Baltic Sea Region

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Baltic Sea Region

- The EESC supports the four aims of the Baltic Sea Strategy, which seek to make the region 1) an environmentally sustainable place, 2) a prosperous place, 3) an attractive and accessible place and 4) a safe and secure place.

- The EESC underlines the vital role of organised civil society in implementing the Baltic Sea Strategy. The EESC recommends that the Commission set up a consultative "Baltic Sea Civil Society Forum" in order to ensure organised civil society's involvement in the Baltic Sea Strategy.

- The EESC believes that citizens' active participation will take on increasing importance in the future, even in those sectors and areas which have traditionally been managed by the public sector. Environmental protection in the Baltic Sea region is a good example of this.

- The external relations dimension of the Baltic Sea Strategy must be linked to cooperation within the Northern Dimension.

- The EESC believes that the implementation of the Baltic Sea Strategy will require the establishment of its own separate budget, otherwise the strategy risks remaining merely a political statement and will not achieve its aims.

- Promoting economic growth and prosperity requires institutional measures from the EU, in particular the strengthening of the international treaty base. The EESC considers that strengthening the economy of the Baltic Sea region will enhance its attractiveness and promote the creation of a Baltic Sea brand. Economic growth would also bring wider benefits to the EU area as a whole, improving the functioning of internal markets and economic integration.

- The EESC is of the view that following the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, as agreed by the EU and the Baltic coastal states, is the best way of protecting the Baltic Sea environment.