Discussions at the roundtable were focused on issues of improving life quality and promoting creative industries in border areas. Hiiumaa County Governor Hannes Maasel welcomed participants of the BEN Roundtable; he outlined the importance of international cooperation activities for Hiiumaa county. Along BEN, another important cooperation network for Hiiumaa is the B7 – a union of islands in the Baltic Sea. Carita Pettersson, Head of the Nordic Council of Ministers Estonian office, presented information on NCM programmes in Estonia. According to Carita Pettersson, support to the cross-border cooperation, including the discussion of possible barriers to the cooperation and ways to overcome those, are among priorities of activities of NCM in Estonia.
BEN partners presented their recent projects and discussed ideas for
new activities. Hiiumaa County government is a partner in Interreg
Baltic Sea programme project “New Bridges” that tackles urban rural
planning. In the framework of the project a sociological study of the
quality of life of people living on Hiiumaa Island is being carried out.
This is the third study during the 15-year long period; the study
provides policymakers with unique information on the development of the
community of islanders in Hiiumaa. Preliminary results of the study were
presented at the roundtable.
The issue of how to promote development of creative industries in rural areas was discussed by representatives of the Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation (Tartu) and NGO Arhipelaag (Hiiumaa). Border areas are suffering from peripherality and are lagging behind in the economical and social development. Utilising the rich natural and cultural heritage and promoting development of creative industries , is a resource for the economic development of those peripheral rural regions. NGO Arhipelaag has developed several event based attractions for tourist and for creating jobs, including Cafeteria Day, Festival of Good Energy, Theatre in Harbour, Dark Nights Film Festival etc, that showed to be successful in energising the local community and bringing tourist to the Hiiumaa island. Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation is planning activities on mapping of creative industries in the Lake Peipsi region and in promoting creative industries will use the experiences of NGO Archipelaag.
The roundtable participants considered important to continue the cooperation within the Baltic Euroregions Network that serves today as an important platform for exchange of experiences and knowhow in promoting the development of border areas and supporting the cross-border cooperation within Estonia and in the Baltic Sea Region.