we can´t talk about youth as a single agreeing unit)

  • Debating lowering the voting age at local, regional and national level

  • Politics made understandable to all citizens – why have 1000 pages when you only need one

ENCN will take over the Chairmanship and Secretariat in 2017

June 13, 2016

The Eastern Norway County Network will take over the Chairmanship and Secretariat from 1.1.2017. We are pleased to announce that Mr. Ryberg will be The Chair.


More information will be released later.

24th BSSSC Annual Conference has been opened

September 14, 2016

This morning on 15th September BSSSC Chairman Ossi Savolainen officially opened the 24th BSSSC Annual Conference in Hämeenlinna.

Already yesterday the BSSSC Youth Event took place on the campus of HAMK and the BSSSC Board also had its board meeting.


Today the Annual Conference will hear addresses and comments from representatives from Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, Regional Council of Häme, European Committee of Regions, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Council of Europe, Land Schleswig-Holstein, Council of the Baltic Sea States and European Commission.


Please follow the event in social media with #bsssc2016

BSSSC Conference Programme Updated

August 17, 2016

24th annual BSSSC Conference will be held in Hämeenlinna from 14th to 16th September.


Updated programme can be found from here.

Please remember to register by September 2nd.

This year the conference is dedicated to the European challenges we are facing today, but also overcoming them together, via co-operation within our common Baltic Sea Region.

The Annual Conference gathers around 150 participants from political and administrative level (local, regional, national and EU level) as well as representatives from academia, organizations, NGOs and the private sector from the 11 countries taking part in the Baltic Sea co-operation. The conference will cover traditional BSSSC policy areas such as transport, culture and youth.

Updated conference programme

Conference registration by 02.09.2016 from here

The event page

BSSC Youth Event

Conference resolution available, chairmanship moved ceremoniously to the ENCN

September 27, 2016

The conference resolution of the 24th BSSSC Annual Conference is available on the BSSSC's website. In the conference chairmanship was ceremoniously transfered from the outgoing Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council to the incoming chairmanship of Eastern Norway County Network.

24th BSSSC Annual Conference was succesfully organised by the Regional Council of Häme in Hämeenlinna, Finland between 14-16 September. The title of the conference was "Bridge Over Troubled Waters - Value of Regional Co-operation in Challenging Times" and many speeches and comments regarding this theme from many organisations around the Baltic Sea and Europe were given. The main message from the conference  was that in order to survive challenging times regions should deepen their co-operation even more.


In the conference ØstlandsSamarbeidet (Eastern Norway County Network) received the official BSSSC bell. Along with the bell the chairmanship moved to Eastern Norway County Network, which will officially start its chairmanship in January 2017. Annual Conference closed with the words of the incoming chairman Mr Roger Ryberg: "When we meet, we don't fight."

We would like to thank the organizer Regional Council of Häme, all the speakers and participants. We’ll see you in the Annual Conference next year!

BSSSC Conference this week in Hämeenlinna

September 11, 2016

24th annual BSSSC Conference takes place in Hämeenlinna this week starting on Wednesday. This year Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council will hand over the chairmanship to Eastern Norway County Network after four years in charge. 

Workshops will handle a wide range of topics including bio-economy, culture and blue growth.

We are already eagerly waiting for the Conference!


All you need to know about the conference.

Updated programme.

23rd BSSSC Annual Conference Youth Working Group Meeting in Visby 22-25/09/2015

December 10, 2015

During 23rd BSSSC Annual Conference, the working group on youth policy had again a great chance to get together and meet in Visby for 4 days.

This year young participants from Norway, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Sweden together with national coordinators shone a light to the subject of digital evolution on the ground of education, development and impact on youth. The first days of workshops started with inspiring presentation by Mr Adam Hayes from Uppsala University Campus in Gotland who is a game designer. The practical workshops that followed the presentation focused on film making & editing.

Read the full story here.

BSSSC Annual Conference Digital Agenda - New Chances and Challenges for the Regions of the Baltic Sea

September 20, 2015

You can find the final conference programme here.

Conference resolution is available here.

