Text: Anna Hagström, Swedish National Coordinator


Dear Friends of the Baltic Sea Region,

This past year, Sweden has been chairing the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region during a turbulent time in the region.

To begin with, we assumed the presidency during the pandemic, when most of the operational work had been put on hold. In addition to this, the ongoing war in our neighbourhood made our focus for the year clear. 

As a consequence, strengthening and implementing the Strategy and its Action Plan has been central to our Presidency. This has included developing new forms of cooperation and participation, especially with Ukraine. We have also restarted our live meetings which has reminded us about how important networking and exchange of views are in the world of the Strategy.  

Together, we have all communicated the strategy and made it visible to the most possible extent. Our initiative with establishing collaboration forms with Ukraine is one excellent example of that. In December we hosted an event at the Prime Minister’s Office on how to promote cooperation to support Ukraine’s reconstruction. This was an important initiative since it was the first formal dialogue within the framework of the Strategy on concrete areas where we can cooperate to support Ukraine. 

Even though we have had our Presidency under a really challenging period for us all, and of course most certainly for our Ukrainian friends, this year has reminded us about the importance of strong collaboration forms on all levels within the EU. The Macro-regional Strategies are important and excellent tools in order to face the challenges that we have in our Region. 

On Tuesday June 27, the Council Conclusions on the Commission’s 4th report on the implementation of EU Macro-regional Strategies was adopted at the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg. This was in many ways a symbolic signal on the importance of what we all are working with on an everyday basis in the world of macro-regional strategies.

Even though Sweden’s chairmanship of the Strategy is now coming to an end, we will soon have reason to return to all these issues that we have focused on this Presidency year: in 2024, Sweden will host the Annual Forum of the Baltic Sea Strategy. We look forward to welcoming you all to Sweden soon! 

Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to wish our Latvian colleagues all the best for their Presidency 23/24.  Feels comforting to know that Latvia will continue the efforts identifying and promoting ways of contribution to the reconstruction of Ukraine but also to continue the important work in putting the Action Plan into practice and promote its implementation.

Anna Hagström, Swedish National Coordinator


EUSBSR flags June 2023

Flagging to celebrating the cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region. Visby, June 2023.