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South Baltic Four Corners - a Developing Region in the Centre of the Enlarged Europé (Four Corners)
Start date: Jun 30, 2003, End date: Jun 29, 2006 PROJECT  FINISHED 

All project partners of the South Baltic Four Corners, hereafter referred to as Four Corners, are rural areas with low density population where the people traditionally has made its living from farming, fishing and cattle. The region experiences suffers from high unemployment, has few centres of knowledge, an ageing population and suffers to various extent from outwards migration. Caused by their common threats the regions are determined to collaborate with their joint major issue – how to develop a new structure of economic life in rural South Baltic. To answer this question, and to start the work to make it happen, is the main target of this project.In order to succeed, the project must build on common strengths of the partners. Small and medium sized enterprises are the base on which the future development will be built. Many SME:s have difficulties to find a sufficient economic base. They see a great potential in transnational cooperation. The project is designed to support them in their endeavour to start transnational businesses. The collaboration with SME:s will also, especially in the case of SME:s within cultural branches, lead to an increase of the public knowledge of other Baltic Sea cultures and improve the public integration. Since knowledge increases the interest of the neighbour, integration will fortify the work with tourism development in the project. Tourism is a major strength of all partners and the project work will build on the activities of local and regional SME:s, who most of all need a longer season in order to prosper.The project does not only aim to attract tourists, but also, since they are necessary for a positive progress, new enterprises and young inhabitants. The project improves the possibilities of young inhabitants to exercise influence. This will affect the general progress and make more young people remain in the region.The regional leadership elaborates a general structure of development, taking into account institutional changes, effects of spatial planning and physical structures of the region. The project also focuses on the expansion of the region. Welcoming more regions into the cooperation will make the region more geographically coherent and immensely improve its possibilities to attract new visitors and inhabitants.The situation of the project partners is not unique. Accordingly this cooperation can be used as a good example for other regions in the Baltic Sea region. Together with two euro regions in the new member states, the Four Corners has elaborated a programme of experience of exchange. The programme has used the Four Corners as a model of transnational cooperation and regional development and has spread the knowledge and results achieved by the Four Corners to more newly established co-operations. Achievements: The project has worked out a joint strategy of development for The Four Corners, including attitudes towards the areas of rural development where the project partners/participating regions can gain from transnational cooperation. The project has formulated visionary aims and concrete goals for the cooperation regarding these themes of joint interest that will be beneficial of a transnational approach. The project has also developed concrete action plans on how to organise the work in order to reach these goals.The project has started to build up the South Baltic network of cultural heritage, i.e. a network of cultural workers, cultural enterprises and cultural institutions in the South Baltic Region. The project has organised three transnational cultural festivals.The project has discussed the future tourism development of the Four Corners together with scholars and local and regional tourism enterprises. These discussions have resulted in decisions on thematic tourism tracks including activity offers that have been elaborated. The project has also worked out a marketing strategy, which is a theoretical discussion and a practical guide to the marketing of our regions to tourists, visitors and enterprises.The project has established a Four Corners Youth Board with high school students from all Four Corners. The board has organised two Four Corners Youth Parliaments, which engaged students from four countries in democratic discussions on regional development in the South Baltic.The project has further developed political networks in the Four Corners, where the political Forum once a year is an important part. These networks are crucial for the future and development of new joint projects.The project has also established a school network where high schools - students and teachers - arrange common transnational school projects. Several joint study projects have been carried out.The project has elaborated and carried out a programme of exchange of experience for smaller rural areas to work with regional development and transnational cooperatio
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