Here in Southwest Finland, we operate actively across borders. The international networks have an important role in our activities, and by participating in them, we can bring a regional perspective to current issues and find partners for international projects. Today, our networks are:
BSSSC (Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation) is a network for the regions and provinces in the Baltic Sea region. The organisation functions as a forum for cooperation and discussion between the regions. Thematically, the broad cooperation covers issues that connect the regions and provides a pathway to the current affairs in the European development policy. One of the most important practices is supporting the international youth cooperation. EUSBSR (the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region) and the Interreg programmes are important tools for the development work, and the utilisation of them is supported by the cooperation in BSSSC.
CPMR (Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions) is an organisation for the representation of interests of maritime regions and it brings together 150 regions from over 24 member countries. The Regional Council of Southwest Finland is a member in this organisation. The organisation focuses on the supervision of interests in the regional politics, as well as in maritime, transport, energy, and neighbourhood policy. There are six sub-commissions, formed on a geographic basis, operating under CPMR.
The Baltic Sea Commission of the CPMR is an organisation for the cooperation of over 20 countries in the Baltic Sea region. In addition to the regional policy, the priorities of the Baltic Sea Commission include maritime policy, energy and climate issues, and accessibility. Also, the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region has a central role in the activities of this organisation of which the Regional Council of Southwest Finland is a member.
ERIAFF (European Regions for Innovation in Agriculture, Food and Forestry) focuses on the promotion of innovations in the sectors of agriculture, food production and forestry. Over 50 European member areas have joined the network, the coordinator of which is the Tuscany Region Liaison Office. There are currently ten working groups operating under ERIAFF, and their priorities and objectives are defined according to the needs of the member areas. Southwest Finland is a member in the ERIAFF network and also in the Plant-Based Proteins working group.
ERRIN (European Regions Research and Innovation Network) is a cooperation network of the regional offices in Brussels, and it consists of circa 125 organisations from 22 European countries. The network focuses on research and innovation policies, funding programmes and project activities from the regions’ point of view. ERRIN mainly operates on the basis of the activity and wishes of the members, through 13 working groups:
- Energy & Climate Change
- Smart Cities
- Blue Growth
- Innovation & Investment
- Science & Education for Society
- Smart Specialisation
- Cultural Heritage
- Design & Creativity
At the moment, the European Office functions as a coordinator in the Blue Growth and Smart Cities working groups.
iBSG (Informal Baltic Sea Group) is an unofficial network that connects the 55 regional offices of the Baltic Sea region, located in Brussels. The network does advocacy work by informing EU about the topical issues in the Baltic Sea region and influences EU policy, for example, through annual seminars. The Turku-Southwest Finland European Office is a member of the network.
We continue to be interested in developing our networks and finding new partners in Europe and beyond.