The 11th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR

Online on 20 October 2020
Turku, Finland

Watch the programme recording


Speakers of the 11th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR 2020

Cooperating for Innovation and Sustainability – better together (even during a pandemic)!

Ms. Bettina Rafaelsen, Chief Market Manager, COWI

Bettina Rafaelsen has more than 25 years of experience in developing public policies and funding programmes for national governments, the European Commission and international institutions. Currently she works for COWI, responsible for managing assignments in policy analysis and assessment, focusing on European Cohesion policy.

Bettina Rafaelsen has been involved in cross-border cooperation (CBC) since the mid 1990'ies – developing the first CBC programmes involving the Baltic States. She has been supporting programming and evaluation of transnational programmes, in particular the BSR programme. Recently, she assisted the EUSBSR National Coordinators and the European Commission reviewing and revising the EUSBSR Action Plan. She also supported the European Commission developing the third report on the implementation of the macro-regional strategies. In 2017, Bettina Rafaelsen was responsible for the European Commission Study: Macro-regional strategies and their links with cohesion policy, covering all four MRS.  

Bettina Rafaelsen holds an MSc in Econ. and a MPA, and has worked with regional economic development in the Baltic Sea Region as head of section in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2000-2003) and prior to this, as pre-accession adviser to the Ministries of Finance in Estonia and Latvia, and task manager in the European Commission.

Mr. Peter Nyman, Journalist and media professional

Peter Nyman is a journalist, coach and media professional with a long career in Finnish TV, both as a news anchor and panel show host. He has also hosted hundreds of seminars over the years in English, Swedish and Finnish. Peter has been chosen SpeakersForum Finland moderator of the year and he has won several TV prizes.

Ms. Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate, Finland

Krista Mikkonen is the Minister of Environment and Climate in Finland since 2019 and she has also been a member of the Finnish parliament for the Green Party since 2015. 

In her governmental work, Ms Mikkonen strives to make Finland the world’s first carbon-neutral welfare society and to stop biodiversity loss. During the last couple years, she has been a part of Finland’s delegation to the Nordic Council.

Originally a biologist, Ms Mikkonen has a sound expertise within the field of climate issues.

Mr. Tālis Linkaits, Minister for Transport, The Republic of Latvia

Mr. Tālis Linkaits has been the Minister of Transport of Latvia since January 2019. Tālis Linkaits is a recognized expert in the field of transport for years. Minister announced many brave changes when taking office, including making railway as the backbone of Latvia's transport system. He was the Head of the VASAB (Vision and Strategies Around the Baltic Sea) Secretariat at the State Regional Development Agency between years 2006-2018 and an independent Member of the Council of SJSC Riga International Airport in 2016-2018.  In 2009-2010 he was a freelance Adviser to the Minister for Transport. He was a Member of Board at JSC Air Baltic Corporation in 1999-2004 and he acted as authorized State representative at LLC Baltic International Airlines in 1998-2000.

Mr. Christos Economou, Acting Director, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission

Mr Economou is Acting Director with responsibility for Maritime Policy and Blue Economy and Head of Unit with responsibility for sea-basin strategies, maritime regional cooperation and maritime security at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE).

He joined the Commission in 2000 where he worked in various positions at the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) dealing with maritime transport, land transport and lastly with innovation in railways, from the position of Interim Executive Director for the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking. Prior to 2000, he worked for the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) in Brussels. He studied Business Administration in the University of Athens, and holds Master's degrees in European Economics and in Maritime and Aviation Law, both from the University of Brussels.

Ms. Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Mayor, City of Gdansk, Poland

Polish local government activist and lawyer, deputy mayor of Gdańsk for economic policy (2017–2019) and the city’s mayor since 11 March 2019.

One of Gdańsk’s foreign policy priority objectives is for the city to take on the role of an important political and economic centre and a hub for culture, science and tourism within the Baltic Sea Region. 

A natural choice, the Baltic agenda is well placed in the context of the Gdańsk region as part of the EU. The history, culture and economy of Gdańsk have always been an intrinsic part of the Baltic and the Baltic states. 

Ms. Tiina Tuurnala, C.E.O., Finnish Shipowners´ Association

The Finnish Shipowners Association has represented the needs of shipowners in industrial and labor market policies both nationally and internationally since 1917. The Finnish shipowners are in the forefront of technology and environmental innovations and are strongly part of developing solutions for sustainable shipping. Tiina began her career in the field of hydrography with the Finnish Maritime Administration in the early 1990’s. With the establishment of the Finnish Transport Agency in 2010, Tiina was appointed Development Director. In 2013 Tiina was appointed Deputy Director General in charge of the traffic and Information Function and she was responsible for national traffic management (road, maritime, rail), icebreaking services, hydrographic surveys and functions related to the development of digitization, automatization and intelligent traffic.
In 1998 she graduated with a MSc. (Engineering) from the Helsinki University of Technology majoring in geographic information technologies. 

