On behalf of Baltic Development Forum (BDF) and the European Commission, DG Regio, I would like to thank you for taking part in the BDF Summit and the Annual Forum of the EU Strategy. A particular thank goes to our co-hosts: the Danish Presidency of the EU Council, Capital Region of Denmark, Region Zealand and Region Skåne. BDF is also grateful for the support from our many other strategic partners, sponsors and cooperation partners. Without them we could not play a role for the regional cooperation.
The theme of the conference Connection Europe – Smart and Green Partnerships proved indeed to be relevant for the discussions on the future priorities. The outcome of the Conference will be presented in a Conference Report which is being elaborated. It will be mailed to you after the summer break, and it can hopefully inspire the continued process of regional cooperation.
The Conference Handbook contains useful coordinates on the many stakeholders, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and organizers that can be useful in following up on contacts or establish new ones. On the website www.bdforum.org you can find pictures taken from the conference – more will come. You are free to make use of them but please make reference to the source. Soon you will also find live pictures on YouTube. Power point presentations and some of the speeches will be available on this website as soon as possible.
The Danish Presidency will soon be adopting Council Conclusions on the EU Strategy, endorsing the Commission’s Communication presented in March this year. The EU strategy is a dynamic process and a new Action Plan will be published in due course.
The Summit/Forum sent a clear message that there is a chance now to streamline the Strategy with the EU funds and programmes since the EU’s new budget period is about to being – in 2014. The new cohesion policy regulations include macro-regional strategies and propose that they should be taken into account when developing and implementing new projects, programmes and new partnership contracts. In this way, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea region will be firmly embedded in national programmes submitted by the Member States.
Stakeholders have voted with their feet – the high number of people shows that very many are committed, interested and engaged in making further progress. The conference participants represented all parts of the region and many different sectors (details can be found on the website www.bsr2012.eu). BDF will take new initiatives to involve all stakeholders not least the private sector. A new Competitiveness Council could be one way forward. Stronger business networking between SMEs of the region is another possibility.
The reports prepared for the Summit/Annual Forum – the State of the Region Report, the Political State of the Region Reports and Priorities towards a Digital Single Market in the Baltic Sea Region – provide good basis for further deliberations, including the Competitiveness Council. The reports are available at BDF’s website www.bdforum.org.
All in all, there are very good reasons to be optimistic about the Baltic Sea Region cooperation’s future. We hope to stay in contact with you and appreciate your input – also on the conference. If you did not fill in an evaluation form, I invite you to do it now. Your opinion is essential in our objective to do it better in the future.
On behalf of DG Regio and BDF, I wish you a nice summer.
Director, Baltic Development Forum