The Interreg South Baltic Programme Annual Event 2021 – Step into the future

On the 20th of October at 10 am CET, over 110 participants from Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden – project partners, beneficiaries, representatives of local and regional authorities, representatives of non-governmental institutions (NGO), as well as the European Commission DG Regio, joined the virtual Annual Event 2021 to talk about the future of the South Baltic Programme and about taking the results achieved by its projects to a higher level.

Due to the continuing pandemic situation caused by the COVID-19, the event was organised virtually, provided through the ZOOM platform.

The Annual Event started with welcoming speech from the Managing Authority of the Programme, Magdalena Bednarczyk- Sokół, Deputy Director of the Territorial Cooperation Department, the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy. Dominika Butkiewicz, Head of the Joint Secretariat, presented the Programme’s facts and figures for the present and for the future.

The following part of the event consisted of two segments. In the first, two project representatives, Monika Klein, from the Media Dizajn Association in Szczecin, Poland and the South Baltic Creative Clusters project and David Appelberg from the Blue Science Park in Karlskrona, Sweden and the SECMAR – Secure Digitalisation for Sustainable Maritime Transport project, interviewed the Programme representatives:

  1. Deimante Jankūnaitė, Head of Territorial Cooperation Programmes Unit of Regional Policy Department of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania
  2. Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło, Head of the Euroregion Baltic International Permanent Secretariat
  3. Alexander Schwock, German Contact Point of the Interreg South Baltic Programme for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  4. Michał Ostrowski, Programme Officer at the Joint Secretariat of the Interreg South Baltic Programme

The interview was based on questions added by participants of the event during the registration process, and questions asked in a chat room during the live discussion. The method used was to reverse roles, where the projects' representatives interviewed the Programme's representatives, this brought to the discussion a unique atmosphere and a dynamic flow.

In the second segment of the event, all participants moved to preselected breakout rooms:

  1. Seed money call – Q&A session  (detailed information about the ongoing Seed money call can be found here)
  2. Create real impact for the future with your project and maximise its results – discussion

The first room was managed by Marta Niciejewska, the Project Team Coordinator, and Małgorzata Skolmowska, the Project Officer for Sustainable transport. The room started with a survey, the aim of which was to investigate the interest in applying for the seed money funds. The survey showed that 21 participants are willing to apply and specific objectives with the highest interest were green technologies, transport and tourism. Małgorzata delivered a presentation that provided applicants with information based on questions posed during the registration and gave concrete pieces of advice on how to fill in the application form. 

They explained the links between current specific objectives and future Programme measures and clarified the flexible connections between these two. The presentations were extended by direct questions posted in the chat window, this turned it into a lively discussion and resulted in some networking and partner cooperation. All of this confirmed the atractiveness of the "Seed money".

In room no 2, the discussion focused on project results taken beyond project levels. Anatanas Sabanas, the Project Officer responsible for the SME internationalisation and innovation capacity projects, presented the levels of Interreg funds in comparison to other, much bigger funding instruments, such as structural funds or Horizon 2020. He encouraged beneficiaries to ask themselves questions on how attractive their projects are for certain institutions, what experience they can offer, how can they upgrade their projects, e.g., by starting cooperation with bigger institutions and making a bigger impact on not only the Programme area but in the whole of Europe. Two project representatives: Jolanta Mrozek, SEAPLANSPACE and Rafał Koba, INCONE60, have confirmed with their experience and concrete examples that stepping beyond the project and the Programme areas can boost the development of a project. SEAPLANSPACE has seen an increasing interest in their training in Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in countries outside of the EU and also in Africa. INCONE60 established relations with not only projects from other Programmes (e.g. DUAL Ports - Developing Low carbon Utilities, the North Sea Region Programme) but also with many other institutions, such as the Polish Embassy in Copenhagen and the General Government of Flanders, as well as others. Katarzyna Sempołowicz-Lipska, the Programme Information and Communication Officer, wrapped up the meeting with a short presentation on where and how to promote project results. She underlined the importance in the value of project brand awareness and its visibility. She also proposed concrete tools and inspired projects to invest in future promotional activities.

During the event, we answered concrete questions which came from the heart of the Programme – from its community. The representatives of the Programme showed their perspectives and presented their specific views on issues related to the current and the new Programme perspective. The meetings in small thematic rooms created a good ground for participants to open for further questions and explore the topics more.

Even though, the second virtual Annual Event turned to be a great success with a lot of positive feedback, everyone expressed their hope for the South Baltic family to meet next year in person, shake each other hands and welcome the new programming perspective 2021-2027.

The Interreg South Baltic Programme now and in the future – the presentation by Dominika Butkiewicz is  here.

The Seed money call – the presentation by Małgorzata Skolmowska is  here. A list of questions and answers can be found here.

The projects brand awareness – inspiration for the future – the presentation by Katarzyna Sempołowicz-Lipska is here.

We are happy to hear your feedback after the event. You can add your comments here.

The full Annual Event is available on the South Baltic YouTube channel here.