Text: Anja Karppinen


The EUSBSR National Coordinators Group (NCG), which is the core decision-making body within the governance structure of the EUSBSR, had two official meetings in April 2023. On the agenda among other things, were the Council Conclusions on the European Commission Report on the Implementation of the Macro-regional Strategies, cooperation with the Managing Authority Networks, and endorsing a precedent of an extended invitation of observers to a Policy Area Steering Group.

The EU Council Conclusions on the Commission report guide the future work of the Commission, which provides strategic advice to the NCG on managing and developing the strategy. Based on the Council Conclusions, the Commission also gives guidance on prioritising strategic EU frameworks and policies. The first intervention on the draft Council Conclusions took place on 24 April. The Presidency took note of the comments and suggestions provided by the NCG to be transmitted to SMOR (European Commission to the Council Working Party on Structural Measures and Outermost Regions). SMOR is responsible for issues concerning the development and conduct of cohesion policy. The next round of reviews will be held on 23 May, and Council Conclusions of the report is expected to be adopted at the EU General Affairs Council in June 2023.

NCG discussed the status of cooperation with the Managing Authorities networks for the EU Structural Funds. NCG endorsed the cooperation with the ESF+, ERDF, and possibly other networks as a strategic cooperation in preparation for the upcoming EU funding period (2028–2035) and funding sources for the EUSBSR implementation. The NCG also discussed the possible engagement of Policy Area Coordinators and Policy Area Steering Groups in the MA Network cooperation. 

The NCG endorsed Policy Area Culture's decision to include a thematically important group of NGOs, IGOs, and two Youth representatives in the future Steering Group meetings of Policy Area Culture. Each policy area has a steering group with representatives of the national or regional governments of the EUSBSR Member States. Policy Areas are entitled to invite observers outside this group to their Steering Group meetings.

As it is the first time that such an extensive invitation to Policy Area's Steering Group has taken place, the BSP asked the NCG for guidance and input on these processes in case a similar situation would arise in the future. The NCG indicated that in the future the BSP should take particular attention to Russia’s participation in any regional body set to participate as observers in PA’s Steering Group meetings. The following NGOs and IGOs have been granted observer status in the PA Culture Steering Group: ARS BALTICA, CBSS (Regional Identity Unit), NDPC, Baltic Region Heritage Committee, BSSSC, and Nordic Council of Ministers.


See the full minutes of the National Coordinators meeting here

The next NCG meeting takes place on 6 June 2023 in Visby, Sweden.