The Association of Polish Communes Euroregion Baltic (APC ERB) is a non-profit organization established by public organizations in 1997 to support the cooperation of local authorities in the implementation of international or cross-border projects. The main objective of the organization is to strengthen local and regional authorities and their communities and organizations in international activities, in particular in cooperation within the EU and the Baltic Sea Region.
APC ERB is widely recognized as a hub for project-driven cross-border and international relations, involving citizens, politicians, institutions, economic and social partners, and educational and cultural institutions. For over 25 years, its mission is to actively support and inspire local and regional development by acting and enhancing the cooperation of local governments of Pomorerania and Warmia –Mazury Regions (currently organization consists of 38 cities, towns, and communes).
The Association operates based on Polish law and in particular the Law on Associations (like other organizations, the NGO sector) and the Law on Volunteerism and public benefit. Decisions taken in the Association are fully sovereign and independent of any government.
Its main aim is to build competencies and broaden the capacity of local governments, in the area of international cooperation. The main mission of the organization is the slogan "closer cooperation, the idea of self-government, society and the baltic sea", setting strategic goals through:
- A common voice as part of international and local government cooperation,
- Value creation for municipalities,
- Internationalization of activities and development of the region.
The following objectives of the mission are being accomplished by:
- shaping awareness and disseminating knowledge about cooperation between borders, possibilities of cooperation in the country and abroad,
- building partnership relations of local governments with the business sphere, scientific institutions, and supporting organizations and networks of the international environment,
- promoting the idea of self-government and multi-sectoral cooperation for the benefit of local communities,
- active cooperation with foreign partners, not only from the Baltic Sea area but the entire EU,
- popularization, information, and education activities for the benefit of local communities, showing the benefits of the processes of internationalization of initiatives,
- openness to new ventures and support in their development,
- implementation of a special mission - respecting the Baltic traditions of the region and promoting the benefits of cooperation within the ERB network.
In addition to supporting the national activities of the APC ERB also has the status of a founding organization of the non-formal network of the Euroregion Baltic, which is a solid network on the Southern shores of the Baltic Sea, composed of 8 members regions: in Denmark (Bornholm), in Sweden (Blekinge, Kalmar, Kronoberg), in Poland (Warmia-Masuria and Pomerania) and Lithuania (Klaipeda). These regions opted to form a Euroregion in 1998, setting the basis for long-lasting political cooperation whose main scope is to boost cross-border relations for economic, social, and political development. ERB has been the first Euroregion to formally include a Russian Partner, proving the possibility to handle sensible cross-border issues or challenges in a friendly and trustful atmosphere.