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Oceans and fisheries

Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea is the youngest sea on the planet, almost enclosed, experiencing near-arctic conditions and is one of the world’s largest brackish waters.

The Baltic Sea supports unique ecosystems but is severely affected by general threats like biodiversity loss and climate change, and by specific local pressures such as eutrophication, overfishing, elevated levels of contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, and litter, in particular plastic waste.

The potential for the development of maritime economy in the Baltic Sea region is extraordinary, as highlighted in the Sustainable Blue Growth Agenda for the Baltic Sea Region. This report explains how coordinated action and joint investment could develop further shipping, blue bioeconomy, coastal and maritime tourism, and environmental and monitoring technologies in the region.

EU strategy for the Baltic Sea region

The EU strategy for the Baltic Sea region (EUSBSR) is a macro-regional strategy aiming to strengthen cooperation between the countries bordering the Baltic Sea to meet the common challenges and to benefit from common opportunities facing the region. In this sense, the Baltic Sea region as a frontrunner for deepening and fulfilling the single market,

The EU countries involved in the EUSBSR are Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The strategy also involves the EU’s neighbouring countries in the region: Russia, Iceland, Norway and Belarus. 

The implementation of the strategy is coordinated in close contact with the European Commission and all relevant stakeholders, i.e. EU countries, regional and local authorities, inter-governmental and non-governmental bodies.

The key delivery vehicle for the implementation of the strategy is the action plan, which is currently under revision. It is expected to be published in 2021.

Objectives and key challenges

  • saving the sea
  • connecting the region
  • increasing prosperity
  • clean water in the sea
  • rich and healthy wildlife
  • clean and safe shipping
  • good transport conditions
  • reliable energy markets
  • connecting people in the region
  • climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management

Achievements and financial opportunities

The strategy does not come with extra EU finance but is supported from the resources already available according to an integrated approach. Countries may also make use of the funding they receive through the EU cohesion policy, other EU programmes and financial instruments, and various international financial institutions.

Achievements so far

  • support for new projects, including cooperation between farmers to reduce eutrophication and improved planning for transport infrastructure
  • greater involvement of non-EU countries of the region in environmental protection, water quality and innovation
  • improved cooperation between regions and other partners, including private sector

The KEEP Database includes data on Baltic macro-regional strategies projects. More information is available on many Baltic flagship projects.