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IP/09/219

Brussels, 5 February 2009

"Working in partnership to move from words to action": Danuta Hübner at Baltic Sea conference in Rostock, Germany

Danuta Hübner, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, will address the 2nd Baltic Sea stakeholder conference in the German city of Rostock (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) today. This is the last in a series of major consultation events aimed at shaping the Commission's plans for an EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The strategy seeks to boost economic development and improve environmental conditions in and around the Baltic Sea. During her visit, Commissioner Hübner will also hold talks with the Minister President of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Erwin Sellering.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Commissioner Hübner said: "The need to harness the full development potential of the Baltic Sea Region is of the utmost importance in the current economic climate and requires cooperation and commitment from all sides. Today's conference marks the moment when we move from words to action, to make the strategy a reality. I am confident that this strategy will make a difference and deliver lasting results."

The two-day conference provides an important opportunity for representatives of the Baltic governments, local authorities, business, NGOs and academia to exchange views on the strategy. The first day will feature four workshops, each dedicated to one of the four objectives of the Strategy:

  1. Improving the environment in the Baltic Sea Region
  2. Increasing prosperity through more balanced economic development
  3. Making the region more accessible and attractive through improving transport links and energy security;
  4. Making the region safer and more secure e.g. by reinforcing cooperation between Member States.

Related themes, including governance, implementation and financing, will be tackled on the second day of the conference (6 February).

MEP Christopher Beazley, a member of the European Parliament's Baltic Europe Intergroup, will chair the event. Other key speakers will include Vygaudas Ušackas, Lithuania's Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Cecilia Malmstrøm, Swedish Minister for European Union Affairs.

Next steps

In her address, Commissioner Danuta Hübner will outline the Commission's support for several flagship projects as a first step in the implementation of the strategy. The projects include achieving a target of 120km/hour on the rail link from Warsaw to Tallinn and developing a single maritime surveillance system for the whole region.

The Commission will bring forward its proposals for an EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region before June 2009, with an action plan identifying lead partners, funding sources and a timeframe for completion. The adoption of the strategy will be one of the priorities of the Swedish Presidency as it takes the EU helm in the second half of 2009.

Note for editors

Member States asked the Commission to prepare an EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in December 2007. For more information:

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/cooperation/baltic

For further details on the conference:

http://www.conference-rostock.de/welcome.en.html


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