Since July 1st, 2023, Latvia has taken over the presidency of EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. During this period, Latvia chairs the meetings of national coordinators and determines the agenda. During the presidency the responsible ministries take over chairing their respective Policy Area Steering groups. Latvia is taking over the presidency from Sweden and continuing the work they started: implementation of the strategic action plan, improvement of internal and external communication and working on support for Ukraine.

EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is the first EU macro-regional strategy based on an innovative and integrated long-term approach to the implementation of EU policy in the Baltic Sea Region. It covers eight countries of the region - Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Denmark.

The Strategy is divided into three main objectives: saving the sea, connecting the region and increasing prosperity. Each objective relates to a wide range of policies and has an impact on the other objectives. The implementation of the strategy is based on its action plan, which defines 14 policy areas and makes up a total of 44 actions, with specific goals and indicators until 2025.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs defined as essential the Baltic energy market interconnection plan and its implementation, the coordinated development of the trans-European transport network and its connections with EU neighboring countries, increasing the competitiveness of logistics services and ensuring the throughput capacity of the EU's external border, joint regional education and research field development, cross-border cooperation in environmental pollution assessment and prevention.

The Ministry of Agriculture is taking over the chair of Policy Area Bioeconomy steering group, where, together with the other seven countries' responsible ministries, they will lead the meetings of the steering group and assist the coordinators of the policy area in the implementation of the action plan.


Steering group activities in May

The Ministry of Agriculture concluded its chair of the Policy Area Bioeconomy Steering Group with the last meeting on May 21, where the current activities of the policy area were discussed - including a presentation from Interreg representatives about the opportunities to participate in Interreg projects. The members of the steering group were invited to think and to give an opinion on what are the most important needs of international cooperation in the region. The meeting was held as a networking opportunity - several bioeconomy project coordinators were invited, who provided insight into the progress and topicality of their projects, which the meeting participants appreciated, indicating that they saw synergies between projects and initiatives that they did not know about before.

The following projects were discussed during the meeting: Interreg project MainPotRe, which brings together potato breeders, research institutes, NGOs to think together about solutions for promoting a self-sufficient community and regional food security by improving access local potato varieties for planting material.

The Interreg project Circular FoodShift in the Baltic Countries, which works on solutions at the municipal level, putting citizens at the center of the changing food systems.

The Roudgoby project tests and demonstrates new fishing methods and develops new products for the processing of round goby.

The BioBoosters project brings together organic companies in rural areas to share knowledge in circular production and create green business opportunities.

Steering Group activities in February

On February 20th 2024 representative of the Ministry of Agriculture organized and led the second meeting of the Steering group of EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region Policy Area Bioeconomy. Representatives from Sweden, Poland, Estonia and Lithuania were attending the meeting. At the start of the meeting the policy area coordinators gave a short update on the activities of the policy area – cooperation with other policy areas, organizing thematic workshops and working on the Annual Forum 2024. Two external presenters joined the meeting to give important input in valuable topics. Dr Olga Trofimtseva, Former Acting Minister of Agricultural policy and Food of Ukraine, gave a presentation on the damage done in Ukraina, especially in the field of agriculture. She also highlighted some topics where the macroregion can help Ukraine in the field of Bioeconomy. Laura Liepina from the European Commission gave a presentation on the recent developments of EU Bioeconomy policy  and informed the group about various initiatives. Attached are the presenations, agenda and meeting minutes.


Steering Group activities in October

In October the Ministry of Agriculture organized bilateral calls with the Nordic Coucil of Ministers, Estonian, Polish, Swedish and German participants of the Steering Group in order to get acquainted, foster a successful collaboration and to introduce the participants to the potential work plan for the Steering Group that will be carried out by the Latvian presidency as well as start discussions about the continuity of said work.

Steering Group activities in November

On the 2nd of November the representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture will lead the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region policy area Bioeconomy Steering Group meeting. The meeting will be joined by representatives from ministries in Estonia, Poland, Sweden and Germany as well as representatives from the Nordic Coucil of Ministers. In the formal part of the meeting colleagues from the Nordic Coucil of Ministers, who are the policy area coordinators, will introduce the meeting participants with the strategy and present the policy area work plan. The meeting will be a starting point for a discussion about the collaboration of the macro-region for rebuilding Ukraine. In this topic the meeting will be joined by Dr. Olga Trofimtseva, Former Acting Minister of Agricultural policy and Food of Ukraine, who will present a topic that was started at the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region Annual Forum 2023 which was held in Riga – Strengthening and developing cooperation with Ukraine to empower sustainable rebuilding. In addition, the meeting will discuss the possibility to include Norway in the policy area Bioeconomy Steering Group. At the end of the meeting the participants will be encouraged to share an insight in the Bioeconomy area in their countries.

Steering group activities in December

On December 11, The Ministry of Agriculture together with the Nordic Council of Ministers organized a webinar within the Policy Area Bioeconomy “Introductory Webinar on EUSBSR and the Role of Steering Groups”. It was lead by Anders Bergström from The Norden Association which is an organisation that aims at promoting and improving Nordic cooperation within the Nordic countries and its international role by engaging citizens, organisations, and businesses. The webinar was attended by Steering group members from Germany, Sweden, Estonia and Poland. The participants were introduced to the importance of a macro-regional strategy for transnational collaboration, common problem solving and cooperation based on competencies each country specializes in. This webinar aimed to provide participants with an understanding of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and how Steering Groups play a pivotal role in shaping and steering the initiatives within the region.