Tuesday, 02 March 2021 11:07

Why neighbourhood cooperation matters? Webinar zoomed into Norway & EUSBSR

Written by  Let's communicate!

The new EUSBSR Action Plan talks about “mainstreaming neighbourhood cooperation”. But what does this mean in practice? One example of the work was the webinar "Norway & EU - EUSBSR Action Plan enabling neighbourhood cooperation” organized on 25 February 2021.

When talking about mainstreaming of neighbourhood cooperation, we mean that we want to integrate the cooperation with neighbouring non-EU countries in all EUSBSR Policy Areas. The webinar was one step towards supporting EUSBSR stakeholders to find opportunities to cooperate with neighbours - this time with Norway.



The event was opened by Ambassador Per Sjaastad from the Norwegian Mission to EU. He congratulated the EUSBSR for the newly adopted Action Plan and was pleased to see its strong environmental and maritime focus and the emphasis on SDGs.

Ambassador Sjaastad stressed Norway’s long history of cooperation in the EU and in the Baltic Sea region.  But what makes EU cooperation attractive also for non-EU countries?

This question was addressed by Johan Magnusson, Team Leader from the EU Commission DG Regio.

He pointed out the benefits of macro-regional strategies: they enable to connect European priorities with regional priorities and tailor them to their own context to address challenges and opportunities. They also strengthen the relations between participating countries through increased collaboration.

Macro-regional strategies allow countries to be part of a broader context, particularly when it comes to non-EU neighbours. Strategies are an opportunity to work with issues that not all countries have previous experience from and to bring along expertise for the benefit of the whole region. 



The new Action Plan provides a momentum for new stakeholders to join. The Strategy is open to all kind of stakeholders, also neighbours, reminded Valentina Frezzella who delivered a presentation by the

 the current Chair of EUSBSR National Coordinators' Group Simon Stermann, from the German Foreign Office.

Policy Area Coordinators were encouraged to make the most of the mainstreaming: they are the driving force of boosting cooperation in the region!



Norway has long traditions of cooperation in many platforms in the Baltic Sea Region. How about their participation in the EUSBSR, what is the added value for Norway?

Olav Berstad, Senior Adviser from Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented some points. First of all, the new Action Plan was praised by the mainstreaming aspect instead of having neighbourhood cooperation as a separate horizontal action.

For Norway, EUSBSR is an interesting platform to engage and act within. Norway has certain priorities, such as, clean shipping, maritime affairs and clean energy, where it can bring its expertise and where cooperation is beneficial for Norway.



In the webinar, two EUSBSR Flagships, STM Balt Safe and EFFECT4Buildings, shared their experiences on successful cooperation. Good relations between neighbouring countries is the key to start new projects and initiatives.

Strong policy cooperation and political leadership is needed too, said PA Innovation Coordinator Esa Kokkonen. Otherwise, we risk losing potential to solve common challenges.

The aim of PA Innovation is to involve Norway in all their activities, which clearly speaks on behalf of positive experiences and added value of neighbourhood cooperation.



At the moment, Let’s Communicate! project is responsible for mainstreaming neighbourhood cooperation. It includes consultations, match making, facilitating dialogue and creating synergies between different actors to boost cooperation. In addition to Norway, the plan is to reach out to other neighbouring countries, too.

Once the Baltic Sea Strategy Point is up and running, it will take over mainstreaming activities. 



The webinar was arranged within the framework of the Let’s Communicate project together with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Mission to EU and Eastern Norway County Network – and as a part of the EU Macro Regional Strategies Week 2021.


Read 5000 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 March 2021 13:03