The revision process will focus on issues such as streamlining the action plan, adjusting indicators, improving decision-making and management structures as well as communication approaches. It is considered necessary to better link the revised strategy with the EU programmes in the new funding period 2021-2027.
Presently, the areas of EUSBSR differ in the provision of resources and structures. Some areas are well covered and represented, others have a hard time getting out and being considered in strategic decisions. Furthermore, it became clear in the past years that there is a high need for a definition of the role of local and regional stakeholders in the development and implementation of the EUSBSR.
With the background of growing tourism challenges in areas such as internationalisation and sustainability, it is necessary that the Policy Area Tourism (PA Tourism) emerges strengthened from the revision. The newly developed goals and actions of the EUSBSR therefore should address current challenges and future demands in international tourism and provide impulses for solutions. Up until this day platforms and projects as for instance the annual Baltic Sea Tourism Forum and the Baltic Sea Tourism Center, already support the tourism development in the Baltic Sea region. One contribution has been the BSTC Position Paper “Sustainable tourism development in the Baltic Sea region post 2020”. Elaborated in 2018, the paper stresses that “permanent cooperation patterns, stronger political support and stronger funding opportunities after 2020” are inevitable in order to ensure sustainable tourism development at macro-regional level in the BSR. Thus, patchwork structures can be overcome, common challenges addressed and competitiveness on international scale increased.
Further information on the Position Paper can be accessed here.
EU Funding: With the new EU funding period starting in 2021, the political and social framework conditions are changing for many projects and tourism actors on macro-regional level. It is not clear yet how the funding for programmes such as Interreg as well as the macro-regional work in the BSR will be affected by this.
EUSBSR: In 2009 the European Commission introduced the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) in order to connect the countries bordering the Baltic Sea and to make effective use of their potential.
The macro-regional strategy follows three objectives: save the sea, connect the region, increase prosperity. The Action Plan of the EUSBSR reflects the three objectives and comprises 13 Policy Areas (e.g. Tourism, Culture, Innovation) and 4 Horizontal Actions (Spatial Planning, Neighbours, Capacity, Climate).
The strategy aims at finding solutions beyond borders. Thus, a learning process between regions can be improved, the extension of networks fostered and the political awareness of the Baltic Sea region on EU level increased.
Flagship Projects: Flagships are projects or processes that best represent the progress of the EUSBSR and serve as pilot examples of intended transformation. Applying for a flagship status can be of help, in order to intensify the collaboration with the relevant Policy Area and therewith improve the visibility on policy/EU level. Currently, the majority of flagship projects is listed in the area of Innovation.
Further information on the EUSBSR and Flagship projects can be found here.