Ms. Madeleine Granvik, Director, Baltic University Programme

Madeleine Granvik is the Director at the Baltic University Programme at Uppsala University as well as docent and researcher at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

The Baltic University Programme is one of the largest university co-operations in the world, with about 90 participating universities in the Baltic Sea Region, cooperating for education and research in Sustainable Development, Environmental protection and Democracy in the Baltic Sea Region.

In addition, Ms. Granvik is chief editor for Nordic Journal of Architectural Research and is currently researching in "Planning for sustainable development and management of urban-rural interactions"

Mr. Jonas Faergeman, Chair, #ReGeneration2030 Steering Committee

Climate Reality Leader and youth activist. I am of the mindset that issues that affect us on an international level, can only be solved through international effort. Connected to the EUSBSR through earlier collaboration with the CBSS and my time as the chair of the region-focused ReGeneration2030.

Working together, merging knowledge and skills! Emerging areas of joint, multidisciplinary actions.

Ms. Krystyna Wróblewska, General Secretary, Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation

- Head of the Baltic Sea Cooperation Bureau in the Pomorskie Marshal’s Office, Poland;
- Secretary General of the Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation (BSSSC) during the Pomorskie Chairmanship – 2020 – 2021;
- Member of the Programme Council of the Baltic Sea Culture Centre in Gdańsk.

She has been responsible for international cooperation, including Baltic Sea cooperation, most of her professional life, first in the Gdańsk Governor’s Cabinet and, after the administrative reform, in the Pomorskie Marshal’s Office. Her responsibilities have covered bilateral relations and regional participation in the BSR networks as well as projects. She has been involved in the work of the BSSSC, Euroregion Baltic and South Baltic Regional Parliaments’ Forum. She has followed the EUSBSR since the outset, among others by: organising one of the round tables (on environmental issues) prior to the EUSBSR establishment and then the EUSBSR AF in 2011 combined with the Baltic Development Forum Summit as well as being a member of the team organising 2019 EUSBSR AF in Gdańsk. In 2001-2004, under the first BSSSC Pomorskie Chairmanship, she acted as the BSSSC Secretary General. At the same period she was one of the two coordinators of the Polish delegation to the Committee of the Regions and supported the establishment and work of the Baltic Sea Intergroup there. As the Plenipotentiary of the “Pomorskie in the EU” Association she was involved in the cooperation of the Baltic Sea regional offices in Brussels. She has supported Baltic Sea Youth cooperation within the BSR structures including the Baltic Sea Youth Platform. 

She has been involved in many BSR projects including Let’s Communicate. 

Her previous EU and Baltic Sea related responsibilities covered among others: Leader of the Twinning Programme helping Pomorskie to prepare for Poland joining the EU, Gdańsk Governor’s representative to EUROPARTENARIAT POLSKA ’94 and BALTIC  SEA PARTENARIAT ’96, co-organiser of the Baltic Economic Forum “SOPOT” for several years,  regional coordinator of PHARE CB, Gdańsk Governor’s representative to the PHARE CBC Steering Committee, member of the experts panel – Baltic Small Project Facility – 1996, one of four deputy presidents of the BCCA when holding the post of the Director of the Pomeranian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.   

Mr. Morten Jastrup, Managing partner, Nordic Sustainability 

Morten Jastrup is managing partner at Nordic Sustainability a value-based consultancy working at the intersection of strategy and sustainability. The sustainable bioeconomy is a strong research focus for the consultancy in close collaboration with the Nordic Council of Ministers, EUSBSR, Nordregio and Global Bioeconomy Summit. Morten has been working with sustainability for 20 years in shifting capacities from newspaper editor to consultancy partner. His clients include, Nordic Council of Ministers, UN Global Compact, Asian Development Bank as well as multinational private sector clients

Ms. Ülla-Karin Nurm, Director, The Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being

Ülla-Karin Nurm holds the position of Director at the Secretariat of the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being (NDPHS) with a mission to enhance collaboration and support knowledge brokering to tackle challenges in health and social well-being in the region. The NDPHS Secretariat is also Coordinator of the Policy Area “Health” within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR).

Ülla-Karin Nurm's background is a medical doctor further specialized on public health with long term experience on health policy and transnational cooperation. She has coordinated a number of EU wide research, intervention and capacity building programs, working closely with the EU Members States and the EU Commission. Her national level expertise extends from implementing community-based health promotion programs to policy making at the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs as well as coordinating health related policy analysis at the Think Tank Praxis Center for Policy Studies.

