Dear Members and Friends,

Our Union is constantly enlarging which reflects the growing importance of the UBC in the Baltic Sea region. But we are not only growing in terms of number of member cities, we are also expanding our activities - measured both in quality and quantity - to new levels. This is very well reflected in this bulletin, which I hope will bring you a lot of valuable information and enjoyable reading.

The multi-level cooperation which has developed in our region during the last five years is probably unique in the world. This is a very good foundation also in the future for a continuing succesful political and economic development. The UBC has become an example also for other regions wishing to learn from our way of cooperation. I have even hosted a large delegation of mayors from Japan, who returned home deeply impressed about the ways how we cooperate locally.

We are now preparing for our next General Conference to be held in Gdansk in connection with the Gdansk Millenium. The theme will be "Baltic Sea Cooperation Forum". The UBC member cities will meet representatives from our great number of cooperation networks at all levels that operate in the Baltic Sea region. It will be an excellent forum for all networks to meet our members. We will also have a number of distinguished guests at the conference. I wish you all welcome!

With Baltic Sea Greetings

Anders Engström