Euroregion Baltic as a mediator between the local municipalities and other NGOs
Marek Grzybowski : An exclusive interview for eBlue Economy
Euroregion Baltic works as a mediator between the local municipalities and other NGOs and the upper strategic levels, meaning the regional, national, international levels besides the EU’s bound thanks to the INTERREG South Baltic Programme and close cooperation with the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Our project partners have a similar role, being close to their stakeholders and raising awareness on the value of transnational cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region
Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło (PhD), Head of the International Permanent Secretariat of the Euroregion Baltic and 3 questions in exclusive interviews for eBlue Economy
Marek Grzybowski: How long has The Association of Polish Communes (STG) been operating? What is the main goal of the Association?
Magda Leszczyna – Rzucidło: The Association of Polish Communes (STG) is a non-profit cross-border cooperation organisation with 39 municipalities from Pomorskie and Warmia-Mazury regions. It was established in 1997, and its activities focus on developing international cooperation in tourism, culture, environmental protection, and especially people to people cross-border collaboration on the local and regional levels. In different roles, the STG took part in many projects. It hosts the Euroregion Baltic (ERB) International Permanent Secretariat (IPS), coordinating the ERB cooperation. Acting with ERB IPS, the STG could provide broad knowledge and experience concerning cross-border cooperation in the South Baltic Area
Marek Grzybowski: The association carries out numerous projects whose task is to integrate the regions. What are these projects?
Magda Leszczyna – Rzucidło: We also cooperate with ERB Youth Board (YB), founded in 2007, connecting active young people on youth issues from all ERB regions. We dispose of a big group of enthusiastic young people through our municipality, local authorities from North of Poland – Pomorskie and Warmia-Mazury regions. The aim of the Association is, taking into account the specifics of the position of the Euroregion in the area south-east of the Baltic Sea, at the junction of Polish, Russia (Kaliningrad), Lithuania, and through the Baltic – Sweden and Denmark (Island of Bornholm) to use as much as possible of European initiatives which are planned in various programs relating to this part of Europe, and action to improve the living conditions of the people living in the area of the Association, with particular emphasis on border areas.
Marek Grzybowski: One of the important projects in the Baltic Sea region is the Umbrella 2.0 project. Who can be a project beneficiary? What activities does the Umbrella project include?
Magda Leszczyna – Rzucidło: The Umbrella 2.0 project was initiated by the Euroregion Baltic (ERB) and is implemented throughout 2021 with two partners: Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC) and Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation (BSSSC). This project is funded by the Swedish Institute, which has supported Baltic Sea cooperation for many years, especially among the local actors. The project also builds on two previous capacity building projects successfully implemented by the Euroregion Baltic and its Partners within the Interreg South Baltic Programme.
Euroregion Baltic works as a mediator between the local municipalities and other NGOs and the upper strategic levels, meaning the regional, national, international levels besides the EU’s bound thanks to the INTERREG South Baltic Programme and close cooperation with the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Our project partners have a similar role, being close to their stakeholders and raising awareness on the value of transnational cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region.
Umbrella 2.0 and its partners want to be ambassadors of the EUSBSR, EU Green Deal and UN SDGs, bringing more newcomers and bottom-up actors onboard.
We propose our project to the newcomers. That’s how we call the representatives of small NGOs and municipalities, practitioners, working in those institutions from all sectors who need to build their knowledge, understanding, and skills to work effectively in EUSBSR partnership. Also, they are EUSBSR actors with some experience who wish to complement and formalise their learning with the latest EU/EUSBSR frameworks, innovative and practical tools etc.
Thnking about them we see our project mission as follows:
– To raise awareness of opportunities and benefits of transnational and cross-border cooperation and increase regional stakeholders’ interest in it;
– To empower stakeholders to build strategic and long term-partnerships, support networking, and straighten community of practitioners in different sectors;
– To improve knowledge of the EU, its financial instruments and relevant strategies, with particular focus on the EUSBSR;
– To explore the opportunities and benefits of being part of EUSBSR and offer practical guidelines on how to engage in the long-term.
The graphic below presents the offer we have for the Baltic Sea newcomers in 2021