63rd Executive Board meeting, Brussels, 14-15 February 2012

Minutes of the 63rd Meeting of the Executive Board
Brussels, 14 February 2012

 The 63rd UBC Executive Board meeting was held on 14 February 2012 in Brussels.

One of the most important issues taken up in the UBC Strategy 2010 – 2015 is the presence and lobbying in Brussels towards the European institutions. UBC wants to be more visible and more active there. Therefore, the UBC Board decided to hold its meeting in Brussels and to meet the cities/regions EU representations to discuss how to do the lobby work for the benefit of cities from the BSR.

1.            Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agenda.

The meeting was opened by Per Bødker Andersen, President of the Union. Mr Andersen expressed his gratitude to the hosts of the meeting – Turku -Southwest Finland European Office. The meeting adopted the agenda.

2.            Election of two persons who, together with the President, will check the minutes.

Krista Taipale, Head of the Turku-Southwest Finland European Office and Andres Jaadla,  Mayor of Rakvere, UBC Vice-President,  were elected to check the minutes together with the President.

3.            Summary of the XI General Conference in Liepaja, 5-6 October 2011, “Building on the past, heading for the future”.

The XI General Conference of the Union of the Baltic Cities was held on 5-6 October 2011 in Liepāja, Latvia, at the invitation of Uldis Sesks, Mayor of Liepāja. In Liepāja UBC celebrated 20 years anniversary of its foundation in Gdańsk on 20 September 1991. The conference was attended by 213 participants including representatives of 76 Member Cities as well as invited guests from governments and international organisations.

The 1st of the conference was titled: “Building on the past, heading for the future”. The first plenary session brought an outlook on what happened in the Baltic Sea area during last 20 years, from the cold war to the era of extensive cooperation, and what can happen during the next 10-20 years. The second plenary session highlighted the cities’ role, their expectations, interests, etc.

The 2nd conference day started with meetings of the commissions followed by three workshops covering crucial issues our societies are facing: cities’ economic attractiveness, climate change, ageing society. The second day was also devoted to internal UBC matters such as reports, elections, finances etc.

The General Conference emphasized the role of Anders Engström, former Mayor of Kalmar, in creation and development of the UBC. He served as UBC President in the years 1991-2001. Mr Engström was not able to attend the jubilee General Conference in Liepāja due to health problems.

Secretariat prepared post-conference report sent to GC participants, member cities, international institutions. Cost of printing ca. 2250 eur, posting ca. 4600 eur.

The Board expressed its gratitude to the city of Liepāja for hosting the XI UBC General Conference.

 4.            UBC Strategy.

4.1          Communication and Marketing Strategy.

The point 8 of the UBC Strategy 2010-2015 concerns rising public profile of the UBC. Despite successful activities since 1991 more action is required to raise the public visibility of UBC and its achievements.

Mikko Lohikoski, Strategy Coordinator, reminded the UBC task force on communication and marketing strategy was set up in Lahti in March 2011. The task force consisted of Wolfgang Schmidt Kiel, Oyving Laderud Kristiansand, Strategy Coordinator, Secretary General and Marcus Andersson, Tendensor AB.

UBC decided to engage Tendensor to assist in preparation of the strategy. Tendensor AB is a Sweden-based consultancy, specialising in place marketing. Tendensor advice clusters, cities, regions and countries mainly in Northern Europe and in the BSR.

The process of strategy preparation was carried out in eight steps containing planning phase, analysis phase (experts interviews, web-based survey, desk research) and feedback phase. The draft document was sent out on 30 January 2012 to the member cities for comments.

Marcus Andersson made presentation of the strategy. The strategy sees the UBC’s potential to strengthen its position as the leading network in the region and a preferred partner in the European context, representing 100 cities of a region of 10 countries in a world where cities increasingly are becoming key political and economic actors and that increasingly needs to tackle urban challenges.