Remember our social media:




Hashtag: #BSSSC2015

Annual Conference 2015 in Visby

June 30, 2015

Dear Friends of the Baltic Sea,

after the first half of the year, beautiful, sunny summer is here. Summer holiday is a good time to relax and fill with energy, before interesting autumn and its challenges and programmes.

For us, one of the main focus in our work is a cooperation, which we find very important to reach our targets.

Therefore I would like to invite you to one of the most important subregional events in the Baltic Sea Region! The 23rd BSSSC Annual Conference “Digital Agenda – New Chances and Challenges for the Regions of the Baltic Sea” will take place at the Wisby Strand Congress & Event Center, Visby, Sweden, from 23rd to 25th of September 2015.

The Annual Conference gathers around 150 participants from political and administrative level (local, regional, national and EU level) as well as representatives from academia, organizations, NGOs and the private sector from the 11 countries taking part in the Baltic Sea co-operation. The conference will cover traditional BSSSC policy areas such as transport, culture and youth from innovative perspectives. Speakers include representatives of the Committee of the Regions, CBSS, CPMR, BDF and many more.

Part of the conference will be “Interreg – turning ideas into projects” session. In the 25th anniversary year of the Interreg cooperation, the Central Baltic, South Baltic and Baltic Sea Region Interreg Programmes join forces in presenting and discussing new funding opportunities for territorial cooperation. The aim of the session is to build a dialogue between the participants and the programmes allowing for sharing, learning and encouraging the BSSSC regions to make more use of the Interreg opportunities. To this end, benefits and challenges of cooperation projects for regional authorities will be discussed and practical hints for project applications will be provided. 

Please find the draft programme with annex (changes possible) here and practical information here. The conference will be paperless regarding to the digital theme, therefore the final programme will be available online only in our webpage before the conference.

I wish you very nice summer and see you in beautiful Visby in September!   


With best regards,

Ossi Savolainen

BSSSC Chairman


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Sonera enables digital business

April 09, 2015

Digitalization affects business in all companies – not only in the game industry or growth companies seeking to become global at quick pace but also in local and central government and in companies providing transport and welfare services. Sonera’s role in the digitalization is to be a strong partner for companies turning digital.

The digitalization is a topical and business-critical phenomenon that no company can ignore. Basically, it concerns communications and data traffic between people, things and organizations.

"Today, many business-critical concepts are technological in nature and have to do with data communications networks. Human interaction has also changed: people are more and more accustomed to transact and interact digitally. Encounters take place increasingly often in the network – be it transactions, business or personal relations. The businesses must take this into account,” says Petri Niittymäki, head of Sonera’s enterprise business.

Digitalization brings flexibility into everyday life

The digitalization manifests itself in different ways: not only does it help us enable new business but it also simplifies everyday life. In our neighbouring Estonia, for example, the digitalization has already reached the point where people can vote online through remote access and apply for an electronic identity. 

A fresh example of the digitalization in Finland is a video-assisted customer service and online chat implemented by Sonera and adopted by the early childhood education service of the City of Turku in February. Thanks to these new services, people in Turku can now attend to matters related to day care or early teaching while sitting at home.


Sonera helps companies heading for new business

Sonera’s ambition is to be a strong partner for companies turning digital. ”We have strong expertise in the automation of data streams between different organizations and in the networking of things by the use of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology.We help our customers to understand the significance of digitalization to their business and to take steps towards digital business in a controlled manner. At the same time we offer our customers the basic infrastructure services – such as data network connections – that are essential to business,” says Niittymäki. 

Collaboration is powerful, and so Sonera is building up its digitalization expertise together with innovative partners. One product produced through partnership is Matkalainen, a smart traffic application helping drivers on the road, which is a product of collaboration between Futurice, Sonera and consumers. We will launch the application in spring 2015. 

Mira Kettunen
Stella Kallionpää

TeliaSonera AB

Should We Create a Network of Innovation Hubs throughout the Baltic Sea Macro-Region

April 09, 2015

“Digitalization is the key driver of change in the global economy: the digital industry is at the cutting edge and offers great potential. The local and regional levels need to take the lead: bottom-up experimenting, rapid prototyping, widening participation and increasing focus on joint co-creation cultures.”

