The structure and living conditions differ considerably between the member regions of Euroregion Baltic (ERB), which are Kronoberg, Kalmar and Blekinge Counties in Sweden, the Regional Municipality of Bornholm in Denmark, The Kurzeme Planning Region in Latvia, Klaipeda County in Lithuania, Kaliningrad Region of The Russian Federation, and the Pomeranian and Warmia-Masurian Regions in Poland.
The creation of ERB in 1998 was an expression of the member regions´ mutual interest of closer and deeper long-term cooperation in all fields of society - aiming at developing the ERB into being an economically and environmentally sustainable and prospering region in Northern Europe, and a front-runner in trans-national cooperation, including e.g. network building, knowledge transfer, competitive bench-marking and – not the least – best-in-class when it comes to implementing EU directives in especially the environment and energy fields that are of vital importance for the development of the whole Euroregion. This political cooperation is the framework within which the Seagull project has operated. The project results will be the frame – the programme – for central development activities for the entire ERB and thereby also deepening and concretising the long term cooperation between the ERB member regions, which decision bodies represent as much as 6 million citizens.
The Seagull project’s overall objective has been to contribute to the cohesion in the southeast Baltic Sea Region, utilizing the increasing economic potential in the region while at the same time taking social, environmental and cultural sustainability into consideration. The most central objective of the project has been to develop and politically decide upon a Joint Development Programme (JDP) for the region that will facilitate e.g. pre-feasibility studies and implementation activities concerning important investments for sustainable development, economic growth and cohesion.
About 200 trans-national/regional seminars and workshops, and two big conferences within the project’s five work packages. Over 5100 persons have participated in the meeting activities.
Twelve project reports are printed and published on the ERB web site: (1) Democracy in Euroregion Baltic, (2) The Lyckeby River-an attitude investigation about water issues – study I, (3) The Lyckeby River-Nature, culture, environment and The Lyckeby River Water Association, (4) Innovative centres and SMEs as vehicles in regional development, (5) Gender Equality in ERB, (6) Rural Areas in ERB-Empirical description, (7)Euroregion Baltic and the Baltic Sea, (7a) ATLAS-Euroregion Baltic and the Baltic Sea, (8) The role of regional industrial platforms and clusters in the development of ERB, (9) Cruise Tourism in the Baltic and Bothnian Sea – a pilot study on maritime tourism, (10) Women’s choice of living, and (11) Water within ERB.
Another twelve project reports are prepared, but available only in electronic form:
- Indicators for sustainable development within the ERB,
- Good Governance and Gender Equality in ERB – interview survey,
- Methods for Strengthening the Public Participation within ERB,
- The Lyckeby River – a follow up study about attitudes towards water issues – study II,
- Attitudes towards water issues in Kaliningrad and Sweden – a comparative study among people living around the Gurjevka River and the Lyckeby River,
- Information and Communication Strategy for ERB,
- Regional Strategies in the ERB – background paper,
- Results of an Inquiry to Science Parks and Innovative Centres in ERB,
- Review of Existing Links between Innovation Centres and Clusters in ERB,
- Statistics and Geographical Information Systems (GIS),
- GIS – Practice Exercises, and
- Rural Development and Local Democracy.
The reports have been important basic material for the work to form the Joint Development Programme (JDP) for ERB.
A Tool box has been developed concerning triple helix cooperation – published at the ERB web site.
Cross-sector partnerships for rural development have been initiated in four regions – Klaipeda County, Warmia-Masurian Region, Kurzeme Planning Region and Kaliningrad Region. Rural development pilot projects have been implemented in Sweden, Denmark and Russia.
Strong efforts have been put on information and anchoring activities about the project objectives, achievements and results to decision makers in the member regions, mainly within the public sector. Central examples are the electronic newsletter Seagull News that has been distributed to over 500 selected receivers, and that the second and third drafts of the JDP were in April respectively August 2005 sent to all ERB member regions for comments. All member regions
The final JDP was worked out during autumn 2005. It consists of three separate documents: (1) a Strategy for the long term development of ERB, including a vision for the region’s development until 2015 and four strategic areas for activities (see Summary above), (2) an Action Programme based on the strategy, and (3) a background document with facts and figures about ERB, some analyses, etc.
The documents are distributed to mainly public stakeholders in all ERB member regions and to national and EU decision bodies. They have been and will be distributed at different conferences about Baltic Sea cooperation, Interreg programmes and projects, etc.