The Strategy shall help the organization to foster an efficient exchange and to make its voice heard in the BSR, Europe and beyond. The document defines the marketing and communication strategy of the UBC - goals, target groups, main stakeholders, messages to be communicated, channels to be used, etc. It also sets out to define a brand platform for UBC – that is what UBC wants to stand for in eyes of target audiences, which will guide communication, organizational choices and activities. 

Decision:

The Board decided to adopt UBC Communication and Marketing Strategy. The Secretariat will ensure the distribution of the strategy to the member cities and commissions as well as other relevant addressees and publish it on the UBC website.  A task force on implementing the strategy will be formed. Member cities and commissions will be invited to nominate their communication experts to participate in TF work. The TF shall make concrete recommendations for strategy implementation and educational training. The TF shall report to the UBC Presidium latest 4 weeks before the UBC  autumn (October) Board meeting. The Strategy Coordinator and the Secretary General are requested to ensure the formation of the task force and its work. 

4.2          Meeting with cities offices in Brussels how to do the lobby work for the benefit of cities from the BSR, 15.02.2012.

Another goal set by the UBC Strategy 2010-2015 is to strengthen the UBC’s presence in Brussels and enhance its lobbying capacity. There are many BSR cities/ regions offices in Brussels. The UBC shall use their knowledge and potential. The Board decided to meet the cities/ regions EU representations to discuss how to do the lobby work for the benefit of the UBC members.

The meeting was held at Norway House on 15 February 2012. Sixteen EU representations took part in the meeting. As a follow-up, the working group consisting of Brussels offices should be established to coordinate UBC activities in Brussels. President Andersen thanked South-Norway European Office for hosting the event.

4.3          Guidelines for cooperation between UBC and business sector.

Mikko Lohikoski, the Strategy Coordinator,  presented the guidelines for cooperation between the UBC and Business Sector.

The Business Sector has become more important as the role of business in generating employment and wealth through development has increasingly been recognised. The purpose of cooperation between the UBC and the Business Sector is to: 

•             promote the goals of UBC through cooperation with the Business Sector,

•             ensure a more coordinated and strategic approach to business and industry,

•             define the goals of cooperation with the Business Sector,

•             minimize the risks to the UBC relations with the Business Sector,

•             establish a transparent framework for relationship between the UBC and the Business Sector.

Decision

The Board approved the guidelines for cooperation between the UBC and Business Sector.

4.4          Evaluation criteria of the Commissions.

The Strategy Coordinator reminded that the Strategy calls for energizing and streamlining UBC Commission work and optimising use of resources. To achieve this goal, the common criteria for evaluation of the Commissions’ work have been formulated.

Decision:

The Board decided to adopt the proposal and send it to the commissions and member cities for comments. Their responses are requested in time before the next Board meeting in May in Rakvere, which shall approve the final criteria.

5.            Financial matters.

5.1          Applications from the Commissions to move unused resources from 2011 to 2012.

The following Commissions applied to transfer the unused resources from 2011 to 2012 (in EUR):

Business                                8 025,82

Culture                                  11 529,09

Education                                  584,68

Local Safety                            1 000,00

Sport                                    12 400,00

Transportation                         5 750,00

Urban                                     3 837,48

Youth                                     4 080,00

Decision

The Board decided  unused money belongs to UBC, not commissions. In exceptional cases, a commission should send  an email letter to the Presidium informing why respective resources have not been spent and for what purpose the commission would like to spend them in the following year. Otherwise the unspent amount shall be reduced from the commissions’ grants for current year.

5.2          Applications from the Commissions for funding in 2012.

The Commissions applied for the following funds in 2012:

Business Cooperation                                             12 000,00

Culture                                                                   12 000,00

Education                                                               10 000,00

Energy                                                                   12 000,00

Environment                                                           12 000,00

Gender Equality                                                      10 000,00

Health and Social Affairs                                          12 000,00

Local Safety                                                           12 000,00

Sport                                                                     10 000,00

Tourism                                                                 10 000,00

Transportation                                                       10 000,00

Urban Planning                                                     12 000,00

Youth Issues                                                        12 000,00

Decision

The Board accepted Commissions' applications for funding in 2012 .

