The aim of the European Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region is the diversified development of the region in collaboration among the member countries. In agriculture, forestry and fisheries the aim is to promote their profitability, competitiveness and sustainability. The strategy, adopted in summer 2009, was prepared by the European Commission on the initiative of the European Council. Finland will be active in the implementation of the strategy and steers four of its priority areas.
The Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is responsible for priority area 1 concerning agriculture, forestry and fisheries. At the Ministry the process is steered by State Secretary Jouni Lind. The coordination of the fisheries sector is divided between Finland and Sweden.
The Baltic Sea Strategy complements the EU’s common natural resource policies by constructing even stronger regional cooperation across the state borders. The strategy is an indication of the EU’s desire to transfer more of the decision-making power from the Community level to the regions in, for example, the fisheries policy.
Work on the implementation of the strategy got started at a kick-off meeting in Helsinki on 7-8 October 2009. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry had invited civil servants from different countries to this first meeting on the implementation process on the level of the member states.
The meeting focused on the common key areas in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. In agriculture these include nutrient issues and climate change. The key areas in forestry relate to promoting the use of wood, sustainable forest management and nutrient issues. The themes for the fisheries sector include the sustainable use of fish feed.
The flagship projects of the strategy pave way for the collaboration. The flagship projects proposed so far concern sustainable fisheries, manure treatment technologies, aquaculture and feed and food legislation.
The Baltic Sea Strategy lays the foundation for collaboration among the various actors in the region, taking advantage of the existing processes and networks such as HELCOM and the Nordic Council. The strategy provides the framework for joint projects to seek funding from various sources and to focus actions on the key areas.
The preparation of the Baltic Sea Strategy can be followed on the internet at www.mmm.fi/balticsea. A joint seminar of all the relevant actors, including representatives of various universities, organisations and foundations, will be held in the early part of the year 2010. The seminar will take the actions from the level of objectives to practical projects.
Further information at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:
Jouni Lind, State Secretary, tel. +358 (0)9 160 53323,
(0)50 521 3305
Leena Anttila, Senior Officer, tel. +358 (0)9 160 53404,
(0)40 180 6522