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HAVE WE DELIVERED? the historical relationships, mainly the Hanseatic cities existing in the Middle Ages. Another tradition and additional background to this cooperation come from the Nordic states, which over the years established numerous institutions and regional organisations, with key roles played by the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers.3 During the Cold War, there were already examples of regional initiatives that included all the states around the Baltic Sea, from both the Western and Eastern blocs. The most significant was the Helsinki Convention of 1974 and the subsequent establishment of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), which still steers intergovernmental cooperation with a view to protecting the fragile marine environment.4 Next, the democratic transitions in Central and Eastern Europe influenced the strengthening of cooperation in the BSR. The collapse of the USSR changed the layout of the security architecture, including in the Baltic Sea area. This increased interest in cooperation among the “southeastern” Baltic states. Then, during the 1990s, the scope of the collaboration took shape, with the Nordic countries having a dominant influence in this respect. Simultaneously, the growth of cooperation at the national level amongst the BSR states translated into efforts that improved the participation of both municipalities and other sub-national authorities in the region.5 At that time, for instance, the Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC) or the Baltic Sea States Sub-regional Cooperation (BSSSC) were created. This is how the macro-region around the Baltic Sea came to be characterised, on the one hand, by a long tradition of cooperation and, on the other, at various levels, as well as in diverse formats and many sectors of policy development (there are more than 600 organisations linked to regional collaboration).6 b. The North from the EU Perspective The enlargement of the Union in 1995 with the admission of Sweden and Finland and in 2004 to Poland and three Baltic States—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—gave in effect a growing role to the EU as the main regional actor in the BSR. It also resulted in the Baltic Sea itself becoming almost an exclusive internal Union “reservoir”, with the exception of the part of the Russian Federation near St. Petersburg as well as Kaliningrad Oblast, which became a Russian exclave within the EU. At the initiative of the countries themselves, as well as the increased interest of the EC, the changed conditions motivated matters in the north to become a direct subject of EU management. A key initiative in this regard was the

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Better Together - 10 Years of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region  

Our publication on the 10th anniversary of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region i.a. with foreword from Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputow...

Better Together - 10 Years of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region  

Our publication on the 10th anniversary of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region i.a. with foreword from Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputow...