13th Executive Board meeting, Aarhus, 7-8 December 1995

13th Executive Board meeting, Aarhus, 7-8 December 1995

MINUTES FROM THE 13TH MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

OF THE UNION OF THE BALTIC CITIES

Aarhus, Denmark, 7-8 December 1995

 

INTRODUCTION

The 13th meeting of the Executive Board of the Union of the Baltic Cities was held on 7-8 December 1995 in Aarhus, Denmark, in association with the III UBC General Conference.

The Meeting was attended by the members of the Executive Board of the Union and the representatives of Union's Working Commissions.

The meeting was opened by Mr Anders Engström, the President of the Union.

The welcome words were given by Mr Olaf P. Christensen, Deputy Mayor of Aarhus.

Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agenda.

The Meeting adopted the agenda.

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

Mr Olaf P. Christensen and Mr Carl Nielsen from Aarhus were elected to check the minutes.

III UBC General Conference in Aarhus, 8-9 December 1995.

Mr Olaf P. Christensen, Deputy Mayor of Aarhus informed the Board that the city of Aarhus is fully prepared to host the III General Conference of the Union.

The Programme.

The Board discussed the Programme of the Conference focusing on the following matters:

  • Election of the President and two Vice-Presidents for next 2-year period.

Decision:

The Board decided to recommend the General Conference the following candidatures:

Mr Anders Engström, Mayor of Kalmar for the President of the Union

Mr Michael Bouteiller, Mayor of Lübeck and Mr Jaak Tamm, Mayor of Tallinn for the Vice-Presidents of the Union.

  • Election of the Executive Board for next 2-year period.

Decision:

The Board recommended the General Conference to accept the proposals of new Board cities, proposed by the cities from each country.

  • Location of UBC Secretariat.

Decision:

Following earlier proposal made by the authorities of the city of Gdańsk, the Board decided to recommend the General Conference to maintain the UBC Secretariat in Gdańsk.

  • Creation of new UBC Commissions

Decision:

Following the prior proposals submitted by respective member cities, the Board recommended the General Conference to officially approve the creation of the following new UBC Commissions:

The Commission on Sport - proposed by the cities of Gdynia and Karlskrona

The Commission on Tourism - proposed by the cities of Kalmar and Rēzekne

The Board recommended the General Conference to transform the Commission on Telecommunication into the Commission on Communication.

Conference Statements.

The Board discussed two statements proposed by Mr Anders Engström, the President of the Union to be adopted by the General Conference:

1) The Role of the Cities in a Baltic Sea Policy addressed to the European Union with the aim to influence EU Baltic policy.

2) UBC Statement on Local Self-Government addressed to the national governments of Baltic countries to strengthen the role of the local self-governments.

Decision:

The Board decided to recommend the General Conference to adopt the statements (after the editorial changes).

Discussion on Action Plans of the Commissions.

The Board agreed that, as the Commissions Action Plans are to be discussed during group discussions at the 2nd day of the General Conference, the Board members may express their remarks at those meetings.

Report from the visit to EU Commission in Brussels.

President Engström reported from the visit to EU Commission in Brussels held on 23-24 Nov. 1995. Along the President, UBC was represented by the Vice-President, Mr Michael Bouteiller and the Secretary, Mr Paweł Żaboklicki. The visit was organized by informal group of Baltic cities and regions represented in Brussels, placed mainly at the Hanse-Office. The aim of the visit was to discuss with several General Directorates the content of special development programmes carried out by EU Commission within the Baltic region. UBC representatives stressed the need to make mentioned programmes more accessible for the cities and networks of the cities like UBC itself, underlining that projects executed by the cities are most concrete, cost-efficient and goal-oriented comparing to projects being realized by other parties. During UBC visit, the details of new programme "Baltic Small Projects Facility" have been announced by the Commission.

The following Directorates (DG) have been visited:

DG IA - External Political Relations

DG V - Employment and Social Affairs

DG VII - Transport

DG XXII - Education, Training and Youth

DG XVI - Regional Policies

DG XI - Environment

UBC Marketing Strategy.

