The day was started by the Swedish Institute’s Director General Madeleine Sjöstedt. Among other things, she highlighted Sweden’s active role in the development of the strategies. Sweden presided over the EU in 2009 when the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea region was decided and the framework for the EU’s Eastern Partnership was jointly initiated by Sweden and Poland the same year. Sjöstedt described this as the beginning of a decade of in-depth collaborations and also highlighted SI’s unique role in enabling collaborations on common challenges.
– Since 2013, we have supported over 260 projects, which included more than 1100 partners who through their projects have reached at least 15,000 actors in the region. Most partnerships last for many years after our support has ended. We see this as a sign that we are good at identifying projects with a long-term perspective and good potential for development.
Torbjörn Becker, Head of the Institute of Economics at the Stockholm School of Economics, spoke about the democratic development in the transition countries and Kurt Bratteby, Head of the Department of International Relations at the Swedish Institute described SI’s activities in the Baltic Sea region, available opportunities for cooperation and what the activities resulted in.
Sofia Wennerstrand, National Coordinator of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, the Cabinet of Ministers and Anna Westerholm, Sweden’s ambassador for the Eastern Partnership at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is nationally responsible for each strategy. They talked about the progress in the region since the strategies came into being ten years ago. They also described the work on ongoing revisions of the strategies and when they are expected to be decided.
During the day, participants were given tips and advice on how to communicate projects and share results. They also discussed opportunities and need for collaboration in the coming years and how SI can support that. They also received hands-on tips on what is important to consider when seeking funding from SI.
In connection with the conference, the call for seed-funding opened for applications until 12 February 2020. The funding is aimed at Swedish actors who want to work with cross-border joint challenges together with organisations from the countries around the Baltic Sea.