SOUTH BALTIC CROSS-BORDER CO-OPERATION PROGRAMME
The overall objective of the South Baltic (SB) programme, which is the new initiative implemented within the framework of the European Territorial Cooperation objective, is to strengthen the sustainable development of the South Baltic area through joint actions increasing its competitiveness and enhancing integration among people and institutions.
The SB is characterised by geographically large area encompassing regions from five European Union Members States. The area eligible for the Programme includes the following NUTS III units:
Poland - Szczecinski, Koszalinski, Slupski, Gdanski, Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot sub-regions and as adjacent (according to the “20% rule”): Elblaski sub-region;
Sweden - Kalmar, Blekinge, Skane Counties and as adjacent: Kronoberg County;
Germany - sub-regions of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: Greifswald, Rostock, Stralsund, Wismar, Bad Doberan, Nordvorpommern, Nordwestmecklenburg, Ostvorpommern, Rügen, Uecker-Randow;
Denmark - Regional Municipality of Bornholm and as adjacent: Zealand sub-region;
Lithuania - Klaipeda County and as adjacent: Taurage and Telsiai Counties.
The South Baltic Programme involves new and old EU Member States which achieved different levels of economical and social development. Additional lack of cross-border structures covering the whole area results in the needs for cooperation and taking joint actions intended to increase economic competitiveness, supporting integration among people and institutions, and sustainable development of the SB area. The SB Programme assistance will be concentrating on common problems requiring common solutions. The Programme has three priorities:
Priority Axis 1: Economic Competitiveness
Indicative actions within Priority axis 1 are:
- Strengthening of platforms and networks for better liaising between small and medium sized enterprises in the South Baltic area,
- Joint initiatives of intermediary support structures for SMEs (development agencies, business foundations, chambers of commerce and industry, chambers of crafts, technological parks, business incubators etc.) aimed to improve absorption of innovations and increase of competences in the private sector,
- Enhancement of research networks (universities and R&D institutions) towards their better linkages to enterprises and local and regional governments,
- Development of practical solutions increasing application of international research findings in a concrete business environment,
- Testing and dissemination of best systemic and organisational models for the triple-helix concept;
Integration of higher education and labour markets:
- Joint actions of labour market institutions dedicated to an increase of the labour force mobility and to counteract negative processes on the cross-border labour market (e.g. 'brain-drain', youth unemployment, exclusion of gender or age groups, ageing of the population etc.),
- Joint actions of labour offices, business organisations, unions and educational institutions for the preparation of practical solutions in the field of education and lifelong learning, adaptable to changing requirements of the labour market and its advancing integration in the South Baltic area,
- Development of practical solutions to improve accessibility of educational centres and availability of new forms of education (e.g. e-learning, exchange courses for researchers) on the integrating labour market in the South Baltic area,
- Provision and testing of training programmes for SMEs in their activities on the cross-border labour market in order to improve their communication and inter-culture skills;
- Preparation and implementation of feasibility studies for transport bottlenecks and missing links hindering formation of a coherent multimodal transport system in the South Baltic area, based on a prioritised list of investments of the cross-border relevance,
- Joint actions of infrastructure owners, cargo owners and traffic operators dedicated to quality improvement of transport connections and creation of new links,
- Provision of practical solutions to increase sustainability and quality of passenger transport services in the South Baltic area;
Priority Axis 2: Attractiveness and Common Identity
Indicative actions within Priorityaxis 2:
Management of the Baltic Sea environment:
- Preparation and implementation of small-scale pilot projects for modern water and waste management, with particular attention for environmental hot-spots in the coastal areas,
- Joint cross-border actions aiming at decreasing the outflows of nutrients and pesticides from small and diffuse sources, such as farms, farming land, smaller settlements and private households,
- Joint cross-border actions to enhance local and regional preparedness and response in case of natural and/or environmental disasters on the Baltic Sea, including cross-border risk management systems and related infrastructure,
- Competence building and co-operation between local and regional authorities in the field of local contingency planning and modern water management,
- Development of strategies and methods for Integrated Coastal Zone Management and sea use planning based on joint cross-border solutions;
Energy saving and renewable energy:
- Exchange of knowledge, preparation and implementation of joint action plans on renewable energy sources and energy saving patterns,
- Joint research, testing and preparation of small-scale pilot investments in the field of renewable energy,
- Promotion of South Baltic achievements in the field of energy saving and renewable energy on internal and external fora;
Sustainable use of natural and cultural heritage for regional development:
- Development of cross-border strategies for preservation and use of natural and cultural heritage sites, areas, landscapes and traditions for regional development,
- Joint creation of sustainable tourism products (e.g. cross-border thematic routes) respecting protection needs for natural and cultural heritage,
- Preparation and implementation of small-scale pilot investments enhancing tourism infrastructure in the South Baltic area (e.g. chains of tourist facilities along the Baltic Sea coast, like small ports or yacht marinas),
- Capacity-building actions and joint campaigns targeting cross-border networks of authorities responsible for management of natural and cultural heritage sites,
- Joint actions promoting the South Baltic area as a tourist destination,
- Exchanging know-how and promotion of Eco-Management and Audit Scheme as well as joint eco-labelling actions for environmentally friendly products,
- Development and dissemination of good practice in the field of equal access to the tourist offer in the South Baltic area (including physical access to sites);
Local community initiatives:
- Joint events increasing involvement of local communities and institutions, administrative structures, media and NGOs, with a particularly focus on young generation and on rural areas in the South Baltic area,
- Conferences, training seminars and study visits for an exchange of good practice within specific fields of interest, e.g. economic planning, employment, social inclusion, youth policies, rural development, environmental protection, natural and cultural heritage etc.
- Establishment and development of durable networks between NGOs within specific fields of interest, e.g. social and health care, culture and cultural heritage, environment and natural heritage, youth, local community development etc.
- Preparation of cross-border cultural and sport events with a multi-annual perspective,
- Preparation of pilot and innovative projects focusing on common values, such as good governance, exchange of good practice, promotion of gender equalities etc.
- Joint actions to create sustainable development conditions in rural and small town communities, including joint cross-border co-operation structures;
Priority 3: Technical Assistance
Technical Assistance (TA) is essential for providing effective implementation of the Programme. TA is earmarked for financing the preparatory, management, monitoring, evaluation, information, and control activities of the Operational Programme, as well as activities to reinforce the administrative ability to implement the funds.
The SB programme is co-financed by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The European Union contribution to the SB programme is 60 735 659 euro. Polish allocation is 25 mln euro. Total budget of programme is 75 342 210 euro.
The co-financing rate from ERDF for Polish, Lithuanian, and German partners will be max. at 85% level. Swedish, Danish partners can receive from the ERDF up to 75% of the eligible expenditure as a refund of the incurred costs.
Potential beneficiaries of the SB programme are:
- Local, regional governments as well as their associations;
- Non-governmental organisations (NGO’s);
- Schools, universities, and R&D institutions;
- Institutions supporting and promoting sustainable development, innovation, and entrepreneurship.