Date, time: 5 October 2023, 14:30-16:00 EEST

Venue: The Small Guild  (address: Amatu iela 5, Riga, Latvia)


Description of the session:

How do Interreg Baltic Sea Region projects help implement the EUSBSR Action Plan? Past achievements, new solutions, and opportunities for future cooperation. Learn what the Interreg projects are good at, where the biggest need for transnational Interreg cooperation is in the Region in the future, and what we can already say about the third call for applications coming in the very near future.

For over a decade, the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region have been working in a strong and unique partnership that has brought great benefits to the region and its people. The Strategy’s and Interreg Baltic Sea Region’s objectives are well aligned. The Programme has helped ideas relevant to the Strategy to develop into projects, build up networks, and bring solutions to challenges defined in the Strategy. Programme funding has supported the policy area coordinators advance in reaching the objectives set out in the Strategy’s action plan. 

  • Turning 25 years in 2023, Interreg Baltic Sea Region will share its past achievements that helped kick-start the implementation of the Strategy.
  • Interreg project implementors will present new solutions they develop for the acute challenges in the macro-region.
  • Policy area coordinators of the Strategy will reflect on how the Programme and its projects help them advance the implementation of the Action Plan of the Strategy.
  • Representatives of the European Commission and Programme stakeholders will discuss the added value and opportunities for future transnational cooperation in the macro-region.
  • MA/JS will give the first information about the preparations for the third call for applications.



Ms. Eeva Rantama, Team Leader, Programme Unit, Interreg Baltic Sea Region Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat

Eeva works at the Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme since 2003. Currently, she coordinates the Programme Unit that is responsible for programme management and communication.



Ms. Elena Kolosova, Advisor for External Cooperation, Interreg Baltic Sea Region Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat

Elena is responsible for the Programme support to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. She also coordinates the Programme cooperation with neighbouring countries and other EU funding programmes including projects’ cooperation platforms.


Ms. Elsi Kauppinen, Coordinator of the EUSBSR Policy Area ‘Nutri’, Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southwest Finland

Elsi is a newcomer as a coordinator for Policy Area Nutri.  She is armed with a PhD from University of Warsaw and working experience from the regional environmental office of South-West Finland, the cooperation at macro-regional level has offered plenty of challenges to develop the professional know-how. Nevertheless, she has been developing the way Nutri cooperates with projects and other stakeholders.


Mr. Björn Grönholm, Director of Strategic Projects, City of Turku, Finland

Björn works as a Director of Strategic Projects at the City of Turku. Before, he was the Head of Secretariat of the Commission on the Environment at the Union of the Baltic Cities. Björn Grönholm holds Master of Political Science in International Relations from Åbo Akademi University Finland.


Mr. Tobias Facchini, Coordinator for Environment, Region Kalmar County, Sweden

Tobias has been working for the Region Kalmar County for fourteen years as an environmental coordinator and project manager specialized in water-related issues. Water has become an area of great concern for regional development where local actors from different sectors need to strengthen their capacities to meet new challenges following climate change. An important part of his work on a regional level is therefore to enhance cooperation to secure exchange of knowledge between stakeholders at all levels.


Mr. Esa Kokkonen, Coordinator of the EUSBSR Policy Area ‘Innovation’, The Baltic Institute of Finland

Esa is a keen promoter of Baltic Sea region and European cooperation with 25 years’ experience of leadership in projects, networks and events covering a wide range of innovation topics. Esa holds M.Pol.Sci (Int.rel.) from the University of Turku and has also studied international relations and international law at the University of Michigan. Esa also serves as the main coordinator of Policy Area Innovation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.


Ms. Anna Broka, Research Assistant, Institute of Social, Economic and Humanities Research, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Latvia

Anna has a long practical experience in work with disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of society - persons with disabilities, children and youth from poor families, Roma populations and others. Beyond her academic career, she is leading a social enterprise and empowering local people rural community of Liepa. She is convinced that small steps make big changes!


Ms. Beata Fabisiak, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Furniture Design, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Poland

Beata works as an assistant professor in the Department of Furniture Design at the Poznan University of Life Sciences. For over 14 years now, she has been working on the possibilities of improving the standard of living of particularly vulnerable groups: seniors, children and people with disabilities due to the usage of creativity and design. She has been leading several international projects, co-funded by the European Union, dedicated to the subject of designing for seniors.


Ms. Iruma Kravale, Director of the Development Instruments Department, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Latvia

Iruma is a long-term Member of the Monitoring Committee for the Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme. The extensive experience and knowledge in managing the EU mainstream funds has allowed her to successfully coordinate also the implementation of nine Interreg programmes in Latvia, including the establishment and effective functioning of the Managing Authority for Latvia – Lithuania Cross-Border and External cooperation programmes. She is proud of all Latvian project partners who are active users of Interreg opportunities to improve the quality of life in the Baltic Sea region.


Ms. Nathalie Verschelde, Deputy Head of Unit, Macro-regions, Transnational/Interregional/External Cooperation, Enlargement, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission

Nathalie joined the transnational cooperation and macro-regional strategies unit in DG REGIO on 1 January 2023, after seven years in the cross-border cooperation unit, and a previous spell in the Interreg/MRS unit previously.  She is very keen to engage about the added-value territorial cooperation in all its shape can bring to the European project. She is passionate about border life, and how diversity makes us all better and stronger, wherever we are located in the EU and its neighbourhood.


Mr. Ronald Lieske, Director, Interreg Baltic Sea Region Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat

Ronald represents the Programme’s Managing Authority (MA) and the Joint Secretariat (JS). He is responsible for the overall Programme and staff management at the offices of the MA and the JS (Kiel & Rostock).