Euroregion Baltic (ERB) was established in February 1998 and is a politically solid and well-anchored cooperation in the south-east of the Baltic Sea region, consisting of eight regions of Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden. It was the first Euroregion to have formally included a partner from the Russian Federation. Comprising the regions from both old and new EU Member States, and the Russian Kaliningrad Oblast, Euroregion Baltic constitutes the operational network of substantial and effective links across the borders, facilitating the promotion of political dialogue and reform, as well as sustainable, economic, social and environmental development, and thus strengthening local democracy and fostering people-to-people contacts between civil societies. The co-operation actively involves both local and regional authorities, private and public sectors, and NGOs.
Euroregion Baltic is widely recognised as a hub for cross-border relations, involving citizens, politicians, institutions, economic and social partners, educational and cultural institutions. Between 1999 and 2006 ERB managed two strands within the Fund: one for cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region and the other for cooperation with the Kaliningrad Region of the Russian Federation. In 2009 ERB partners have been able to use the Norwegian Financial Mechanism facility called “Small Cross-Border and Inter-Regional Grant Fund” offered by the Association of Polish Communes Euroregion Baltic.
Over the years Euroregion Baltic has also become a very important political platform targeting its effective lobbying activities at various institutions within the European Union and on national and regional levels. Euroregion Baltic has also been very active during the preparation of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and another EU strategy Europe 2020, and is now actively involved in the process of implementation of both strategies.
One of the most spectacular results of the political aspect of the cooperation within Euroregion Baltic has been the establishment of the South Baltic CBC Programme.
In 2010 Euroregion Baltic has undergone a strategic review of cooperation which was a direct result of major structural changes that have occurred at different levels in our societies, affecting the ERB cooperation in a number of ways.
The overall objective of the review process has been to set the agenda for the ERB cooperation until 2020 with revised goals of the cooperation, as well as specific objectives and activities planned with the view of reaching the goals. The agenda compliments the vision of the ERB as an organisation with clearly defined roles and strengthened institutional and financial capacities. The goal of the ERB 2020 Agenda is to draw on the previous successful experiences and help the organisation move into a new phase of cooperation where it becomes a more dynamic tool to tackle common challenges observed by its members, and a strengthened political leverage in the cross-border cooperation of the Baltic Sea Region. To implement that goal, the Agenda set out three main focus areas, therefore allowing for a consolidated approach to the cooperation within the ERB. The first strategic focus area includes lobbying activities. The second focus area concerns strategic actions which upgrade the added value of the cooperation by enabling networking among variety of partners and providing complementarity with the regional development strategies. The third focus area includes exchange activities which, through collaborative approach to common challenges by local and regional politicians, decision-makers, experts and practitioners, will lead to deepened relations between the ERB member regions and strengthened cooperation.