UBC Homepage Bulletins Main Page Bulletin 3/2000 Contents



Pawel Zaboklicki




Risto Veivo
Ewa Kurjata
Juhan Janusson
Iwona Smigerska-Belczak




Union of the Baltic Cities
Waly Jagiellonskie 1
PL-80853 Gdansk
tel/fax +48 58 3017637
e-mail: info@ubc.net
ISSN 1506-6266




Ewa Kurjata




Material for the next issue must be sent by 30 March 2001




Concert of medieval music in ruins, Visby, Gotland photo by Lars Hasselrot






Dear UBC Friends

This issue of the bulletin is devoted to Culture. Even if only a minor part of the city spending is for culture, it is nevertheless an important and strategic issue. Culture is important for the wellbeing of our citizens, and for the development of the city. A city without an attractive cultural life will not attract much needed business or skilled work force in the new economy – on the contrary, the city will slowly suffocate without intellectual stimulation from culture. So I am happy that this issue gives a rather bright picture of the culture in the cities!

The year 2000 is soon ended. It has, among others, been characterised by an increased recognition of the role of local authorities in the enlargement process in Baltic Sea Region. The voice of UBC is heard and it also gives results.

We have for some time argued for the need of financing of small and medium sized cooperation projects between local and regional authorities. Three years ago there were a lot of such programs, but there has been very little such EU programs since then. We have also argued for better co-operation between Phare and other EU programs.

There has been a need for a better adaptation of the rules for cross-border co-operation with maritime borders. The lack of land borders in the Baltic Sea Region has been a serious disadvantage for our region when creating cross-border co-operation projects.

The latest news from Brussels is that very much of our demands have been partly met in the coming Interreg III. There will be a facility for small and medium sized projects for the Baltic Sea Region within Interreg III B. This means in practice that EU has adapted to the lack of landborders in the Baltic Sea Region. And there are signals about better co-ordination between Phare and cross-borders programs of EU.

But we are not alone in the arguing. BSSSC has experienced similar needs among the regional authorities, and has argued in Brussels for similar things. The matter has been brought up in many meetings in connection with CBSS, where the EU Commission is a member. The response from CBSS has been very positive. This shows that co-operation and co-ordination pays.

UBC has for some years now argued for an increased co-operation among the actors in our region in order to get a stronger voice, especially in the light of the enlargement process. Council of Baltic States has emerged as kind of an umbrella organisation for this process. It is probably needed since I have a feeling that the EU Commission looks at our region with wonder and perhaps a little of confusion. The level of co-operation in our region is unique in Europe and even in the world. I have for example met the idea that the organisations in our region should merge in order to decrease the number of voices from our region.

Of course this cannot be done. Our organisations represent their own interest and each of them are needed. But it is also true that some co-ordination is needed in order to give strength to our arguments and opinions. We have to co-operate in order to be successful.

The Nordic Dimension will be an important issue the next year. Today it is rather unknown and abstract among our cities, but I believe that we will notice it more and understand it better in the coming year.

The next UBC General Conference will take place in October 2001. The city of Rostock is already well ahead with the plans. The theme will be "Social Justice in the new Millennium". It is very important that we bring up the social issues on such a high level as our General Conference. It is important, not only for the sake of solidarity, but also for continuing stable political and economic development in the Baltic Sea Region.

I wish you all a very pleasant Christmas and a fruitful New Year!

With Baltic Sea Greetings


Anders Engström


UBC President

Kalmar, December 2000

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UBC Secretariat
Waly Jagiellonskie 1
PL-80-853 Gdansk, Poland
Tel/Fax +48 58 301 76 37
E-mail: info@ubc.net