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International co-operation of Pomorskie Voivodship
International co-operation of Pomorskie Voivodship is based on two documents adopted by the regional parliament (Sejmik): “Priorities for International Co-operation of Pomorskie Voivodship” and “Regional Development Strategy for Pomorskie”. They define the objectives, geographical directions and also areas and scope for co-operation. The main areas are economy and technology transfer, education and youth exchange, environment, culture, and the labour market.
With its location, the priority co-operation direction is the Baltic Sea Region. Pomerania has well-proven partners here, such as Kalmar, Kronoberg and Blekinge regions in Sweden, Storstroms in Denmark, Schleswik-Holstein and Meklemburg Vorpommern in Germany, the South-West Region in Finland, Kaliningrad Oblast in Russia and the Eastern Vilnius region in Lithuania. The partners joint activities are carried out under respective agreements.
Pomorskie is an active member of the Euroregion BALTIC, Baltic Sea Subregional States Conference – BSSSC, which was chaired by Pomerania for four years. Gdańsk is also the site of Union of the Baltic Cities Secretariat (UBC) and of Vision and Strategies Around the Baltic (VASAB 2010).
Important partners of Pomorskie are also other, non-Baltic regions of the European Union: Limousin, Upper Normandy, Aquitaine (France), Middle Franken (Germany), region of Northern Holland, Newcastle and Glasgow (UK), Valencia (Spain). Also regions outside the EU: Norwegian Akershus and Odessa Oblast (Ukraine). Recently also Shanghai in China has become an important co-operation partner for Pomorskie.
Pomerania is open to the outside world and actively co-operates on the international forum. This may be proved by the presence of six general consulates and 17 honorary consulates in the region, as well as many trade and cultural representations of the cities and countries which co-operate with Pomerania.
An important element of our presence in the EU is the activity of the Pomeranian Regional Office in Brussels, established at the beginning of 2004 within the framework of the local association “Pomorskie in the EU”, whose members are local and regional governments, regional development agencies, NGOs and universities. This formula helps the Office to efficiently use our presence in the EU capital city. The Association organises thematic study visits, seminars and presentations of the best projects and solutions on occasions of important events in Brussels. The Office together with the Marshall Office supports the Polish delegation to the Committee of the Regions and is perceived as one of the most active offices among around 280 regional offices operating in Brussels.
It was in Gdańsk, the capital city of the voivodship, where the changes which resulted in recent enlargement of the EU were initiated. The social movement of 1980 known as “Solidarność” and further involvement of Poles brought about the huge political breakthrough in Europe. The people of Pomerania are still very persistent and Polish EU membership is perceived here as a great opportunity and serious commitment.