This was my message in addressing the Latvian EU Presidency as the newly elected President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) a few weeks ago. And the Prime Minister of Latvia Laimdota Straujuma responded: “ Through the next stage of the eGovernment Action Plan, we want to address the use of open process and promotion of digital skills for all. To face economic, social and global challenges, we must become digital by default, that is, to include digital aspects and solutions in all policy areas and initiatives where possible.”

These statements were clearly in my mind when responding to the questions of the Latvian media in our CoR Bureau meeting in Riga in mid March. One of the key questions was: “How to prevent brain drain which refers to the emigration of intelligent well-educated professionals? What would be the best mechanisms to solve this problem?”

In my response, I painted first the bigger picture defined in the book “Orchestrating the Regional Innovation Ecosystems – Espoo Innovation Garden” and continued with a few key messages:

  • The success factor in regional innovation strategies is effectiveness in bridging the gap between existing global research knowledge and actual regional practice.

  • Orchestrating innovation ecosystems is about creating synergy between many activities and many actor groups, both research and society: con- ducting the research, having access to the results, understanding the implications, and ultimately putting the research into practice.

Brain drain can be stopped only by creating favourable conditions for local innovation hubs based on human capital which are effectively networked on a global scale. Most often these hubs are strongly affiliated with universities. Investments in multidisciplinary innovation policy and university-industry collaboration are a must.

I concluded that the Baltic region can take a pioneering role in Europe. We can provide prerequisites for a network of innovation hubs that promotes the creation of digital applications and boosts new jobs. 

These themes, among other current trends, will constitute the central topics in an EU Open Innovation 2.0 conference in Espoo in 7-9 June 2015. The conference is not an isolated event but rather a part of a vaster flow of processes and measures. Why would we not benefit from the networking opportunities available? Also regional decision making can expedite the required development measures, e.g. by means of the Baltic Sea INTERREG program. Let us jointly review these opportunities in more detail. One option to move to concrete measures is conferences – let us meet in early June in Riga in the WIRE, the following week in Espoo in the Open Innovation 2.0 conference, and a week after that in the Digital Agenda Assembly in Riga. 

The book about orchestrating ecosystems will later in April be available on the web pages of the Open Innovation 2.0 conference:

Markku Markkula

President of the EU Committee of the Regions


CoR Bureau met in Riga on the 18 March. CoR President Markku Markkula (on the left) together with Andris Jaunsleinis, Chairman of the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments. Markku Markkula is also a long standing member of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council.

Dear Friends of the Baltic Sea

April 09, 2015

While writing these words, it is snowing outside. As we say in Finland “spring cometh swinging”, I think we all around the Baltic Sea are used to capricious spring before the summer comes. However, we have our eyes already in a next autumn and BSSSC Annual Conference. This year Annual Conference will be organized in Visby, Gotland, 23-25 of September and the main theme of the conference will be “Digital Agenda”.

Digitalization is coming, if we wanted it or not. We have to be prepared for it, even if we don’t know yet, what it brings to our lives. Digital Agenda is also one of the seven flagship initiatives of Europe 2020 Strategy. Europe 2020 Strategy identifies five headline targets, which the European Union should take to boost growth and employment and these in turn are broken down into the seven flagship initiatives. A Digital Agenda for Europe includes to speed up the roll-out of high-speed internet and reap the benefits of a digital single market for households and firms.

But what does digitalization mean? Shortly it means dismantling information for bits, which enables storage, organize and manipulate the information. This can be combined with different fields, mobile technology, household machines or basically anything. But of course, digitalization is much more, than that.

We can’t avoid digitalization, but it also has impacts. One of the biggest fear might be, that we can’t know yet, what it brings to our everyday lives. And if we don’t know that, can we be well prepared for it? Digitalization also formats our work life. It makes the processes different, which require new kind of skills and new kind of leadership. One general fear is also, that we will lose our workplaces – but from the other hand, digitalization also creates new kind of jobs. Digitalization enables that all information is available all the time, but how about the security? What if our computers starts to think themselves?

