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Press Releases, 5/27/2014 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

One thousand Baltic Sea actors to gather in Turku

Press release 125/2014
27 May 2014

The Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the Baltic Development Forum Summit will take place in Turku on 3–4 June. More than one thousand participants have registered for this joint event, making it the largest gathering of Baltic Sea actors to date. It is organized by the European Commission, the Baltic Development Forum, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland as the holder of the Presidency of the Council of Baltic Sea States, and the City of Turku.

The President of the Republic and the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy noted during their meeting on 16 April that the Summit of the Prime Ministers of the Council of the Baltic Sea States, planned to take place in Turku, would not be organized owing to the situation in Ukraine. Preparations began to hold the summit at the level of Ministers of the Environment, but for reasons of scheduling this has not proved possible. Despite the cancellation of the summit, Finland emphasizes the continuation of Baltic Sea cooperation, at the levels of regions, experts and the authorities, with all countries in the region.

The Finnish speakers at the Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the Baltic Development Forum Summit include, among others, Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb, Minister of Economic Affairs, Jan Vapaavuori and Minister of the Environment Ville Niinistö. Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas of Estonia will also attend, and the European Commission will be represented by Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Regional Policy. Minister of the Environment Maciej Grabowski of Poland has also been invited to the Forum, but his participation is not confirmed yet. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark Lene Espersen, recently named Chairman of the Baltic Development Forum, will speak on behalf of the Baltic Development Forum. Leaders of federal states, regions and cities in the Baltic Sea region and business representatives will also take part.

The main theme of the forum is “Growing together – for a prosperous, inclusive and connected Baltic Sea Region”. On the opening day, the report on the economic situation in the Baltic Sea Region produced by the Baltic Development Forum will be presented, followed by discussions dealing with the Baltic Sea Region’s growth zones and investments, the next steps to save the sea, prospects in the marine and maritime industry, smart cities, the health economy and the green economy. The theme of the afternoon session is the digital sector as an accelerator of growth, employment and competitiveness in the Baltic Sea Region. Prime Minister Katainen and Prime Minister Rõivas of Estonia will speak on this topic.

The theme of the second day is how to improve the governance and implementation of the EU’s Baltic Sea Strategy. Commissioner Hahn will introduce the Report on the governance of macro-regional strategies published by the European Commission on 21 May, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Tuomioja will present his views on the future of Baltic Sea cooperation, commenting also on the Commission’s proposals. The main theme in the afternoon is Baltic Sea research cooperation, promotion of gender equality and cultural dialogue as the creator of prerequisites for growth.

The European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region has been implemented since 2009 and its main objectives are to save the sea, connect the region and increase prosperity. This annual forum now to be held is the fifth. The annual forum is a follow-up event for the strategy where a policy for cooperation is outlined, practical projects in focal areas of the strategy are presented and cooperation partners from Baltic Sea Region countries are sought for projects to be launched. The forum participants include representatives of government authorities, regions and cities, businesses, universities and research institutes, and organizations involved in implementing the Baltic Sea Strategy. Ahead of the Forum, on 1–2 June, the Baltic Sea NGO Forum will be held in Turku, and tens of other Baltic Sea events will take place throughout the week-long Turku Baltic Sea Days.

Additional information: Baltic Sea Ambassador Erja Tikka, e-mail: firstname.surname@formin.fi, tel. +358 295 351 824
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Updated 5/27/2014


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