Following the decision of XII UBC Executive Board meeting in Gdynia, to work out the UBC Marketing Strategy, Ms Sonja Hilavuo from Tampere has prepared UBC "Marketing Memorandum - Scenario for Communication and Public Relations", taking into account comments expressed by the Board Members and the Commissions. Ms Hilavuo reminded that the main goal of undertaken action is to improve internal and external communication, marketing and public relations regarding Union of the Baltic Cities. She stressed that to achieve this goal a clear structure within the Union is necessary to be set up. One step is to transform the Commission on Telecommunication into broader Commission on Communication. Second step is to create a Communication Task Force to plan and implement internal and external marketing, communication and public relations of the UBC.

Decision:

The Board expressed its appreciation to the importance of work made by Ms Hilavuo. The Board decided to set up a Communication Task Force working closely with the UBC Secretariat and the Commissions and appointed Ms Hilavuo to be the Task Force leader. The meeting strongly encouraged the member cities to delegate its representatives and take active in part in the Task Force work. A plan of Task Force priority actions, including sources of their financing, is to be presented at the next Board Meeting.

New UBC Member Cities.

The Board meeting was attended by Mrs Rosita Meyer - representative of the City of Kiel. Mrs Meyer submitted a memorandum of Kiel authorities expressing the wish of the city of Kiel to become a full member of the Union of the Baltic Cities. Mrs Meyer assured the Board that an appropriate written decision of Kiel City Council affirming the Kiel accession to the UBC and confirming city readiness to respect all rules of UBC Statute will be provided to the Secretariat as soon as possible.

Decision:

The Board accepted the City of Kiel as the new member of the Union of the Baltic Cities and wished successful cooperation with remaining UBC members.

Additionally the Board again discussed the case of the city of Bremen which since UBC creation in 1991 has not paid any membership fee. Vice-President Mr Michael Bouteiller informed that according to the decision of XII Executive Board Meeting in Gdynia he has sent a letter and tried personally contact the Mayor of Bremen Mr Scherf, with aim to obtain a clear answer whether Bremen is still interested to be a member and if so to pay membership fee like all other cities. Mr Bouteiller, has not received any response from the city of Bremen.

Decision:

The Statute of the Union of the Baltic Cities requires from the member cities to remit an annual membership fee, proposed by the General Conference, to cover UBC expenses. The city of Bremen has not paid its membership fee since the Union creation in 1991.

Having in mind above the UBC Executive Board decided to exclude the city of Bremen from the Union of the Baltic Cities.

Information from the Secretary.

Next issue of UBC Newsletter.

Mr Paweł Żaboklicki, the Secretary of the Union, presented the latest issue of the Union's Newsletter No.8 which contains of three main thematic sections:

I. Work of the Union - provides information on the 11th and 12th UBC Executive Board meetings, UBC projects, conferences and events.

II. Information from member cities - includes information about various initiatives and projects launched by the cities.

III. Views - review of other significant activities and facts concerning Baltic Sea Region.

The latest Newsletter shall be sent out to all member cities after the III General Conference in Aarhus.

Proposal of new membership fee system.

Mr Żaboklicki presented a proposal to change in the near future the UBC membership fee (current fee 2000 USD/city) in accordance with the number of city inhabitants. The new system will avoid the situation when huge agglomerations and small towns pay the same membership fee. It will also make possible to strengthen UBC work in general, to intensify activities of the Commissions and to implement more concrete projects.

Decision:

After discussion the Board decided to recommend the General Conference as follows:

1. To maintain the membership fee in 1996 on unchanged level.

2. To authorize the Executive Board to prepare and decide upon new membership fee system since 1997.

The Board requested the member cities to make their comments on proposed membership fee system.

UBC budget for 1996.

Mr Żaboklicki informed that the budget proposal for 1996 has been made on prerequisite that Union's incomes and expenditure will be comparable to the ones in 1994 and 1995.

