New Blue Growth initiatives for the Baltic Sea region
26 Oct 2016

Blue Growth aims at supporting sustainable growth of the marine economy and is clearly a driving force for unlocking the potential for innovation, development and fostering transnational cooperation in the Baltic Sea region. It is, therefore, vital to support various actors across the region and to encourage initiatives with a strategic pan-Baltic outlook but also those with a more bottom-up approach, like project clustering opportunities offered by Interreg Baltic Sea Region.

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Blue growth

Blue growth project clustering by Interreg Baltic Sea Region

Following successful project clustering cases from the previous programming period, Interreg Baltic Sea Region intends to further explore the project clustering concept, along with its strategic and practical dimensions. For that reason, during the upcoming 7th Strategy Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Region (EUSBSR) in Stockholm on 8-9 November 2016, there will be a workshop specifically devoted to project clustering opportunities in the field of Blue Growth, run by the Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat.

Interreg Baltic Sea Region hopes to actively involve key stakeholders in a dialogue, to include Policy Area Coordinators and Horizontal Action Coordinators, project owners from the Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme but also from other funding programmes. In this case, the Blue Growth sector will serve as a testbed for identifying the scopes of cooperation, relevance of project clustering as well as the feasibility of implementing project clusters within the existing programme framework. At the workshop built around two panels on policy and projects, participants will discuss how the clusters might work and which themes within the Blue Growth they could cover and, most importantly, what the added value to the projects could be. All this will help identify a potential niche that project clusters might fill in to actively steer cooperation across boundaries and funding programmes, and to further strengthen institutional capacity of the region.

The information collected during the workshop will serve as a reference for setting requirements for a first call for project clustering in the Blue Growth sector and, possibly, also for other thematic areas in future. Interreg Baltic Sea Region plans to announce the first call for project clusters in the middle of 2017.

Blue Growth Implementation Strategy by the European Commission

The Baltic Sea region is a hotbed for innovation and competitiveness, it also features a strong tradition of transnational cooperation for working with and for a healthy Baltic Sea. In order to harness these unique characteristics, the Commission is now taking the development of the Baltic Blue Growth Agenda one step further.

With this initiative the Commission wants to push the boundaries of strategic transnational cooperation for the maritime economy in the Baltic Sea region and to kick-start the implementation of its Baltic Blue Growth Agenda by raising mutual understanding, creating ownership and stimulating the systematic interplay between the various actors throughout the region.  

This initiative will be stakeholder-driven, taking a cross-Baltic approach to innovation and sustainability with a strong focus on entrepreneurial opportunities and industry challenges. As first step in the stakeholder engagement process an online survey will soon be launched. The survey results will be used to ensure structured, focused and result-oriented discussions in a stakeholder engagement process. Four interactive workshops will be held in early 2017. The results from this process are pivotal for developing an implementation strategy for the Baltic Blue Growth Agenda to be finalised in 2017.

If you want to learn more or get involved please read the Commission’s information leaflet

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