Thu, Jun 29, 2017

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B7 Baltic Islands Network

2017-2018 Rügen

B7 Steering Committee held its annual meeting in Baltic Sea resort Binz

Logo: Landkereis Vorpommern-RügenIn this year and the next, the county of Vorpommern-Rügen has the chairmanship of the B7 Baltic Islands Network. For this reason, the Steering Committee of the seven large Baltic Sea islands has been meeting in the Baltic Sea resort Binz for its annual consultation on 15 and 16 June 2017. The political representatives of the islands discussed the opportunities of their future cooperation and got informed about the upcoming projects.

"The 6th artist symposium of the B7 will take place in Rügen in 2018," says Martina Schwinkendorf, B7 coordinator of the district of Vorpommern-Rügen. Under the title "Out of the Comfort Zone", project leader Ellen Kock will work with artists from all the member islands in the Gallery of the Landkreis - in the Orangerie Putbus - and in Lohme. At the same time, the (then completed) photo documentation of the previous artists' symposia will be shown in the Orangerie Putbus. Furthermore, Martina Schwinkendorf informed that in the beginning of August 2018 the B7 games will be held on Rügen, the fourth time after 1997, 1998 and 2010. Organizer of this sporting event is the Kreissportbund Vorpommern-Rügen, which before had successfully organized the participation of the Rügen athletes in the B7 Games 2016 on Saaremaa.

"Everyone did like the meeting in Binz," says Martina Schwinkendorf. Most of the participants are for the first time on Rügen. "Our guests were impressed by Binz, the spa architecture, the beautiful hotel rooms, the good food and the very good service." The B7 network mentioned also the good cooperation with the Spa management of Binz. Everything at the conference venue was perfectly prepared by Ralf Müller.

In the meeting participated from the Åland Islands (Niclas Karlsson), from Hiiumaa Riho Rahuoja (Governor of Hiiumaa Island), Piret Sedrik (Counselor of the Hiiumaa Governor) and Ermo Mäeots (B7 Coordinator), from Saaremaa Jaan Leivategija (Acting governor), from Rügen: Uwe Ahlers (member of the county council, B7 representative of the International Working Group of the county council Vorpommern-Rügen) and Martina Schwinkendorf (B7 coordinator). Unfortunately, Gotland representatives had to cancel their participation due to urgent appointments on Gotland.

Walk through Binz. Photo: Kurverwaltung Binz Meeting break at the beach of Binz. Photo: Kurverwaltung Binz Guided tour of Prora. Photo: B7

Coordinators’ Meeting on Gotland

Last week, 21-22 March, the coordinators of the five member islands met on Gotland. On the agenda was the preparation of the political discussions on the B7 future as well as of the chairmanship projects in 2017 and 2018.

Meit Fohlin, vice mayor of Region Gotland, presented their ideas of a political more active B7 network along with the CPMR Baltic Sea and Island commissions. The engagement of the islands in some of the organisations should be used to benefit the Baltic Sea islands in the best possible way. Such ideas will be subjects of the discussions during the Steering Committee meeting in June on Rügen.

The coordinators discussed practical details of the projects ahead. Under the headline “OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE” the sixth art project shall invite artists from the islands to creatively interpret the project theme, to exchange and possibly widen the B7 artists network.

Interesting input for future B7 exchanges got the coordinators also from Gotland actors – during presentations and discussions about Gotlands cruise tourism plans, about digitalisation and its chances offered to a modern administration and also about gender equality questions.

Meit Fohlin meets B7 coordinators' group  Group photo of B7 coordinators

B7 Chairmanship handed over to Rügen

Kaido Kaasik hands over chairmanship to Uwe AhlersOn the 15th of September 2015 at the B7 Biannual Conference on Saaremaa the Steering Committee decided to hand over the chairmanship to the island of Rügen. Kaido Kaasik, governor of the island of Saaremaa, reviewed the past two chairmanship years, highlighted by two international conferences on tourism and the challenges for maritime countries in Europe, by the art project DISSONANCES and the B7 Games for young athletes from the member islands Saaremaa hosted in 2016.

After two successful years of Baltic Sea co-operation he handed over the chairmanship hammer to Uwe Ahlers, representative of Vorpommern-Rügen county council. For the years 2017 and 2018 it will be Rügens turn to lead the co-operation of the Baltic Sea Islands.

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