By Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Honorary Chairman BDF
If we want the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region to be a success, we must involve the citizens and stakeholders in the area. Therefore, communication and information are crucial tools to reach that goal. Much has been done. But there is still a long way to go. We must increase our ambitions.
When the Strategy was launched Baltic Development Forum presented an innovative project that could improve the external information and communication. We called it “newsWave” in the hope that the information wave would hit the countries around the Baltic Sea, so that the citizens could feel they were connected as neighbors.
Today the newsWave is filling in the information gap – and the toddler, the Strategy, has also shown its added value to the macro-region.
It is so obvious that countries in Europe can benefit from working closer together in order to solve specific problems and enable certain opportunities to be realized. It simply makes good sense because it reflects that EU-programmes and policies needs to be better targeted so that they take into account the specificities of the region and the cultural conditions on the ground.
The beauty of the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is that it tries to deepen regional cooperation and integration – while at the same time respecting wider European cohesion and key policies such as the internal market. Regional co-operation in the Baltic Sea Region is not meant to split up Europe and add to the disintegrating forces. On the contrary, it is to strengthen Europe.
It has been well reasoned by the President of Estonia, Toomas Ilves: The Baltic Sea has, for all intents and purposes, turned into a European Union lake, sharing not only a common waterway, once again free for movement of people, goods and services but sharing in large part a common cultural heritage as well as legislation.
In this spirit: Let’s do some splashing and make more waves!
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