BSR-EMFF network met in Warsaw to discuss alignment of funding

The network for the European Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Fund Managing Authorities and national FLAG-networks in the Baltic Sea Region (the BSR-EMFF Network) organised a meeting on 26 March in Warsaw, Poland to discuss the alignment of funding across the Baltic Sea Region.

Alignment of funding can mean aligning the different national EMFF Operational Programmes (OPs) better with the EUSBSR, but it can also be about aligning the EMFF OPs with each other, promoting cooperation to meet common challenges in the BSR. Moreover, in a broader perspective it can be about aligning the EMFF and the national OPs with the other ESI-funds. The meeting focused mainly on analysing the best possible ways to align the national OPs in the BSR with each other both in order to meet common challenges and deliver the goals of the EUSBSR. 

The national OPs are designed to meet specific national challenges and opportunities in the fishery and aquaculture sectors. To illustrate, Baltic fishermen are using the same sea and are oftentimes exploiting the same fish stocks, and sometimes landing their catch in a neighbouring country, even if it is clearly within the quota system. The seal is an example of an issue shared by many Baltic fishermen and the cormorants are a common problem for many fish farms. Aquaculture companies are sometimes interlinked with companies operating in more than one country and are occasionally facing similar problems. Thus, as a number of challenges and opportunities are the same in the Baltic Sea Area as a whole, so there are issues where all Member States could benefit from addressing certain challenges in a similar manner in their OPs. 

As a result, it was agreed that the selection criteria for projects could be better aligned. In case there are calls for proposals, there might be an advantage to aligning them in time and theme to facilitate the possibilities for cooperation between different national projects. Examples could include:

  • Giving extra points in the selection process for projects that have a cooperation with partners in other countries
  • Giving extra points for projects that show how they deliver the objectives of the EUSBSR
  • Launching calls for proposals for the same theme during the same time period
  • Introducing a transnational component in the national Ops, making it possible to add a cooperation part to existing national projects who have found partners in other countries working with the same issues.

The next meeting will be scheduled for October 2019. 

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