Briefing on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

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Publication Date June 2016
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Briefing published by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) in June 2016 on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR).

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While diverse in many ways, the countries bordering the Baltic are characterised by a high degree of interdependence, with a tradition of cooperation dating back to the Hanseatic period. This shared identity was cemented further through the EU accession of the Baltic States and Poland in 2004, increasing to eight the number of EU Member States in the Baltic region (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland).

Yet despite the introduction of common EU rules and policies, opening up new prospects for improving growth and living standards through closer coordination, persistent differences have remained between the prosperous northern and western seaboards of the Baltic and its less developed southern and eastern countries. Concerns over the deteriorating state of the Sea itself, and a sense that the region had failed to make best use of the opportunities of EU membership led to calls for action and the development of a dedicated strategy for the Baltic region in 2009.

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