Ms. Aline Mayr, Representative, Baltic Sea Youth Platform

Ms. Aline Mayr started to engage closer in the EUSBSR in 2018 during the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue, where she drafted a first common Baltic Sea youth declaration. In 2019 she was part of the first Baltic Sea Youth Camp and attended the 10th EUSBSR Annual Forum in Gdańsk. She says it has been a great opportunity to meet with other like-minded and enthusiastic young people and then pitch the various project ideas of the young people in our region to the EUSBSR stakeholders. The youth of the region has achieved a lot during the past 2 years and she is glad that young people are well-represented in this years Annual Forum! 
She will continue to support young people’s voices through my work at the CBSS, where she is working on the Baltic Sea Youth Platform, which is striving to empower young people, fostering intergenerational dialogue and coordinating the various youth initiatives in our region.

Dr. Andreas Edel, Executive Secretary, Population Europe / Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Berlin, Germany

Dr Andreas Edel is Executive Secretary of Population Europe since 2009, the network of Europe’s leading research centres in the field of policy-relevant population studies, situated in Berlin, Germany. 15 of the 36 partner institutes are located in the Baltic Sea states. The secretariat of Population Europe conducted the project “Ageing Workforce, Social Cohesion and Sustainable Development – Political Challenges within the Baltic Sea States” in the framework of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

Shaping the prosperous, competitive and sustainable future of the Baltic Sea Region – what will guide us for the next 10 years?

Ms. Helena Tuuri, Ambassador for Baltic Sea Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland

Ambassador for Baltic Sea Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland as of 1.9.2018

EUSBSR National Coordinator of Finland

Chairperson of EUSBSR National Coordinators Group in July 2019 – June 2020.

Ms. Susanne Scherrer, Director of the Interreg Managing Authority and the Joint Secretariat (tbc)

Graduated in political science and Finno-Ugrian philology at Hamburg University. Worked as consultant and manager of EU assisted programmes in central Europe. Started as head of the first Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme’s joint secretariat in Rostock/Germany in 1998. Since 2011, director of the managing authority (Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein). Member of the EUSBSR Interact Laboratory Group founded in 2009. Interreg Baltic Sea Region has been the main funding source of EUSBSR projects and of the EUSBSR governance structure.

Ms. Ann Irene Sæternes, Head of European Affairs, Eastern Norway County Network

Member of the Interreg BSR programme’s MC and JPC since 2000. Secretary General in the BSSSC 2017 – 2019 under the Norwegian Chairmanship (Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation). Member of the EUSBSR HA Neighbours coordination group. Partner in the Let’s Communicate project.

Mr. Rüdiger Strempel, Executive Secretary, HELCOM

 An international lawyer by training, Rüdiger Strempel has been the Executive Secretary of HELCOM since 1 August 2019. He looks back on many years of experience of environmental law, policy, and diplomacy at the national and international levels, with a particular focus on international marine conservation.Among his previous appointments are the positions of Executive Secretary of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North-East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (UNEP/ASCOBANS) and of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS).He has also worked as a consultant for a number of United Nations agencies, including the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Moreover, Rüdiger has a background as a journalist and professional communicator and he is the author or co-author of numerous articles and several books.

In addition to his work as Executive Secretary of ASCOBANS, his specific Baltic credentials include chairing the ASCOBANS Baltic Sea Steering Group (“Jastarnia Group”) from 2009 to 2017 and his membership in the Advisory Board of the Baltic Centre of Excellence for Development, Education and Research (BALTDER), University of Gdańsk, Poland from 2003 to 2005. A German national, Rüdiger studied at the University of Bonn, Germany and obtained the First and Second German State Examinations in law in 1991 and 1995 respectively.

Mr. Risto E. J. Penttilä, C.E.O., Nordic West Office

Risto E.  J. Penttilä is the CEO of Nordic West Office, a consultancy firm and pan-Nordic think tank with offices in Helsinki, Stockholm, Tallinn, Brussels and Washington D.C.

Mr. Penttilä holds a Doctor’s degree from Oxford University and during his career he has been a member of the Finnish parliament, served as Secretary General of European Business Leaders’ Convention and is the former Director of the Finnish Business and Policy Forum - amongst many, many other things.

Ms. Delara Burkhardt, Member of the European Parliament

Delara Burkhardt is a member of the European Parliament for the SPD coming from Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. In 2019 she became the youngest German member of the European Parliament. She is a member of the Environment Committee, where her topics are focused on climate and environmental protection, biodiversity and forest protection. Therefore she is the environmental policy spokeswoman of the SPD Europe. As rapporteur for the European Parliament, she is currently focusing on due diligence and deforestation-free supply chains. She also works on the topic of migration in the European Committee on Home Affairs.

Mr. Igor Kapyrin, Deputy Director of Department of European Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation 

Deputy Director of European Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Responsibility for the regional and cross-border cooperation with EU Member-States and also for the Northern Dimension policy. 
Participation in the preparation of 7 2014-2020 and 2021-2027 CBC programs and also the Interreg Baltic sea region program. Member of respective Monitoring committees.


Mr. Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Finland