Cooperation on maritime issues – are we making progress?

Tiina Perho, Board member, Regional Council of Southwest Finland & Chair, CPMR BSR Working Group on Maritime Issues

As a regional politician I am a member of the board of the Regional Council of Southwest Finland. The council functions as an authority for regional development. As an organisation for planning and promoting regional interests, the council represents the 27 municipalities in our region. The council is also in charge of the region’s international relations.
I’m very used to working in an international atmosphere. I worked for six years in Brussels and Strasbourg as a political assistant to a Member of the European Parliament. When it comes to Baltic Sea cooperation, since the beginning of this year I have been the Chair of the Maritime Working Group of the CPMR Baltic Sea Commission.
What are the main drivers behind your engagement in the Baltic Sea cooperation?

Since my childhood I’ve spent summer vacations at my parents’ summer cottage by the sea, and unfortunately I have seen concretely how the condition of the sea has become worse during that time. I worked together with my MEP, for example in the Baltic Sea Intergroup, and was involved in writing the basis of the EUSBSR, as well as preparing the strategy’s own budget. Since I had the possibility to be involved at the beginning of the strategy, my interest has continued and I am always eager to hear the latest developments, and work with implementing the strategy’s targets.
At work, I am involved with agricultural questions, and part of this is to address the environmental issues in order to improve the state of the Baltic Sea. Being part of the board of the Regional Council of Southwest Finland gives me the possibility to make a difference and to be involved.
When it comes to cooperation on maritime issues – are we making progress?
What is the single most important thing to achieve results in the coming years?

Yes, we are making progress. The blue colour is very topical nowadays, one might think it has even left the green themes behind, but of course both are vital. This emergence of blue themes requires cooperation; the seas have always been our joint resources and they need our joint attention and nourishing as well.
Fortunately, this is widely understood. For example, in the Paris Agreement the role of the seas and oceans for the state of the climate is clearly taken into consideration. For the especially vulnerable areas, such is as the Baltic Sea, it is extremely important that the environmental issues are addressed in cooperation.
So the need for cooperation in environmental issues is quite clear, but what I feel is very important as well, is to cooperate in other matters of wellbeing. For example, the regional cooperation in enhancing the smart blue strategies has real potential in supporting our economics. Projects such as the Smart Blue Regions and the CPMR’s Baltic Sea Commission study on regional smart strategies gives us tools to recognise our best regional capabilities to support our position in the global economies – in cooperation, naturally.
What are your expectations for the Strategy Forum 2016?

I am really looking forward to the discussion on the Vision 2030 for the Baltic Sea Region. I believe that we will all get more food for thought and tools for our work. I am also looking forward to meeting colleagues around the Baltic Sea; it is also a very important (and fun!) part of the EUSBSR Annual Forums.

Tiina Perho, Board member South West Finland Regional Council & Chair CPMR BSR Working Group on Maritime issues
Tiina Perho, Board member South West Finland Regional Council & Chair CPMR BSR Working Group on Maritime issues

‘The single most important thing, in my opinion, is to stop the global warming. We only have one globe, and if we mess it up, well, then there’s no point in worrying anything else anymore.’

Tiina Perho will be a panellist in the Inspirational Session II - Policies for 2030