EUSBSR History

In 2012, based on the experience gained since the introduction of the 2009 Action Plan, the Commission defined three overall objectives for the EUSBSR: ‘Save the Sea’, ‘Connect the Region’ and ‘Increase Prosperity’. In addition, the Commission proposed to set measurable indicators and targets for each objective. To reflect these changes, the Action Plan was updated in 2013, in line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Like its predecessor, the updated Action Plan structures the work of the Strategy by priority areas and horizontal actions and presents the detailed actions and flagships projects, through which the objectives would be achieved. In addition, the updated Action Plan introduces governance (AP 2013, p. 11) of the EUSBSR, including descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of the main implementing actors. As before, the priority areas and horizontal actions were to be coordinated by Member States, although the update also allowed the task to be appointed to other bodies (AP 2013, p. 9).

With the update, the number of priority areas was increased from 15 to 17, while the number of horizontal actions was decreased from 10 to 5. In addition, the updated Action Plan organised the priority areas and horizontal actions according to the three overall objectives, as opposed to the four pillars of the 2009 Action Plan. The new Action Plan also added climate change as a cross-cutting horizontal consideration (AP 2013, p. 10) to be adequately included in the implementation of the objectives, sub-objectives, priority areas, horizontal actions and flagship projects of the Action Plan.


Objectives and sub-objectives

1. Save the Sea

  • Clear water in the sea
  • Rich and healthy wildlife
  • Clean and safe shipping
  • Better cooperation

2. Connect the Region

  • Good transport conditions
  • Reliable energy markets
  • Connecting people in the region
  • Better cooperation in fighting cross-border crime

3. Increase Prosperity

  • EUSBSR as a frontrunner for deepening and fulfilling the single market
  • EUSBSR contributing to the implementation of Europe 2020 Strategy
  • Improved global competitiveness of the Baltic Sea Region
  • Climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management


Priority Areas

  • PA Agri – Reinforcing sustainability of agriculture, forestry and fisheries
  • PA Bio – Preserving natural zones and biodiversity, including fisheries
  • PA Crime – Fighting cross-border crime
  • PA Culture – Developing and promoting the common culture and cultural identity
  • PA Education – Developing innovative education and youth
  • PA Energy – Improving the access to, and the efficiency and security of the energy markets
  • PA Hazards – Reducing the use and impact of hazardous substances
  • PA Health – Improving and promoting people’s health, including its social aspects
  • PA Innovation – Exploiting the full potential of the region in research and innovation
  • PA Internal Market – Removing hindrances to the internal market
  • PA Nutri – Reducing nutrient inputs to the sea to acceptable levels
  • PA Safe – To become a leading region in maritime safety and security
  • PA Secure – Protection from emergencies and accidents on land
  • PA Ship – Becoming a model region for clean shipping
  • PA SME – Promote entrepreneurship and strengthen the growth of SMEs
  • PA Tourism – Reinforcing cohesiveness of the macro-region through tourism
  • PA Transport – Improving internal and external transport links


Horizontal Actions

  • HA Involve – Strengthening multi-level governance including involving civil society, business and academia
  • HA Neighbours – To increase the co-operation with neighbouring countries to tackle joint challenges in the Baltic Sea region
  • HA Promo – Boosting joint promotion and regional identity building actions
  • HA Spatial Planning – Encouraging the use of Maritime and Land-based Spatial Planning in all Member States around the Baltic Sea and develop a common approach for cross-border cooperation
  • HA Sustainable development and bio-economy