Minister Pekka Haavisto: Celebrating the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 30.10.2019 11.14
News item

A winter view from the archipelago in the Gulf of Finland.

The Baltic Sea is vital for all of us living around it. It is a big part of our identity, our route out to the world, essential for our economy and recreation. The Sea provides us with all of it. Therefore, it is our duty to protect the Sea. Although a lot has been done, the state of the Baltic Sea is still not good. The climate change is making the task harder. We can succeed in our efforts only by cooperation.

The Baltic Sea cooperation is in the agenda of numerous organizations. Finland is currently holding the presidencies of two of them, the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region EUSBSR and the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission HELCOM. The objectives of the EUSBSR are saving the sea, connecting the region and increasing prosperity.

The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region was approved in 2009. Ten years ago, Finnish members of the European Parliament and the Government of Finland were active in initiating the Strategy. Today, I am happy to say that the Strategy has come a long way and achieved a lot. Its cross-sectoral, transnational and multilevel nature makes it a unique form of cooperation. Its bottom-up approach gives ownership and helps to engage regions, cities, civil society, academia and business.

After successful ten years it is time to look forward. The Action Plan of the Strategy is being revised in order to make it more strategic. The Annual Forum of the Baltic Sea Strategy will take place in Turku, 16-17 June, 2020 under the theme Towards an Innovative and Sustainable Decade.

Warm thanks to all stakeholders working for the Baltic Sea and congratulations to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region for its 10th year anniversary.

Pekka Haavisto

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland