The year 2019 is a unique year for the EUSBSR as the Strategy celebrates its 10th Anniversary. In the framework of the EUSBSR, the first of the four EU macro-regional strategies, different actors have come together to join forces for the benefit of the region. Throughout this year, the past 10 years of the EUSBSR and people behind the work will be highlighted.

The National Coordinators' group has also sent a message for the jubilee year. The current Chair of the group, Marcus Haas, National Coordinator Denmark, on behalf of the group:

This year marks a special anniversary for the EUSBSR. 10 years ago, in October 2009, the European Council adopted its first macro-regional strategy, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. In its conclusions, the European Council stipulated:

“This Strategy constitutes an integrated framework to address common challenges, i.a. the urgent environmental challenges related to the Baltic Sea, and to contribute to the economic success of the region and to its social and territorial cohesion, as well as to the competitiveness of the EU.”

These words still ring true today. Macro-regional challenges persist, and the Strategy provides concrete answers. One example of significant importance is the Baltic Sea Fisheries Forum, an EUSBSR Flagship that has become part of the everyday cooperation work of the region.

Another example is the Baltic Sea Pharma platform, an ongoing EUSBSR Flagship project which offers regional cooperation to reduce pharmaceuticals in the Baltic Sea, targeting both human and veterinary pharmaceuticals.

The BLASTIC project is yet another EUSBSR Flagship which aims to reduce plastic waste and, thereby, the inflow of hazardous substances into the Baltic Sea by mapping and monitoring the amounts of litter in the aquatic environment. To educate a younger audience, a booklet for use in schools and kindergartens was published and translated to all partner country languages.   

These examples illustrate how the EUSBSR serves as a model for macro-regional cooperation, which over the years has inspired other regions. Today we have four macro-regional strategies in Europe.

Environmental issues will also be at the core of the upcoming EUSBSR Annual Forum in Gdansk on 12 - 13 June with circular economy as its main topic. We, the group of National Coordinators, are looking forward to participating and meeting all relevant stakeholders as well as interested parties and learn more about exciting new projects across the Baltic Sea Region.