Objective 2 - Connect the region

This objective contributes substantially to achieving the European Cohesion Policy objectives.

Specifically, it contributes to

·     A greener Europe by supporting sustainable energy and transport,

·     A more connected Europe by improving internal and external transport links.

The geography of the Baltic Sea region, the very long distances by European standards (especially to the Northern parts, which are very remote), the extent of the sea that links but also divides the sub-regions, the long external borders, all pose special challenges to communication and physical accessibility in the region. The policy areas in this section therefore seek to address the risks and challenges, while also exploiting and enhancing the opportunities within the region.

The Objective 2 – “Connect the region” has 4 sub-objectives:

·      Good transport conditions

In the Baltic Sea region, transport is particularly important as the distances – internally, to the rest of Europe and to the wider world – are great and the conditions for traffic are often difficult. This sub-objective addresses is to reduce remoteness, improving internal and external transport links, increase efficiency and minimize environmental

·      Reliable energy markets

Despite common European objectives in energy, now also Energy Union affirmed in European Council Conclusions in 2011 and 2012are not yet properly integrated into the wider energynetworks of the rest of the EU. This sub-objective addresses the improvement of energy security, diversification of energy sources, energy efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gases.

·      Connecting people in the region

The objectives of the Strategy will be achieved by improving cooperation between the actors involved. This sub-objectives touches upon nearly all policy areas and horizontal actions, one of the effects of the Strategy will be to better connect the people in the region, either by setting-up new networks and new platforms of cooperation, or by strengthening the existing ones. Connecting the region also includes improved access to communications networks and the internet as basis for seamless flow of information and closer and more instantaneous cooperation and exchange.

·      Better cooperation in fighting cross-border crime

The Baltic Sea region has long external EU borders which, due to geographical conditions, are easy to cross. This places responsibilities on many Member States to take action to protect the safety and security of the Union as a whole. This sub-objective therefore addresses actions to combat cross-border crime, strengthen protection of external borders and law enforcement.

To achieve those goals, the Baltic Sea Region focusses on two major Policy Areas: