European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and Latvia’s involvement
The aim of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is to coordinate the activities of Member States, regions and municipalities, the EU, the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) organizations, financial institutions and non-governmental organizations to ensure the effective development of the region. The strategy highlights the main challenges relating to sustainable environment, prosperity, accessibility, safety and security, and also in relation to the possibilities of making this region an integrated, perspective and global region - an "eminent European region". EUSBSR reflects the objective of the "Europe 2020" strategy of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and the development of new EU policies, including the importance given to macro-regional and sea-basin strategies in the common strategic plan. This strategy is important in creating the conditions for the successful functioning of the agglomeration of Riga as metropolis of Northern Europe in the Baltic Sea macro-regional space. One of the priority areas (PA) of EUSBSR is devoted to culture. PA Culture strategically defines the action directions of culture and creative industries development in the region, namely 1)Promoting the BSR cultural and creative industries, encouraging creative entrepreneurship; 2) Promoting and presenting BSR culture, using the innovative force of culture for societal development; 3) Preserving and presenting the BSR cultural heritage, strengthening the cultural identity of the region; 4) Developing an efficient framework for BSR cultural cooperation.
EUSBSR has a specific Action Plan which is regularly updated and it includes the most important flagship projects vital for the sustainable regional development. In order for an initiative to obtain the flagship status, there is a special procedure that has to be followed until the final decision is taken by the PA Culture coordinators and the European Commission. The grant of the flagship status means that the project is essential for the whole region, as well as it facilitates the access to funding for project implementation. So far, two of Latvia’s projects in the field of CCI have obtained the flagship status. In 2013-2014 partners from 5 BSR countries lead by Latvia implemented the first phase of EUSBSR PA Culture flagship project TAB FAB “Facilitate cooperation of educational institutions and enterprises in the Baltic Sea Region through the next-level creative hub” supported by the EUSBSR Seed Money Facility . The general outcomes of the project are: 1)exchanging knowledge on existing national services, development tools and concepts, as well as main targets and future needs of national CCI initiatives, 2)developing a common BSR platform/concept for CCI development based on these findings, 3)developing a cooperation model to share these services/tools in the BSR. The long-term perspective of the project aims to strengthen the brand of EUSBSR, stimulate the spill-over effects of CCI to other sectors and raise the export potential of SMEs. The main objective was to agree upon and complete a plan for the development of the next phase - the Main project. Thereby, the so called Main project continues in the next-level: CROSS FAB is the 2nd flagship of Latvia within the EUSBSR. Currently in the phase of attracting funding (possibly Interreg BSR Programme), CROSS FAB aims to address the challenge of lack of cooperation between CCI and traditional industries (TI) in BSR. Bringing together both industry branches can lead to unique and innovative products, services and processes and increase value and export of TI.
CROSS FAB aims to result in: - evidence-based method developed to link creative and traditional industries via multidisciplinary innovation process, with a target to reach higher added value of newly developed innovative products and services, stimulate the commercialization and export potential; -at least 25 trained process and strategic designers in partner countries; - well trained network of companies and representatives from intermediaries, government and transnational institutions; - up to 50 piloted cases in BSR between creative and traditional industries; - proposals developed of a new support mechanism (or mechanisms) for governments and transnational organizations in BSR.
The budget for TAB FAB was EUR 50K. The necessary amount of funding for CROSS FAB 3 year-project with 8 partner countries is EUR 1.9 m.