Expected income from membership fees totals 82.000,- USD, and shall cover the following expenses: meetings organization, travels, communication (phone, fax, mail), office maintenance, publications, services etc.

Decision:

1. The Board accepted the report.

2. To strengthen the work of the Commissions the Board assigned in 1996, 2.000,- USD to each Commission; the money can be used for the meetings, travels etc.

The II International UBC Women's Conference, Sundsvall, 6-8 October 1995.

Mrs Hjördis Höglund, Sundsvall, presented report from the Second International UBC Women's Conference entitled "Women around the Baltic - our role in Agenda 21" which was held on 5-8 October 1995 in the city of Sundsvall, Sweden. The event was attended by 70 participants from 25 Baltic cities (7 countries).

The conference issued a statement emphasizing that women - on the equal basis with men - must play an active role in all spheres of human activity such as politics, administration, business etc. The statement also stresses that the best way to improve women situation is to create networks, giving opportunities to exchange experiences and support each other. The conference called upon UBC and other organizations to support and coordinate these networks.

Having in mind above Ms Höglund put forward proposal of the project called Women and the Local Community. The purpose of the project is to create new women's-professionals networks, especially in the eastern part of the Baltic region.

Mrs Höglund informed that the conference statement (enclosed) and the conference report will be soon distributed by UBC Secretariat among the member cities.

The next UBC Women Conference will be held on 8-12 May, 1996 in Karlskrona in association with the "Women Can" exhibition.

Decision:

The meeting fully supported the statement issued by Sundsvall conference and confirmed UBC constant support in strengthening women's networking in the Baltic region. The Board authorized Ms Höglund to continue its work and coordinate proposed project on Women and the Local Community.

The Board expressed also its highest gratitude to the outstanding work of Ms Hjördis Höglund in the field of women's issues.

Reports from conferences and meetings attended by Union's representatives.

The President of the Union informed that since the 12th UBC Executive Board meeting in Gdynia, Union's representatives actively participated in the following conferences and events, submitting presentations or statements and chairing the meetings:

  • 4th Parliamentary Conference on Cooperation within B.S. Area, Rønne, 12-13 September 1995
  • Regiones ad Mare Balticum - Forum'95, Bornholm - South Scania, 13-16 September 1995
  • EUROCITIES East/West Seminar, Gdańsk, Poland, 22-23 September 1995
  • WHO Training Course in Solid Waste Management, Riga, 26-28 October 1995
  • 3rd Conference on Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation, Västeras, 8-9 November 1995

Kaliningrad proposals concerning environmental protection.

Mr Gino van Begin, the project leader, informed the Board about the Environmental Center for Administration and Technology (ECAT) which was established in Kaliningrad with the support of the European Commission (DG XI) and the cities of Aalborg and Bremerhaven. The aim of the ECAT-Kaliningrad (similarly to ECATs in Riga and St.Petersburg) is to develop, implement and coordinate environmental projects and technical assistance in Kaliningrad area.

On behalf of Mr Vitaliy Shipov, Mayor of Kaliningrad, Mr van Begin submitted two problems for Board consideration:

1. Equipment and assistance to Kaliningrad to carry out demonstration projects regarding cleaner technologies and industrial sewage treatment.

2. Assistance to Kaliningrad in eco-tourism development.

Decision:

The Board expressed its thanks to Mr van Begin for the information about the ECAT-Kaliningrad, wished him a success in his important work and declared UBC support to the new established center.

The Board authorized the Union's Commission on Environment to examine UBC possibilities to assist Kaliningrad in mentioned above issues.

UBC Member Cities and the EU - project proposal.

The project has been introduced by Mr Anders Engström and Mr Juhan Janusson, Baltic Consultation. It was said that in the near future, the Baltic Sea will be surrounded by the European Union, when Poland and the Baltic States enter the EU. It will imply a great challenge for the cities in these countries.

