The Baltic Rim is booming and has an enormous development potential with the currently highest economic growth in Europe, and it is expected that the trading volume will increase approximately tenfold in the next 15 to 20 years. The growth of the region exceeds the average economic growth of the EU-States. Meanwhile – with the accession of the Baltic States and Poland to the EU on 1 May 2004 – this involves nine of ten countries of the Baltic Rim. Altogether 152 million people live in these nine of the currently 25 EU-States – this corresponds to 33 per cent of the EU citizens. They generate about one third of the EU’s national product.
The current development shows that the Baltic area is a European focal point. Germany also benefits from the economic boom in the Baltic area. It is of great importance to the export industry, particularly to that of the northern federal states of Germany.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania provide an ideal access to the Baltic Rim. These three countries primarily aim at developing an open and free enterprise economy, the international opening in the European context, reforming the science and research landscape as well as strengthening innovation. After achieving independence, the science and economic systems of the Baltic States have undergone a fundamental change in recent years and the country has gained full EU membership.
Cooperation between Germany and the three Baltic States takes place between various experts and in various areas. Cooperation with the Baltic States in the field of education and research has been running to a significant degree since 1994. It has been developing continuously and is still booming today.
Memoranda of Understanding have been signed between the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science as well as the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science in May 2003. This provides the current basis for cooperation in education and research with Estonia. The priorities of cooperation are defined at workshops, taking place regularly.
Implemented projects in the priority areas of R&D such as material science, information and communication technology, environmental research and technology, life science and technology, physical and chemical technology as well as health research, often form the basis for the participation of German and Baltic partners in EU projects. Also worthwhile mentioning are the multilateral events and co-operations between German, Baltic and Scandinavian partners.
The Baltic States signified the wish to further deepen their cooperation with Germany. The aim is to keep on channelling cooperation in the future and to change it according to the respective bi- and multilateral requirements as well as to initiate STC working groups with alternating meetings.
The BMBF’s funding programme "International Cooperation on Education and Research – Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe Region" (“regional call for proposals“) which has been running since 2004, supports research projects being implemented by German scientists together with partners from Central and Eastern Europe. The aim of these projects is a joint project proposal within the framework of funding programmes of the BMBF or the 7th EU Research Framework Programme. Many consortia of partners from Germany, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are participating in this announcement with project proposals.
Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian institutions participated together with partners from Poland and the Nordic countries in numerous projects under the funding programme “Ideas competition to establish and expand innovative R&D networks with partners in the Baltic Sea Region - Circum Mare Balticum“, (“Baltic Sea - call for proposals“) which was announced by the BMBF in 2010 and has the aim to initiate interdisciplinary, innovative R&D networks in the Baltic Sea with the participation of all Baltic States. Subject areas of the projects supported under the funding programme are energy research, environmental research and technology, ICT, marine research, innovation as well as health research and biotechnology. Aim of the new funding programme that was once again launched in 2011, is to exploit innovation potential by international cooperation and to strengthen international competitive advantages of German companies and research institutions in the Baltic region together with their partners.
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Projektbeispiel (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/_media/Erfolgsblatt_MOE06_R51.pdf)
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