This newsletter is dedicated to Digital Agenda, concentrating for the concrete examples in Helsinki-Uusimaa Region. Mr. Markku Markkula, the new President of the EU Committee of Regions tries to find an answer to the question, if we should create a network of innovation hubs throughout the Baltic Sea Marco-Region. He also cordially invites you to events in Latvia and Finland, where you can meet with the digitalization theme, while getting ready to the BSSSC Annual Conference. Ms. Mira Kettunen and Ms. Stella Kallionpää from TeliaSonera writes about multinational company’s point of view about digitalization. The third article is about Smart specialization. Smart Specialisation strategy is also called 'RIS3', which is an abbreviation of 'Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation'. It will be used in EU cooperation for creating international partnerships and directing EU finances to the region. Devising a strategy was the pre-condition for permission to use the resources of the EU structural funds during this new period.

I hope you find these articles interesting and useful. Now, after Easter, when the weather is already better, I wish you sunny spring!

Ossi Savolainen
BSSSC Chairman

Smart Specialisation Strategy in Helsinki-Uusimaa Region

April 08, 2015

In order to reach the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy (smart, sustainable and inclusive growth), the EU expects every region to create a study based on the regional development perspective and to formulate a Smart Specialisation Strategy.

It is also 'RIS3', which is an abbreviation of 'Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation'. This is a continuous process with the goal of strengthening the region's economy. According to the instructions, the process mainly consists of the following interwoven parts:

  • Analysing the future of the region, creating different scenarios

  • Shared commitment by the region's various actors

  • Utilizing the best information available globally

  • Direct connections to the Europe 2020 strategy and the promotion of European partnership activities

  • Systemic co-operation policy and operational programs

  • Mobilisation of the actors for implementation and effective feedback mechanisms

The main focus of the implementation of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region's RIS3 strategy is on improving our strengths, effectively combining our skills and quickly creating applications for the discovered solutions. We should utilize the international networks of the actors in the region. Let's use the information that is available and work in synergy. Digitalisation, new technology and expertise support the growth and successful development of all the spearhead industries.

The goal of the Smart Specialisation strategy is to promote economic growth and employment by strengthening the region's research and innovation activities. This will be done by focusing on the region's success factors and the development of structures and methods that will improve the effectiveness of innovation activities. Carrying out the RIS3 strategy is a process that continues throughout the strategy period. The emphasis is on the active participation of innovators, continuous development of spearhead industries and better utilization of policies and financial instruments.

In practice, in Helsinki-Uusimaa the RIS3 strategy will be implemented through five main priorities and related priority portfolios. The priorities are multi-disciplinary thematic entities with strong innovation and value creation potential. These will be expanded on and developed throughout the RIS3 period.


Universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutes are key actors. Co-operation, especially with companies and municipalities, is vital.


Synergetic co-operation between the different actors is the key to the RIS3 strategy. For the priority portfolios, general priorities and an operating method aiming at increased impact will be defined and then later applied to projects. Each priority will be implemented in the form of one or more portfolios that contain several projects linked to each other.  The projects are formed by combining the normal activities of the various actors or as new projects specifically created for this purpose. Mutual synergy in the operations is a crucial parameter - together the projects carry out RIS3 objectives while also supporting each other. Each project has its management, but at the same time they are all orchestrated using synergistic cooperation methods.

Urban Cleantech - The Cleantech metropolis platform

This priority focuses on combining the planned and existing development and pilot projects located in Helsinki-Uusimaa and fitting the Urban Cleantech theme into an entity that will produce a viable and compatible model for solving environmental challenges in cities. The goal is to make the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region the leading European platform for the development of Cleantech solutions, including the testing, development and commercialization of environmental technologies, energy solutions, biomass utilization, key infrastructure and service models. 
The framework defines Cleantech loosely, so that it includes e.g. the energy efficiency of technologies, processes and services, solutions relating to raw materials, emission reduction carbon footprint reduction.