The aim of the project is to prepare mentioned cities for EU accession - so they know how to find themselves in new circumstances. The project will concern such areas as: city administration, education, social sphere, labour market, environment etc.

A working group consisting of 4 EU and 4 non-EU member cities was set up, namely: Copenhagen, Kalmar, Lübeck, Tampere, Liepāja, Panevėžys, Szczecin, Tallinn. At the meeting additional 2 cities - Kaliningrad and Kristiansand representing Russia and Norway acceded to the group. The group is responsible for project preparation and implementation including the assurance of project financing from external sources.

Mr Engström informed that the first meeting of mentioned cities will take place on 8th of December, after the first day of General Conference.

Decision:

The Board emphasized the importance of proposed project and appointed the cities of Szczecin and Copenhagen as the project lead cities.

Seminars on public transport in Lithuanian cities - report on present status.

Mr Anders Engström briefly informed that the project start was delayed due to bureaucratic procedures in securing project finances. Mr Engström confirmed, that the project will start in January next year and will be financed by SIDA and OVERTURE programme. 5 Lithuanian, 4 Swedish and 1 Danish member city will be involved in the project.

Next UBC General Conference.

Mr Tomasz Posadzki, Mayor of the City of Gdańsk, confirmed the proposal of the city of Gdańsk to organize the next UBC General Conference in Gdańsk, in association with the celebration of Gdańsk 1000th-Anniversary in 1997. Mr Posadzki proposed the 12-13th of September 1997 as the date of the Conference.

Decision:

The Board decided to recommend the General Conference to accept Gdańsk proposal and organize the IV UBC General Conference in Gdańsk, on 12-13 September 1997.

Next International UBC Art & Culture Festival.

Mr Sławomir Szafrański, Chairman of the Commission on Culture, informed the Board that two cities are willing to organize the Festival in 1996, namely Kaliningrad and Szczecin.

Mr Szafrański reminded that first two festivals (in 1993 and 1994) were organized by the city of Kaliningrad. In 1995 the Festival was hosted by the city of Szczecin.

Decision:

Having in mind above the Board decided to authorize the city of Szczecin to be the organizer of IV International UBC Art & Culture Festival, at the same time encouraging all member cities to take active part in the event.

The Board stressed that the Festival must have "moving around Baltic" formula and recommended the Commission of Culture to determine the Festival venues by the year 2000.

Next Meeting of the Executive Board.

The President of the Union informed that the place and date of the next UBC Executive Board Meeting shall be decided later on.

Other issues:

Mr Mikko Jokinen, Turku, Vice-chairman of UBC Commission on Environment informed the Board that the Union has been granted by the EU LIFE Programme 1995 with ca. 210.000 ECU to implement the project "Baltic Municipal Environmental Audit". The audit will be carried out in the city of Tallinn by joint team of experts from Turku, Helsinki and Tallinn.

Decision:

The Board authorized the city of Turku to be responsible for project management and implementation.

  • Mr Zdzisław Urla, Deputy Mayor of Gdynia put forward a proposal to recommend the General Conference to make the following changes in the Article 5 of UBC Statute.

The present contents:

4. draw up the budget of the Union,

5. propose the membership fee and fix the time of its payment,

6. create a programme of activities of the Union,

8. set up permanent and ad hoc commissions of the Union.

The proposed contents:

4. approve the budget of the Union,

5. approve the membership fee and fix the time of its payment,

6. approve a programme of activities of the Union,

8. approve the creation of permanent and ad hoc commissions of the Union.

Decision:

The Board decided to recommend the next UBC General Conference in Gdansk to accept proposed changes in the Statute.

Closing of the Meeting.

The Chairman of the Meeting, Mr Anders Engström expressed his thanks to the City of Aarhus for hosting the delegation and closed the XIII Meeting of the Executive Board of the Union of the Baltic Cities.

 

Mr Anders Engström                                     Mr Olaf P. Christensen 
Chairman                                                     Adjuster

Mr Paweł Żaboklicki                                     Mr Carl Nielsen 
Secretary                                                    Adjuster