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Strategy for the Baltic Sea

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Strategy for the Baltic Sea

The Commission has devised a European strategy to tackle the deterioration of the Baltic Sea, improve the quality of transport networks and improve the region's attractiveness and prosperity.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 10 June 2009 on the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region [COM(2009) 0248 -Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

In 2009, the Commission adopted a global strategy to take advantage of the Baltic Sea region's economic and environmental potential and to rise to the common challenges which this region must face. The strategy focuses on the eight Member States which border the Baltic Sea (Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Sweden) as well as other bordering countries which are not members of the European Union (Iceland, Belarus Norway and Russia).

These measures were originally divided into four pillars: (i) to create a sustainable environment, (ii) to develop the region's prosperity, (iii) to improve the region's accessibility and attractiveness and (iv) to ensure regional security.

Since 2012, the strategy has focussed on three key objectives:

  • to protect the Baltic Sea;
  • to make the region accessible;
  • to increase its prosperity.

For each of these priorities, specific objectives and guidelines have been established in order to facilitate the implementation of concrete measures.

PROTECTING THE BALTIC SEA

The main environmental measures established relate to combating the proliferation of algae, the issue of overfishing or even the presence of hazardous substances in the sea. The objective is to reach a good ecological status by 2020 and to preserve biodiversity and the Baltic Sea's marine ecosystem.

There are also plans for measures relating to combating illegal discharges in the sea and reducing the number of accidents at sea by 20 % by 2020.

IMPROVING MACROREGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE

The strategy includes opening up some of the most remote areas of the Baltic Sea (in particular to the north of Finland and Sweden). Funding for transport infrastructure is also planned in the context of the interconnection within Europe mechanism and improving Baltic countries' access to the energy markets by 2015.

Since 2013, the strategy has also been part of a framework of macroregional development based upon strategic regional planning and the pooling of resources.

INCREASING THE REGION'S PROSPERITY

The strategy also aims to increase the region's prosperity and attractiveness. The actions taken should, inter alia, contribute to removing obstacles to the domestic market in the Baltic region or encourage sustainable farming and fishing methods.

With regard to innovation, measures have been set out in the context of the Joint Baltic Sea Research and Development Programme (BONUS) which aims to increase researchers' mobility and innovation diffusion.

ENSURING THE COORDINATION OF POLICIES AND FUNDING ACTIVITIES BY 2020

The Baltic strategy encourages the use of the available European and national resources. It is based on closer coordination of policies and funding and clarifies the responsibilities of the actors concerned.

The countries which are part of the strategy may be supported by strategy instruments for the marine environment or by common fishing policy as well as by structures from the Northern Dimension framework of the EU.

Provision is also made for increased cooperation between neighbouring countries, especially Russia.

With regard to funding, coordination between local, regional, national and European operations is planned, especially in the context of the new programming period 2014-20.

RELATED ACTS

Decision No 862/2010/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2010 on the participation of the Union in a Joint Baltic Sea Research and Development Programme (BONUS) undertaken by several Member States [OJ L 256 of 30.9.2010].

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 22 June 2011 on the Implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) [ COM(2011) 0381 final].

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 23 March 2012 on the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region [ COM(2012) 0128 final].

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 27 June 2013 on the added value of macro-regional strategies [ COM(2013) 0468 final].

Last updated: 21.05.2014

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