5.3          UBC budget for 2012.

Paweł Żaboklicki, Secretary General, presented the proposal of the UBC budget for 2012.

Decision

The Board adopted the budget for 2012. Concerning Commissions - not more than 40% can be spent by the lead city(s) for: secretariat, remunerations (including projects), travel, mailing, office supplies, promotion materials. Any changes in the commission budget require President's approval.

5.4          UBC financial report for 2011.

Secretary General presented the financial report for 2011. Mr Żaboklicki informed the income was mostly generated by the membership fees and the assets saved in 2010. The main expenditure were: the costs of the commissions, meetings including the General Conference, services/maintenance, communication. Five annexes are attached to the report: membership fees, expenditure of UBC commissions, contributions to the secretariats, projects with external funding, cities’ contributions to the UBC events.

Decision:

The Board took note of the report.

6.            Information from the Task Force meeting on 14.02.2012.

At the 61st meeting in Karlstad, 17 June 2011, the Board decided to create the task force to go through the UBC key documents ie. Statute, Strategy, Internal Regulations, to check whether amendments are needed.

Mikko Lohikoski, chair of task force, informed the meeting was productive. He said each member could present its position and ideas. Mr Lohikoski suggested the TF would need a year to carry out its work and would present its findings to the first Board meeting in 2013.

The Board accepted the proposal.

7.            Information from the meeting with Baltic Development Forum, Copenhagen, 18.01.2012.

Secretary General informed about the UBC meeting with BDF in Copenhagen in January 2012. Both organizations expressed an interest to deepen the cooperation and carry out joint activities. UBC and BDF agreed to prepare and sign a cooperation agreement.

The 14th Baltic Development Forum Summit will be arranged jointly with the 3rd Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea region and take place in Copenhagen 18-19 June 2012 under the auspices of the Danish Presidency of the EU Council. The UBC could, in connection to that, organise an Urban Forum for Mayors and other senior city representatives. UBC is in touch with BDF concerning organisation of an urban forum.

Hans Brask, BDF Director, proposed UBC could become a partner in Baltic Business Arena - a matchmaking event for small and medium enterprises to be organized in parallel to the Summit with aim to foster greater cross-border trade and investment. This event will attract approximately 120 companies from all parts of the region. UBC will become BBA project partner through the Commission on Business Cooperation.

8.            Cooperation within Conference of European Cross-border and Interregional city Networks.

- latest CECICN meetings in Paris, 15.12.2011 and 12.01.2012

- CECICN-AEBR strategic paper

- conference in La Coruna, 25-26.06.2012

UBC was one of the founding networks of the Conference of European Cross-border and interregional City Networks (CECICN) in 2010. CECICN associates 6 European networks of cities namely: Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities, Forum of Adriatic and Ionian Cities, Iberian Network of Cross-border Entities, MedCities, Mission Operationelle Transfrontaliere and UBC. CECICN represents more than 500 cities in border regions and 37% of European population. The objective of this new organisation is to boost territorial cooperation among border cities in Europe and to reinforce the message concerning the importance of territorial cooperation.

Last year Wolfgang Schmidt and Ingemann Olsen were appointed as a UBC representatives to CECICN.

Mr Schmidt reported on two latest CECICN expert meetings held in Paris in December 2011 and January 2012. He informed about the CECICN-AEBR strategic paper. The report on “Cities and Regions cooperating across borders: an opportunity to overcome the crisis” has been elaborated by networks representing cities and regions involved in Territorial Cooperation (cross-border, transnational and interregional level). The document refers to the EU Cohesion Policy. CECICN and AEBR are of the opinion that the cross-border and transnational areas must be the object of the more integrated territorial approach. Association of European Border Regions ,representing 100 border and cross-border regions, is a forum for cross-border cooperation.

The Board took note on the CECICN-AEBR strategic paper.

