The Consultation meeting on Russian and Belarussian participation in the Baltic Sea Region Interreg III B programme has taken place on the 5-th of September 2000 in Helsinki. The meeting was arranged by the Finnish Ministry of the Interior on behalf of the all partner states participating in the preparation of the new Baltic Sea Region Interreg III B programme. It was chaired by Mr. Marten Johansson, Deputy Director General, Ministry of the Interior, Finland and assisted by the Common Interreg II C Secretariat.

The overall aim of the European Community Initiatives on transnational co-operation on spatial planning – Interreg Programmes – is that national borders should not be a barrier to the balanced development and integration of the European territory.

The objective of the new phase of INTERREG – Interreg III - is to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the EU by promoting cross-border, transnational and interregional co-operation and balanced development of the EU territory.

This new initiative, INTERREG III has three sections:

  • Section A concerns cross-border co-operation that is the promotion of integrated regional development between bordering regions;

  • Section B concentrates on cross-national co-operation, contributing to an integrated and harmonious territory across the EU;

  • Section C aims to reinforce interregional co-operation and by the sake token to improve the policies and techniques of interregional economic development.

The Baltic Sea Region is one of seven European co-operation areas covered by this new Community Initiative. The programme was designed to provide co-financing to transnational projects on spatial planning and regional development.

Saint-Petersburg and North-West region`s participation in the previous phase of Interreg Programme - Interreg II C - was presented by 2 projects : “Waterfront Urban Development” (approved for St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Baltijsk) and “Baltic Palette” (approved for St. Petersburg) on the total summ of 18 thousand EURO. This situation concerning the involvement of Russia (and North-West region – in particular -) projects into joint EU cooperation is extremely unsatisfactory and does not satisfy the present need.

The thematic priorities of the Interreg III B programme are as follows:


1) Promotion of transnational spatial development strategies.

2) Promotion of territorial structures supporting sustainable BSR development.

3) Promotion of institution building, strengthening transnational spatial development.

4) Technical Assistance to support transnational co-operation.


Perspective of future North-West Region participation in the Interreg III B programme is closely connected with the decision of the improving the interoperability between Tacis CBC and Interreg problem. One of the overall aims of the Consultation Meeting had been hold on the 5-th of September in Helsinki was discussion of this problem and search of the possible ways of its decision.

Karelia, Saint-Petersburg, Leningrad and Kaliningrad oblast representatives and Programme Manager of Coordinating Unit for EU Technical Assistance at the Russian Ministry of Economy, Moscow took part in the Meeting from Russian part. General Director of the International Centre for Socio-Economic Research «Leontief Centre» Irina Karelina and expert of the Committee for Foreign Relations, Saint-Petersburg Administration participated the Consultation Meeting from Saint-Petersburg.

To further improve co-ordination between Interreg and Tacis, the following recommendations were made:

  • The participants felt it was important that the Commission will work out joint operational guidelines (implementation rules);

  • Regular and co-ordinated calls for proposals were held important as well as the introduction of a new selection criteria giving priority to joint Interreg/Tacis projects in Tacis CBC application forms;

  • Information events for potential Non EU, project partners should be organized to generate joint projects;

  • There should be one contact person in the new Interreg III B secretariat to help identify funding options for CEEC/NIS project partners etc.