CO-EDITOR & LAYOUT
Iwona Smigerska Belczak
Union of the Baltic Cities
Waly Jagiellonskie 1
tel. +48 58 3010917
tel. +48 58 3019123
fax +48 58 3017637
City of Klaipeda
Dear UBC Friends,
of all: Welcome to the 7th UBC General Conference
in Klaipeda. I wish you all fruitful proceedings and
discussions on a theme that is of great importance
for the future of our cities, namely promotion of
Business Development, and thereby more tax revenues
and less expense caused by unemployment and its consequences.
However, more important than tax revenues is the well-being
of our citizens. A prosperous business life is essential
for the vitality of the whole city.
We shall also discuss and decide on other important matters. We shall adopt a new strategy and Agenda 21 Action Program, and we shall elect both board members and presidium.
My first period as UBC President has been a very rewarding. It is clear that UBC plays an important role in the Baltic Sea, and I have many times experienced that UBC is met by respect and even admiration. We are the largest and best functioning regional cities network in Europe.
We are now entering a new era in the Baltic Sea History with the enlargement of the European Union. We will have free movement of labour, capital and goods across the Baltic Sea. We will have the national legislations in fundamental matters based on a common legal base, so businessmen know what to expect on the other side of the Baltic Sea. We will have a common base on democracy, freedom and human rights, and a stable economic and political development, which also boosts business activities. Perhaps we even one day will have a common currency across the Baltic Sea, even if Sweden and Denmark will stay outside that co-operation for the time being.
We have many challenges yet to solve, both in the Baltic Sea perspective and the European perspective. The environmental situation in our Baltic Sea is not good even if it has improved in many places since the foundation of UBC. New threats are also approaching, for example the prospect of increased oil transports on the Baltic Sea. The UBC Agenda 21 Action Program 2004-2009 will be the UBC tool to do our part of the job to improve the environmental situation on our Baltic Sea. At the same time, it is an important strategic program for the implementation of our overall strategy. Sustainable development combines balanced democratic, economic, social and environmental development and is thereby a core objective of the whole UBC.
The general debate on the new EU Constitution concentrates on issues like EU President, EU Foreign Policy and national representation in the EU system. But the constitution contains also very interesting perspectives for the local level authorities, meaning that the EU commission will discuss directly with the sub-national level. It will be very interesting to participate in that process, and UBC will let its voice be heard on this topic.
Once again, welcome to Klaipeda!
Kolding, October 2003