For us, the organizers of the Strategy Forum in Stockholm, the Forum has left us with a content but empty feeling. Planning and working with something of this size has taken its toll.
When we started planning more than a year ago, we envisaged an inspiring Forum, placing politics and policy issues into focus. We wanted participants to be active and involved and thus we chose to have an open call to apply for organizing seminars and workshops based on a set of criterions. This resulted in a broad and inspiring ”smörgåsbord” of programme activities. The common future of the Baltic Sea Region with a 2030 perspective served as a common theme throughout the programme. We aimed to initiate a discussion at the Strategy Forum on actions and collaborations needed today in order to be better prepared for the future.
We did not anticipate the worst snow chaos in 110 years which took us all by surprise, effectively forming “the Snow Forum”, as someone called it. Thankfully, the event could be carried out without any major delays although it caused many participants trouble travelling.
We are very pleased that the Strategy Forum attracted a considerable number first time visitors to an annual forum of the EUSBSR – the Baltic Sea regional family keeps growing. With 1,300 participants we reached an all-time high, and participants came from all around the Baltic Sea Region and far beyond, altogether representing 42 countries and 4 continents.
The importance of communicating the achievements of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) was raised by European Commissioner Corina Creţu at the opening session of the Strategy Forum, 8 November. With the European Commission’s help we managed to attract almost 30 journalists to Stockholm to cover the event and to spread information on Baltic Sea regional cooperation throughout the region. We also had the help of all the participants who contributed with 900 tweets and retweets using the #eusbsr during the two days of the Forum, and the official EUSBSR twitter account grew with more than 100 new followers during November.
For all those that did not have the opportunity to join us in Stockholm, and for those of us that did not have the time to participate in all seminars we wanted, we can now watch newly published videos from seminars at the EUSBSR YouTube channel. There will also be summary reports from the seminars available on the forum website shortly.
Thank you all for contributing to a successful event with two inspiring days of Baltic Sea regional cooperation in Stockholm. You all made it happen!
See you next year in Berlin!
Sofia Wennerstrand, EU Coordinator of Prime Minister's Office, Sweden