Text: Viktoriia Hladii, Baltic Sea Strategy Point


NCG in Riga 14 Sep 2023

EUSBSR National Coordinators, and representatives of EU Commission, DG REGIO; Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme, and the Baltic Sea Strategy Point in Riga on 14 September 2023.


The first meeting of the National Coordinators Group (NCG) of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) under the Latvian Presidency 2023-2024 took place on Wednesday, 14th of September in Riga. The meeting has raised a set of important topics on the implementation and strategic planning for the next years, such as the next Action Plan revision, funding sources for the implementation, and cooperation with Norway.


NCG discussed the status of implementing the Action Plan, as well as the next steps for the Strategy ahead of the mid-term evaluation and beginning of the next EU long-term budget planning. An important discussion arose around the next possible Action Plan revision. To secure better alignment of the Action Plan’s policy actions and indicators with the allocated financial resources to the Baltic Sea Region, the revision should go hand-in-hand with the programming of the EU 2028-2034 budget.

Previous revision of the EUSBSR Action Plan, which was finalised in 2021, was heavily focused on the governance structure. This time, the Action Plan revision shall be based on added value and achievements. The Presidency informed that it would focus on the launch of the Action Plan revision process in the second half of the Latvian Presidency.

NCG discussed status of the EUSBSR funding nationally in the Member States and shared the existing practices and knowledge regarding current collaboration with the funding bodies and Managing Authorities. Having the connection established with the Managing Authorities of the EU funds is a complex task and requires participation in the working groups across different Ministries. However, certain funding programmes, such as Interreg Baltic Sea Region, are already closely connected to the Strategy by including Policy Area Coordinators (PACs) in its funding calls assessment and in providing advice to the applicants.

Furthermore, Baltic Strategy Point (BSP) presented to the NCG the overview of the planned activities for the upcoming year. BSP is a support unit for the Strategy, tasked by the NCG to provide administrative and technical support for the Strategy’s management, development and communication. Among the priorities for the BSP for the months to come are finalisation of the first version of the Monitoring & Evaluation Framework as well as ongoing work on Strategy’s communication guidelines. Among the other planned activities of BSP for the upcoming year are climate cooperation and streamlining climate work to all Policy Areas, continued support to the ongoing and new initiatives towards Ukraine, cooperation with the Managing Authorities Networks for the EU funds in the region, cross-sectoral cooperation for the Strategy implementers, and last, but not least, continuous support to the organisers of the next Annual Fora.

Finally, NCG discussed status quo and prospects of cooperation with Norway and Iceland within the EUSBSR. The discussion has focused mainly on the cooperation with Norway, as Iceland has not participated in the EUSBSR on the NCG level before. Norway’s participation in the EUSBSR is based on the European Commission’s Communication concerning the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (2009) as well as the EUSBSR Action Plan (2021). NCG welcomed the idea of continuing collaboration, especially on the practical level, letting Norwegian partners to contribute where they wish to and have the capacity. NCG concluded that there are no objections to inviting Norway to the NCG for collaboration. The Presidency is to initiate the process with the counterparts at the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs in due time.


See the full minutes of the National Coordinators meeting here.
The next NCG meeting, under the Latvian EUSBSR Presidency, will take place on 29th of November.