About

About

What we are?

Horizontal Action Neighbours is one of the four Horizontal Actions in EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). It was included to the EUSBSR Action Plan in February 2013. The Strategy is an agreement between the Member States of the EU and the European Commission to strengthen cooperation between the countries bordering the Baltic Sea in order to meet the common challenges facing these countries today.

The Strategy has three main objectives (Save the Sea, Increase prosperity and Connect the Region) which all have several sub-objectives. The actions to attain these objectives are coordinated by Policy Areas (PAs) and Horizontal Actions (HAs). Policy Areas focus on thematic issues such as bioeconomy and Horizontal Actions on matters with a wider scope like the climate or international cooperation like HA Neighbours.

The set up of HA Neighbours was based on the understanding that close cooperation between EU Member States and neighbouring countries, at national, regional and local level, is vital to overcome many of the challenges in Baltic Sea region, and to fully exploit the regions potential.

The purpose of this HA is to bring together stakeholders in the EU and neighbouring countries, North Western territories of the Russian Federation, Norway, Belarus and Iceland, in a constructive, mutually advantageous manner.

What we do?

Increasing international cooperation is a vastly complex task and to achieve more cooperation one has to tackle a multitude of issues all of which vary in importance to each single stakeholder. HA Neighbours tackles this challenge in different ways. These include the promotion of the EUSBSR, developing processes and projects, increasing and more importantly mobilizing awareness in the stakeholders, staying in contact with other macro-regions and continuosly develop the methods and goals of HA Neighbours.

Promotion

HA Neighbours promotes the EUSBSR mainly in its target countries Belarus, Iceland, Norway and Russia. In practice this means rigorous research of the state of play in each country in relation to the EUSBSR and also, perhaps most importantly, regarding available funding and informing the stakeholders as comprehensively as possible. The coordinators of HA Neighbours stay continuously on top of developments in each country through, for example, media research and a contact network developed in each country. The dissemination of the information gathered is done via newsletters (which you can subscribe to at our homepage), our blog, face-to-face meetings, participation and organization of seminars, as well as through active social media presence (you can follow us on Twitter as well).

Mobilizing awareness and developing projects

The promotion and communication must also lead to something. Awareness is one thing but to mobilize this awareness in to action is a whole other matter. HA Neighbours strives to provide the stakeholders not only with information but with motivation and real possibilities to act. It is one thing to know that there is funding available for something but it is not so simple for an idea to sprout in to a project and perhaps at a later stage in to a process. The aim of our communications is not only to be informative but motivating. And as for the real possibilities we act as a supporting player to provide the potential stakeholders with assistance in thinking of new ideas, cooking them in to workable recipes of success and also in implementing them. We can also support the stakeholders in the thick jungle of rules and regulations that the EU funding mechanisms are.

In addition to research, communication, promotion and assistance HA Neighbours also develops and implements actions and processes itself within the limits of our other work. These may be AD HOC in relation to specific issues or they might be longer term and more prevalent structures.

If you have an idea for a project that would increase the amount of cross EU border cooperation in the EUSBSR or if indeed you are looking for a non-EU member in your project, please contact us!

Key actions

  • Joint promotion of the added value of Baltic Sea region cooperation “across borders”

  • Mobilising awareness and potential stakeholders in neighbouring countries

  • Developing and implementing practical cooperation processes and flagships beneficial for the development of EUSBSR and HA Neighbours goals

  • Developing dialogue and exchange with other macro-regions/neighbouring regions and relevant organisations

  • Continued dialogue and coordination with key partners of the EUSBSR on development of HA Neighbours

Dialogue with other macro-regions

The Baltic Sea region is one four macro-regions that the EU is developing with similar processes as the EUSBSR. These are the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR)EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP), and the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). All of the strategies have different issues with international cooperation but because of this they have a lot to offer each other in terms of dealing with them. HA Neighbours follows the developments and develops dialogue with the three other strategies and learns from them.

Previous Action Plans

Revision of the EUSBSR Action Plan in 2015 resulted in restructuring and optimization of the Strategy into 13 policy areas and 4 cross-cutting horizontal actions (compared to 17 policy areas and 5 horizontal actions before). The Action Plan 2015 also included a new chapter on the role of regional organisations/networks and presented key regional organisations and their added value within the EUSBSR.

In the 2015 version of the EUSBSR Action Plan, HA Neighbours was assigned with the following actions:

  • Continued dialogue and coordination with key partners of the EUSBSR on development of the horizontal action ‘Neighbours’
  • Joint promotion of the added value of Baltic Sea region cooperation ‘across the borders’
  • Mobilising awareness and potential stakeholders in neighbouring countries
  • Developing dialogue and exchange with other macro-regions/neighbouring regions and relevant organisations
  • Developing and  implementing practical cooperation processes  and  flagships  beneficial for the development of EUSBSR / horizontal action ‘Neighbours’ goals.

