A Green & Blue Monday

College of Europe, Natolin. It’s a special place and a special day: coming all the way from Gdańsk, the Communication and Capitalisation Officer Mr. Vassilen Iotzov is here to give a presentation on the South Baltic cross-border cooperation programme. Serving as a good example of a European Territorial Cooperation programme, Monday’s topic is presented within the context of the seminar on “EU Structural and Investment Policies” - a seminar given by the former Director-General of the DG Regio Prof. Ahner and a seminar which I can only strongly recommend to any student who is passionate about the EU Cohesion Policy.

Everything’s prepared: it’s spring and a basket full of miscellaneous coloured chocolate eggs is going round a class full of students from various countries and with different cultural backgrounds. There are also muffins in blue and green icing; I’m wearing a skirt in the same colours; the slides of the presentation also happen to be in these two colours… Is it all just a coincidence? No!

Blue and green are the colours of the particular types of economic growth the cross-border cooperation programme seeks to promote in the South Baltic Sea Region (see link). Blue growth is all about tapping into the potential of Europe’s oceans, seas and coasts in order to foster the sustainable growth of a ‘blue’ economy that is in harmony with the marine environment. Examples of sectors in this area include: aquaculture; maritime, coastal and cruise tourism; deep-sea and short-sea shipping; blue energy (offshore wind power, tidal and wave power, etc.)…

Economic growth shall also be ‘green’ utilising natural resources in a sustainable manner. ‘Green’ economy sectors include renewable energy and efficient use of electricity; sustainable (green/eco) tourism; clean transportation as well as food manufacturing and processing, for example. Green growth moreover recognises the fact that environmental problems often affect multiple levels of governance ranging from local sources of pollution to global issues that do not stop at national borders.

The MarTech LNG, project presented by Mr. Iotzov, is a good example of how the cross-border cooperation programme harnesses blue and green growth at different governmental levels in the South Baltic Sea region. The abbreviation stands for Marine Competence, Technology and Knowledge Transfer for LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). The project supports the creation of a supply chain for LNG across borders in the South Baltic Sea area. As such, MarTech LNG has been of particular use to the LNG public tenders of the Lithuanian oil terminal Klaipedos nafta and the Municipality of Samsoe in Denmark at the local level.

Fostering green growth, the project provides moreover a solution to the sulphur pollution in the South Baltic Sea by promoting the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (one of the cleanest forms of fossil fuels available) as a bunker fuel for the shipping industry in the project area concerned. The project contributes furthermore to blue growth by creating an LNG knowledge and competence portfolio for business capacity building as well as providing an LNG business cooperation platform for forming a business alliance in the South Baltic area.

“The South Baltic region has little experience with LNG and therefore it makes total sense to collaborate with players who do have extensive experience in this specialised industry. The collaboration with MarTech LNG has allowed us to connect with other companies in the value chain and as a result this has created commercial opportunities as well as partnership discussions. MarTech LNG has done a great job in being the connective tissue between the different companies in the cross-border value chain.”

Frank van Dijk

Regional Marketing Director of General Electrics Gas and Oil Europe

On a predominantly green and blue Monday, a marine-environmentally-friendly project was presented by Mr. Iotzov which immediately grabbed my attention and which I just had to write about in this blog. It has to be said that without the great initiative of the Communication and Capitalisation Officer of the South Baltic programme as well as the help of the Professor and the Senior Academic Assistant Mrs. Ziółkowska in particular, I know that organising all this for the students of the College would not have been possible. The South Baltic programme is clearly not just special as regards the large programme area it covers as a cross-border programme. It's staff is also very dedicated to its work. The College of Europe demonstrated furthermore excellence in providing the best conditions possible for their students to thrive in their particular field of interest.

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