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.
Euronews Ocean: Towards a sustainable Baltic Sea
One of the world’s most polluted water bodies, the Baltic Sea is facing a wide range of environmental threats that decimate its fish stocks and threaten coastal economies. The EU is leading the recovery effort, supporting a number of projects in the Baltic countries that are studying the main sources of pollution and finding ways to mitigate them.