The European Commission has launched an online public consultation of the EU's future Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.
Member states, regional and local authorities, NGOs, inter-governmental bodies, and the general public are invited to put forward their views on the strategy between now and 31 December 2008.
"To make this strategy a success, we need to work together with member states, with regions and cities, the private sector, interest groups and the public. We want as many people as possible onboard and that is why we are launching this online consultation," said Danuta Hubner, EU regional policy commissioner.
"We need your ideas, your energy, your knowledge and your expertise to help us deliver the best results, for the benefit of all," Hubner added.
The consultation seeks feedback on the four main proposed objectives of the strategy: to make the region more environmentally sustainable, to make the region more prosperous, to make the region more accessible and attractive, and to make it safe and secure.
Since the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, when Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland became members of the European Union, the Baltic has practically become an internal EU sea. The Baltic Sea Strategy is also seen as a practical channel of co-operation with Russia, the only non-EU country on the Baltic Sea.
The initiative for the Baltic Sea strategy came from the European Parliament, and one of its initiators was then member of the European Parliament, now President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves. The European Council has asked the European Commission to draw up the preliminary outline of the strategy by next June.
Conference debates on the future strategy have already begun: the first of them took place at the end of September in Stockholm, and further debates will take place in Gdansk in November, in Copenhagen and in Helsinki in December, and in Rostock in February.
When the European Commission publishes the preliminary outline of the strategy, it will also include an action plan identifying the key actors, financial instruments for implementation and a timeframe for completion.
The consultation is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_p...
(Ref. Estonian Review)
EC launches public consultation of Baltic Sea Region Strategy