We hope to have important stakeholder consultations during the Summit and the Annual Forum. The programme is packed with interesting speakers and topics – from top-political EU-Baltic Sea Region issues to high-level matchmaking business events. We have a full-house with more than 750 registered participants. The agenda reflects the top-priorities for all decision-makers in Europe at the moment. We need new growth initiatives, and we need to define how to kick-start the economy through joint initiatives.
Baltic Development Forum is very pleased to work closely together with the European Commission, DG Regio and to organise again the Summit together with the Annual Forum of the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. We are also privileged have the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union as a partner.
Furthermore, BDF is very pleased to work together with the Region Zealand and Capital Region of Denmark who have very close connections with their neighbouring counterparts in Sweden and Germany. Danish regions know how important infrastructure developments, bridges and fixed links can be for improving the economy, the attractiveness and the competitiveness.
The Oresund Bridge has demonstrated the immense impact on the economic performance in the Danish and Swedish region of Oresund. It represents a good case to study. Therefore we are glad to have Region Skåne as a partner. Similarly, the Fehmarn belt fixed link will reduce the distance between Scandinavia and important markets in Germany, not least in Hamburg. It will hopefully be the next good to study.
I find that the title of this year’s conference captures the importance of infrastructure developments for good neighbouring relations, regional dynamism and the need for wider European co-operation. We need to invest in big cross-border projects in order to improve the attractiveness of the Top of Europe. Many projects have been discussed such as Rail Baltica, Via Baltica, Motorways of the Sea, Baltic Rings and ICT and not to forget the science and university links. We need a good balance between traditional infrastructure projects and innovative ways to increase our knowledge and competences. We need both better “brains” and “bridges”. The Baltic Sea Region has an important role to play in this regard and we have a lot to offer not least in the field of green growth. And we have a perfect framework to be proactive – the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.
Finally, I am glad that special initiatives are taken to improve match-making and connections between companies, SMEs and entrepreneurs. The Baltic Business Arena that takes place in parallel to the conference will improve the business dimension which is essential for successful economic development. This should be part of the next tour around the Baltic Sea. I hope you will jump on board in Copenhagen.