Although the Baltic Sea Region Strategy can be a model blueprint for other regions in Europe, it has yet to deliver on its ambitions, said Henri Malosse, President of the Employers’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) at a conference in Finland.
The statement was made yesterday in Helsinki, where the Employer’s Group of the EESC and business federations from Sweden, Finland and Estonia held discussions on business cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. The meeting, of which the first part was held in Helsinki yesterday and the second part in Stockholm today, has just ended.
Henri Malosse hailed the Baltic Sea Region Strategy as an example for future cooperation on macro-regional strategies in the EU. It has given momentum for a similar strategy for the Danube Region, he said.
Regional strategies are a means of promoting integration in the European Union. “By pooling together resources, the Baltic Sea countries have been contributing to advancing European integration”, said Henri Malosse.
Yet the Baltic Sea Strategy is not free of problems; although well designed, its ideas are yet to be implemented and goals achieved, said Jacek Krawczyk, Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Committee. “Many enterprises would like to export and cooperate more across the border, yet they do not do it at the moment”, he added.
“Europe has not been efficient enough in mobilising private capital in the Baltic Sea Region”, stated Michael Smyth, President of the EESC Section for Economic and Monetary Union, Economic and Social Cohesion.
Russia is key to the success of the Baltic Sea strategy
Although Russia is not an integral part of the Baltic Sea Strategy, “good relations with Russia are crucial to the success of the strategy”, said Filip Hamro-Drotz, Finnish Member of the EESC Employers’ Group.
The conference adopted a statement in which participants called for boosting EU-Russia trade and business cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. “Trade and economic cooperation with neighbouring Russia should be actively facilitated through further harmonisation of laws, regulations, customs and other procedures to spur cross-border economic activity”, it read.
The statement will be submitted to the European Commission’s 3rd Annual Forum on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the 14th Baltic Development Forum Summit, which will gather in Copenhagen on 17-19 June 2012. They will be held under the headline “Connecting Europe – Smart and Green Partnerships in the Baltic Sea Region”.