In their meeting in Copenhagen on 26 September, the National Coordinators of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) appointed the Baltic Institute of Finland (BIF) as the new coordinator of the EUSBSR Policy Area Innovation. BIF succeeds Nordic Council of Ministers in this task. Policy Area Innovation strives to promote a globally competitive position within research and innovation for sustainable economic growth in the Baltic Sea region.

The European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is the first Macro-regional Strategy in Europe. The Strategy was approved by the European Council in 2009 following a communication from the European Commission. The Strategy is an agreement between the Member States of the EU and the European Commission to strengthen cooperation between the countries bordering the Baltic Sea in order to meet the common challenges and to benefit from common opportunities facing the region.

The Strategy is divided into three objectives, which represent the three key challenges of the Strategy: saving the sea, connecting the region and increasing prosperity. The Action Plan for the Strategy reflects the three overall objectives of the EUSBSR, and comprises 13 Policy Areas and 4 Horizontal Actions, which represent the main areas where the EUSBSR can contribute to improvements, either by tackling the main challenges or by seising key opportunities of the region. The concrete implementation of the EUSBSR objectives takes place in joint transnational actions, projects and processes. Flagships are projects and processes demonstrating the progress of the EUSBSR and may serve as pilot examples for desired change.

Operating on a macro-regional scale, the role of the EUSBSR Policy Area Innovation, now coordinated by the Baltic Institute of Finland, is to:

  • Enable shared learning through knowledge-transfer activities
  • Create and strengthen networks across the Baltic sea region
  • Align resources and regulations e.g. through co-ordination of funding sources
  • Facilitate the joining up of forces in common programs and investments

The Baltic Institute of Finland (BIF) has actively contributed to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and its flagship projects since the initiation of the strategy in the European Parliament in 2005. BIF has been leading two flagship projects and involved as a partner in four innovation and SME development related flagships. Furthermore, BIF has actively contributed to the European-wide promotion of the EUSBSR, macroregional exchange and dissemination of EUSBSR good practices on innovation policies and instruments through its various European wide EU projects.

BIF is assigned with the responsibility of coordinating the policy area under the steering committee lead by Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in Estonia and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Poland.

Further information:

Esa Kokkonen
Director, The Baltic Institute of Finland
Policy Area Coordinator, EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region – Policy Area Innovation
Tel. +358 50 516 9111