The National Baltic Sea Forum of Finland in Turku

Kari Liuhto,
Professor, Director,
Centrum Balticum Foundation,

The security situation in the Baltic Sea region (BSR) has been worsening during the past few years – most dramatically after the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014. The Western countries and Russia have organised massive military exercises in the vicinity of the BSR. Furthermore, Russia has strengthened its military might in the Russian exclave Kaliningrad by e.g. installing new missiles and constructing bunkers in this military outpost. Is the tense security situation going to push the non-allied nations of the BSR, Finland and Sweden, to collaborate more closely with each other or even with the NATO countries of the region, i.e. Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Poland? Is Finland’s €7–10 billion acquisition of the approximately 60 fighter aircrafts going to bring Finland closer to Sweden or NATO in its military co-operation?

The BSR covers approximately five percent of the global trade and the Baltic Sea is among Russia’s main energy export routes, as the lion’s share of Russian oil is shipped to the West through the Baltic Sea and the region will become Russia’s main natural gas export route once the Nord Stream 2 commences its operations. On the other hand, the weakened economic growth of Russia and the sanctions between Russia and the West have slowed down the economic interaction between the EU and Russia. Will the BSR become a unique place where the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union co-operate or a region where these two unions clash economically? Can environmental threats and new ways of thinking and acting, e.g. the circular economy approach, bring the European Union and Russia closer to each other or will an iron curtain descend across the BSR once again?

In order to enhance the exchange of ideas and free dialogue, the Centrum Balticum Foundation organises the 12th annual National Baltic Sea Forum of Finland at Turku School of Economics on 25 March 2019. This high-level event tackles future challenges linked with the security, economic development, and environment of the BSR. The conference brings together some 250 ministers, politicians, businessmen, and academics from around the world. Minister of Finance Petteri Orpo will give a keynote speech at the forum.

The programme of the forum and the registration form can be accessed from the links below. The participation is free of charge.

Welcome to Turku to change the Baltic Sea region for the better!

National Baltic Sea Forum of Finland 2019: “Future Challenges of the Baltic Sea Region”



The Centrum Balticum Foundation:

The Centrum Balticum Foundation was founded in 2007 to communicate, coordinate, and connect Baltic Sea region co-operation. The foundation aims to connect and build bridges between actors and issues. The foundation works for facilitating regional co-operation and coordinating expertise. Information, hottest news, and policy-oriented reports on the BSR are found on the foundation’s website.


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