European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

UBC works strenuously to implement the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). UBC is one of the coordinators of the Horizontal Action (HA) “Capacity”. The other coordinators are the Baltic Sea NGO Network and the Swedish Institute.

The task of the Horizontal Action “Capacity” is to increase the project capacity, skills and competence of all stakeholders involved in the Strategy, through the training programs. Many are not accustomed to working internationally, and there are always new people and new generations emerging. The other dimension of the Horizontal Action “Capacity” is to ensure broad participation of local and regional authorities as well as all other stakeholders.

A key factor of success for the EUSBSR is the integrated and coordinated governance of the Baltic Sea region, between sectors of society as well as between regional and local authorities, business, academia, civil society organisations and other stakeholders in the respective countries.

Through active involvement of all potential stakeholders in promoting and implementing the goals of the EUSBSR and its Action Plan the words are translated into action. The UBC, through its Commissions, is also involved in the EUSBSR implementation. Sustainable Cities Commission has been a lead partner in PRESTO and PURE projects, and a project partner in the BSR Innoship project. The Safe Cities Commission was a leader of CIFOSA (Citizens for Safety) project financed by EUSBSR Seed Money Facility. These are the EUSBSR flagship projects.

UBC participation in the EUSBSR Forums 

At the 7th EUSBSR Annual Forum in Stockholm on 8–9 November 2016, the UBC co-organised two seminars:

  • "Cities and regions: Drivers or bystanders in Baltic Sea cooperation?" The seminar focused on cities and regions as key players in the Baltic Sea Cooperation. Organisers: UBC and Land Brandenburg.
  • "Nothing about us without us – Sustainable and green future and prosperity, growth and jobs from a youth perspective". The seminar focused on youth involvement in the labour society and BSR Vision 2030 in youth perspective as well as features youth representatives in dialogue with politicians from local and regional level. Organisers: BSSSC, UBC, Euroregion Baltic.

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At the 8th EUSBSR Annual Forum with the theme "Connectivity" in Berlin on 13–14 June 2017, the UBC co-organised altogether four seminars and back-to-back meetings before and during the Forum:
  • Youth Conference 2017
  • Youth seminar “Nothing about us without us – making it work!”
  • First Participation Day of the EUSBSR
  • Smart water sector seminar
At the 9th EUSBSR Annual Forum with the theme "Baltic Sea Region After 2020" organised in Tallinn on 4–5 June 2018, UBC co-organised altogether three seminars and back-to-back meetings before and during the Forum:

Baltic Executive Programme “Unboxing the sandbox”

The Baltic Executive Programme “Unboxing the Sandbox” is a new leadership programme designed to help organisations unlock the full potential of transnational cooperation.  The programme is initiated and funded by the Swedish Institute as part of its work with EUSBSR Horizontal Action Capacity. Development and recruitment has taken place together with the Norden Association, the CPMR Baltic Sea Commission and the Union of the Baltic Cities.

The  programme  targets  the  local  and  regional  level  in  the  BSR;  in  particular  senior  elected  officials (politicians) and the head of administrations (administrators), representing the strategic level of ”owners”, with  the  position to redesign existing governance structure that has endorsed the ”sandboxing” of transnational cooperation. The “owners” – municipalities and regions – should have a better insight and overview of the projects, as this will give them a bigger influence on the projects and will contribute to the long lasting outcomes.

The programmes are explicitly non-technical in nature, seeking to empower officials and administrators to be more active in the world of projects that is often dominated by project specialists with their own discourse of project terms and acronyms. The problem addressed in this programme is that there are many projects, but only few long-lived results.

During 25 years of Interreg program there were over 25 thousand projects, but not so many long lasting impacts. When projects are working as satellites to their owners (they are in a sandbox, isolated from the main system), they are not part of the daily life of organizations, then the implementation is very difficult to carry out.
A  result  of  this  cooperation  is  that  more  than  15  UBC  members  enrolled  in  the  pilot  three  module programme  together  with  an  equal  number  of  representatives  from  regional  bodies  in  the  eight  EU-member countries in the BSR. The first module took place in Warsaw (22–24 February 2016), the second in Riga (11–13 April 2016) and the final module took place in Tallinn (13–14 June 2016).

More information: