|Dear UBC Friends,
The main theme of this issue of our bulletin is “Tourism in Baltic Cities”. The expectations on tourism as a major industry and source of income in our region are high. The articles really show that we have very much to offer a tourist. Culture, sights, beaches, nature, history and activities
- the Baltic Sea region can offer something to almost everyone.
We have a very successful General Conference behind us, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank Stockholm once again for the excellent organisation of the event. The theme was "EU Enlargement in the Baltic Sea region
- the role of cities, regions and states". It gave very valuable input and will serve as a very good starting point for further UBC activities in this field.
Mr Michael Bouteiller, active in UBC since its foundation and Mr Bartlomiej Sochanski left their positions as Vice- Presidents of UBC. They have both contributed very much, Michael as a strong support especially in the early days of UBC, and Bartlomiej as main coordinator and contributor to the UBC Strategy, which was adopted at the General Conference. Thank you once again for your valuable contributions!
Mr Armas Lahoniitty, Mayor of Turku and Mr Eugenijus Gentvilas, Mayor of Klaipëda, will now continue as UBC Vice- Presidents. I know already now that their experience will be very valuable to our organisation. So I am looking forward to work together with them during my last period as UBC President. I am also looking forward to work with the new UBC Executive Board, where Kaliningrad, Klaipëda, Pärnu, Rezekne and Turku have been replaced with St. Petersburg, Šiauliai, Tartu, Liepâja and Pori.
We have some very important tasks to carry out. The UBC Strategy must be implemented, and for that we need an action plan. We will continue with our efforts to prepare the cities for the EU enlargement and with Local Agenda 21. UBC is a large organisation now, so we need constantly to investigate and improve our organisation in order to be able to meet the expectations of our member cities. We must deepen our cooperation with the other important Baltic Sea organisations: CBSS, BSSSC, CPMR BSC in order to make our voice heard in Brussels.
I very much welcome the new UBC Youth Network. Young people must be able to influence the future, and also be able to influence UBC. I also hope that a UBC Youth Network also will be able to influence policies of their own cities.
At the end of the present period, I do hope that our efforts to create a special EU program on local and regional level co- operation in the Baltic Sea region have resulted in concrete action.
We are facing a very challenging period of UBC development. I am certain that we can show a successful result at the next General Conference 2001 in Rostock!
With 2000 best wishes,
Kalmar, January 2000