European Interest

On 1 July, Latvia assumed chairmanship for the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR)
The symbolic handshake to pass on the Presidency took place in June in Luxembourg between Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Gunda Reire and Swedish Minister of EU Affairs Jessika Roswall.

In the beginning of July 2023, Latvia took over the Presidency of the Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region from Sweden. For the upcoming 12 months, Latvia will lead the work on overall strategic guidance, facilitation of decision-making and coordination of the National Coordinators Group with the support from the European Commission and the Baltic Sea Strategy Point.

“The Latvian Presidency will build on the initiatives advanced by the preceding Swedish Presidency in 2022-2023. The main priority is to keep on putting the Action Plan into practice and promote its implementation” stated Latvian National Coordinator Andra Kuzmina when she addressed the group of National Coordinators, Policy Area Coordinators and other key stakeholders of the Strategy in Visby in the beginning of June.

To achieve this, it is essential to continue enlarging the cross-sectoral, transnational, and multi-level cooperation among the various authorities and organizations in the Baltic Sea Region.

The Latvian Presidency will also focus on the Strategy’s governance and finalisation of guiding documents. Improving the visibility and overall communication of the Strategy is of utmost importance. Therefore, Latvia aims to bring forward well-functioning internal communication and cooperation. Finally, the common efforts to identify and promote means to use the Strategy to contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine, launched by the Swedish Presidency, shall be continued by the Latvian Presidency.

One of the key events during the chairmanship period will be the Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, “Safe and Sustainable Baltic Sea Region for Future Generations”, to be held in Riga on 4 and 5 October. The forum will focus on green energy, climate affairs, and youth engagement.

The event is organised jointly by the Riga City Council, the Union of the Baltic Cities and the Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea (VASAB), in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia.

Since 2010, the forum has been the most visible EUSBSR event involving officials from the region’s countries, experts, academics, representatives from central and local government authorities and NGOs in a discussion on topics of importance for the prosperity of the region with a view to carrying out projects relevant to the region in mutual cooperation.

The Latvian Presidency of the Strategy will last until 30 June 2024.

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