Human Health Tech - Human-centred health and well-being solutions

The priority is focused on Finnish medicine, biotechnology and health care technology and innovative care process expertise combinations. Co-development processes support a user-oriented perspective, where the well-being technologies are seen as a part of human-oriented health care and welfare services and processes. 
The aim is to bring together clinical medicine and nursing science expertise, the entire health care sector's modern technology solutions (e.g. software, sensors, robotics, databases, automation), multi-talent team operating models, seamless care chains as well as nursing and care environment process know-how. At the same time, new solutions will be sought for preventive health care and the active promotion of well-being. In the development of information services, attention should be paid to the accessibility and plain language of the services from the perspective of older people and people with disabilities.


Welfare City - Everyday wellbeing in the city

This priority combines the development of the urban metropolitan area and service solutions enabled by new technologies. The project complexes are used to design and implement new, value-creating solutions for functional everyday urban life. 

Many city development projects that are about to be implemented deal with the development and implementation of systems linked to cities and urban environments and see the city as an ecosystem and operating platform of different systems.  These can include e.g. innovation, information, service and traffic systems, which combine technological, organizational and human-centred processes into complementary entities and make the citizens' lives simpler, more efficient and livelier. Cities can participate in the creation of these solutions themselves or as a part of the service network or act as a platform for the suppliers and implementers of the various service solutions. The metropolitan area's large development projects offer an opportunity to both utilize new technologies and create forerunner markets.

Digitalising Industry - The digital renewal of industries

This priority supports industry renewal by utilizing the opportunities provided by digitalization. The key development areas are the industrial internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), the data produced by production processes and installed equipment and the analysis and utilization of this data in order to optimize processes and increase the service business.

The goal is to recognize and make use of the opportunities offered by information and communication technologies and to improve the industry's competitiveness in the internet economy. Digital technology is widely seen as an integral part of all evolving business activities, a company's processes and social services, renewal-enabling tools and value-added solutions.

Smart Citizen - Citizens of the internet era.

The strength of innovation in Helsinki-Uusimaa springs from a user-oriented, open, real-life based operating model that supports modern-day digital service systems and projects. 

The utilization of Big Data and linked open data is relevant for nearly every industry. As data collection and analysis methods develop, operations and decision-making will change. The utilization of information will become increasingly important. The use and application of large data sets requires comprehensive design and taking different perspectives into account. The goal is extensive and advanced use of data sets in a way that promotes economic growth and open society.

The priority framework supports regional, national and international projects that aim to develop data and customer oriented service systems or to develop public administration e.g. in the areas of transport, infrastructure, consumer data, environmental data, learning and research, as well as decision-making areas.

Implementing the strategy

In order to implement the strategy, three complementary development projects are suggested:

  1. The development of an innovation ecosystem based on openness and facilitated co-operation from a regional point of view. For this purpose, the strategy describes, on a general level, the RIS3 operating model and especially the required innovation platforms and new innovation culture.

  2. Supporting business activities that aim at sustainability and growth and developing business services from a regional point of view. Here, the strategy refers to the metropolitan area's business service development model, created in 2013, and other services.

  3. Practical implementation of the aforementioned themes and operation models in the five RIS3 priorities. The strategy presents a suggestion on the priority themes that relate to the region's strengths and growth opportunities and make it possible to utilize RIS3 funding and collaboration in the region's research and innovation activities.


Implementing the strategy is currently in the beginning and the works has been started by building cooperation networks for different actors. More information can be found here.

Message from the BSSSC Chairman

December 17, 2014

Helsinki-Uusimaa Region’s Chairmanship will continue until the end of 2015, having Mr. Ossi Savolainen as a Chairman. Mr. Janne Tamminen will start as a leader of Helsinki EU Office in Brussels in the beginning of the new year and continue his work with the BSSSC as Brussels Antenna. Mr. Jaakko Mikkola as a Director for International Affairs will have a main coordinating role for Brussels office and also BSSSC Secretariat’s work. The new Secretary General for the BSSSC will be Ms. Heli Halla-aho.

Board will have its next meeting 5-6 February 2015 in Forssa, Finland.

The 23rd Annual Conference will be held in Visby, Gotland, Sweden, on 23-25 September 2015.

Season´s Greetings!

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