The 1st CECICN Congress on Smart Cooperation “Territorial Cooperation fostering European integration: Cities and Regions linking across borders” will be held in A Coruna on 25-26 June 2012. UBC is to chair the workshop ‘Cooperation contributing to smart growth’. Among the invited speakers are: José Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hübner, Chairwoman of Regional Development Committee, European Parliament, Mercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of the Regions.

In February 2012 the President of the UBC was asked by the CECICN Board to become the new President of CECICN.

9.            Draft position paper on structural funds regulations 2014-2020.

The Board adopted the draft position paper on structural funds regulations 2014-2020.

10.          Secretariat, Secretary in the next period.

Following the proposal of the Mayor of Gdańsk, the General Conference in Liepāja decided to maintain the Secretariat in Gdańsk for the next four year period. President of UBC Per Boedker Andersen and Mayor of Gdańsk Paweł Adamowicz proposed Paweł Żaboklicki to continue as Secretary General for the next period.

Decision

The Board approved the proposal and elected Paweł Żaboklicki as Secretary General for the next four-year period.

11.          Latest conferences attended by UBC representatives.

UBC was represented at the following conferences:

  • 92nd Plenary Session of the Committee of the Regions, 10-12 October 2011, Brussels (Per Bødker Andersen, President of UBC)
  • 13th Baltic Development Forum Summit and the European Commission’s 2nd Annual Forum on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, 24-26 October 2011, Gdańsk (Per Bødker Andersen, President of UBC, Paweł Żaboklicki, UBC Secretary General)
  • Baltic Sea Labour Network Final Conference, 15-16 November 2011, Hamburg (Wojciech Drozd, Chairman of the Commission on Health and Social Affairs)
  • 93rd Plenary Session of the Committee of the Regions, 14-15 December 2011, Brussels (Per Bødker Andersen, President of UBC)

The Board took note of the information.

12.          Any other business.

Charlotta Svanberg, Deputy Mayor of Växjö, informed she would leave the UBC Executive Board. Ms Svanberg informed Mr Per Schöldberg, Deputy Mayor, will replace her at this position. The Board thanked Charlotta for her substantial contribution to the UBC work.

12.1       Joint position paper of Baltic Sea organisations on the EU Strategy for BSR implementation.

The Board approved in principle the Joint position paper of Baltic Sea organisations on the EU Strategy for BSR implementation. The Board agreed on possible minor changes in drafting which may be agreed between signing organisations.

12.2      Events Calendar, Baltic Cities Bulletin.

Paweł Żaboklicki informed about latest publications prepared by the Secretariat.

UBC Cities Events Calendar 2012 contains information on business, exhibition, cultural, sports, recreational activities to be held in the UBC member cities in 2012. 3600 pcs, printing cost ca. 4200 eur, posting ca. 3500 eur.

The autumn edition of the Bulletin was devoted to safety in the Baltic Sea cities. It presents the ways on how to cope with the most important problems, how do the cities deal with such challenges as graffiti, homelessness, mass events etc.  The Bulletin was published in 5500 copies, printing cost c.a. 1800 EUR, posting 3500 EUR.

13.          Executive Board meetings in 2012-2013.

Secretary General informed the Secretariat received the following proposals from the cities to hold the next Board meetings:

- Rakvere, 24 May 2012

- Koszalin, 4 October 2012

- Kaliningrad, February/March 2013

- Kiel, 21-22 June 2013

- Mariehamn, 1 October 2013 in connection with the XII General Conference, 1-4 October 2013

 

The Board decided to hold its next meeting in Rakvere, Estonia, on 24 May 2012.

Andres Jaadla, Mayor of Rakvere, Vice-President of UBC, warmly invited the Board members to Rakvere and made a presentation of the city.

 

Per Bødker Andersen                                                                                              Paweł Żaboklicki

Chairperson                                                                                                               Secretary

 

Krista Taipale                                                                                                             Andres Jaadla

Adjuster                                                                                                                      Adjuster

63rd Executive Board meeting, Brussels, 14-15 February 2012