In March 2017 EUSBSR Action Plan was revised by the European Commission again. The changes, however, were mostly technical updates and corrections, and did not influence on the substance of the Action Plan, except for the chapters of PA Transport and PA Education.

The process of updating of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea region launched in 2012. Based on the experience gained from the implementation of the EUSBSR during the first three years, European Commission specified three overall objectives for the Strategy: “Save the Sea”, “Connect the Region” and “Increase Prosperity”. It was updated to reflect the new objectives, indicators and targets to be fully in line with and also to contribute to the objectives Europe 2020 Strategy. The updated Action Plan also presented Strategy implementation structured by priority areas and horizontal actions.

Thus, the revision of the EUSBSR Action Plan in 2013 marked the establishment of the “Neighbours” as one of the horizontal actions of the Strategy. HA Neighbours was built upon two initiatives: South Eastern Baltic Area Modernization Partnership (SEBA) and “Turku Process“. Its aim was set to increase the cooperation with neighbouring countries to tackle joint challenges in the Baltic Sea region.

In the 2013-2015 EUSBSR Action Plan, HA Neighbours was assigned with the following actions:

  • Promotion of higher education and professional networks with innovative enterprises
  • Strengthening Environmental Cross-Border Competence in the Baltic Sea Region
  • Fostering labour market related activities especially in the cross-border context
  • Promoting youth and student exchanges and co-operation in the Baltic Sea Region
  • Develop sustainable cross-border areas for tourism and economic development
  • Development of Private-Public Partnerships (PPP)
  • Cultural heritage and creative industries
  • Fostering cross-border  cooperation  through  youth  exchange  and  exchange  in  higher education.

The European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is the first Macro-regional Strategy in Europe. The Strategy was approved by the European Council in 2009 following a communication from the European Commission.

EUSBSR constitutes an integrated framework to address common challenges, such as the urgent environmental challenges related to the Baltic Sea. It aims to contribute to the economic success of the region, to its social and territorial cohesion, as well as to the competitiveness of the EU.

The first Strategy featured 15 priority areas within 4 thematic pillars and number of horizontal actions. It did not include “Neighbours” among the the priority areas of the Strategy, however, development of cooperation with interested third countries in the region was mentioned, notably, in the framework of the Northern Dimension cooperation, as well as through the activities of international bodies in the region (CBSS, HELCOM and Nordic Council of Ministers).

Duration and Funding

The EUSBSR has been around since 2009 and the HA Neighbours from 2013. First the work began with funding directly from the European Commission and after the first two project periods HA Neighbours´inputs and outputs have been organized around INTERREG BSR´s funding cycles. HA Neighbours has received funding so far from three cycles. Here we have gathered information about the earlier as well as the current project periods.

Basic Information

  • Funding Source: Interreg BSR Call P3
  • Project Name: EUSBSR Horizontal Action Neighbours
  • Project Acronym: HA Neighbours / HA N

Duration and Funding

  • Duration of the project: 10/2018 – 9/2020
  • Total Project budget: 200 000.00 €
  • Of which Interreg Support: 170 000.00 €

Basic Information

  • Funding Source: Interreg BSR Call P2
  • Project Name: EUSBSR Horizontal Action Neighbours
  • Project Acronym: HA Neighbours / HA N

Duration and Funding

  • Duration of the project: 6/2016 – 7/2018
  • Total Project budget: 199 240.00€
  • Of which Interreg Support: 169 354.00€

Basic Information

  • Funding Source: Interreg BSR Call P1 Split
  • Project Name: EUSBSR Horizontal Action Neighbours
  • Project Acronym: HA Neighbours / HA N

Duration and Funding

  • Duration of the project: 7/2015 – 6/2016
  • Total Project budget: 68 600.00€
  • Of which Interreg Support: 58 310.00€

Basic Information

  • Funding Source: European Comission
  • Project Name: EUSBSR Horizontal Action Neighbours
  • Project Acronym: HA Neighbours / HA N

Duration and Funding

  • Duration of the project: 11/2014 – 11/2015
  • Total Project budget: 87 466.00€
  • Of which support from the European Commission: 75 221.00€

Basic Information

  • Funding Source: European Comission
  • Project Name: EUSBSR Horizontal Action Neighbours
  • Project Acronym: HA Neighbours / HA N

Duration and Funding

  • Duration of the project: 11/2012 – 2/2014
  • Total Project budget: 70 000.00€
  • Of which support from the European Commission: 60 000.00€