“Situated on the edge” – this is the Oxford dictionary’s definition of the word “peripheral”. On the edge of Europe’s mainland is where the members of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) are situated: along the coasts of the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The CPMR’S Baltic Sea Commission is a forum for constructive debate and the sharing of best practice on common issues and concerns across the Baltic Sea area.
The Interreg Programmes for the Baltic Sea Region, the South Baltic, the Central Baltic and Botnia-Atlantic contribute to the General Assembly this week in Sandviken, region Gävleborg, Sweden. In Interreg Baltic Sea Region projects, peripheral regions are currently underrepresented. With this contribution to the conference, the Programme makes more peripheral regions aware of the opportunities that Interreg offers in particular in terms of finding joint solutions to common challenges.
“We want to encourage peripheral regions to apply because we think our Programme can help them implement projects that are useful for the regions”, says Ronald Lieske, team leader of the Programme Unit at the Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat of Interreg Baltic Sea Region. He refers in particular to the Programme’s specific objective ‘accessibility of remote areas and areas affected by demographic change’, which targets at improved accessibility of distant areas that have accessibility deficits. No project has been approved yet in the Programme under this objective. Also ‘smart specialisation’, the topic of the stakeholder conference on day 2 of the meeting in Sandviken is in the special focus of the Programme and offers cooperation opportunities also for peripheral maritime regions.
Interreg offers opportunities for different types of projects, with the transnational Interreg Baltic Sea Region being in particular suitable for large partnerships with a broad scope covering larger parts of the Baltic Sea Region, while cross-border Programmes such as Interreg South Baltic, Central Baltic and Botnia-Atlantic offer opportunities for smaller projects in specific parts of the region.