16.09. 2009 Baltic Sea Strategy: A success story of the original Lisbon Strategy?

Speaking today in plenary on the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea region, the EPP Spokesman on the topic, Tunne Kelam MEP, congratulated the Swedish Presidency on its leadership in starting to implement the Baltic Sea Strategy.

"Since 2004, the Baltic Sea has become an internal sea of the EU. The Strategy reflects a fundamental change which took place in this region five years ago and this is the reason the EU needs a comprehensive approach to react in a coordinated way to both the opportunities and challenges this new situation presents", said Tunne Kelam MEP.

The EPP Member recalled that the goal of the Strategy initiators was to turn the Baltic Sea area into one of the most competitive and rapidly-developing regions of the EU. "If we take the maximum use of the opportunities the Baltic Sea Strategy offers, this region could become a success story of the Lisbon
Strategy", said Kelam.

"Just now, the region needs more than ever better access to and security of energy markets", he underlined. "The alternative channels of energy deliveries are needed, first and foremost creating a united energy system around the Baltic Sea. The issue of the bilateral and primarily political Nord Stream project should be settled through respecting rightful interests of all states around the sea and certainly not before the Russian Government joins the Espoo Convention", stressed Tunne Kelam MEP.

The third priority should be to make full use of the excellent educational and scientific potential of the region in advancing research and innovation, including the establishment of a high quality international Baltic region university.