Annual report 2022

50 years of cooperation across the Kvarken strait for the benefit of residents

Kvarken Council EGTC

For a vivid region

The Kvarken Council strives to promote and develop a strong and viable region with the help of cross-border cooperation.

Director’s greeting

“Our Nordic cooperation here in the Kvarken region is one of the liveliest cross-border collaborations in the whole Europe. This is something that we must embrace and further develop.”

After an eventful and demanding 2022, we can state to have accomplished the following: a grand 50th anniversary celebration, five finished projects, three newly launched projects, and several more in the works. We’ve also begun an inclusive strategy work, introduced new colleagues to the work, accepted new members, and gained a geographically larger area of operations. In addition, we’ve welcomed new cooperation partners, including a completely new Interreg programme area. 

Despite all positive developments, shadows have crept into the world around us and into our field of work; experiences and wounds from the pandemic and the terrible war in Europe show the importance of cooperation here in the north – that we need to work together across borders in the long term, take a look at our dependencies, and also create conditions for social development, social preparedness, innovations, and possible solutions in the event of possible crises. 

Our region’s cross-border cooperation is concrete and sometimes hailed as the golden egg of the EGTC family. It’s important that we work together to promote the Kvarken region’s development which, in turn, leads to visible and positive results for the region’s inhabitants. Co-investment in the world’s most environmentally friendly ferry is currently the most concrete achievement, but we haven’t stopped there. At the moment, there are discussions about increasing mobility in the east-west direction in northernmost Europe with the help of sustainable flight connections and, in the future, possibly also by means of a faster, fixed transport link over the Kvarken. It’s now more relevant than ever. 

We have granted several memberships this year: to a whole region, various municipalities, development companies, and universities. Thanks to our networks, we can make the Kvarken region into a pioneer of cross-border cooperation. Our strength lies in the synthesis of many different actors who join forces to actually make a difference. Collaboration networks play an important role – regardless of whether cooperation takes place within the Nordic battery belt or the tourism industry to increase our common region’s attractiveness through joint efforts.

Cooperation is also necessary to solve the need for labour migration into our northern parts of Europe and to assume a leading position in the green transition. We possess expertise, a supply of green energy, and major new investments in green transition industries on both sides of the Kvarken. At the same time, our educational units are awake and alert. We can offer safe and high-quality living environments close to nature and the sea, not forgetting world-class education. Now we just need to help others in the world to see this.

I want to express my humble thanks to everyone working at or for the Kvarken Council, the Council’s Board, its members, and most of all the region’s politicians and officials who are brave enough to stand at the forefront of cross-border cooperation. I also want to thank the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Interreg programmes Botnia-Atlantica and Aurora, which contribute via their financing to the promotion of Nordic and European collaboration. 

All this gives us a solid foundation to stand on ahead of great future opportunities and challenges that we have in the region, both nationally and globally. Our Nordic cooperation here in the Kvarken region is one of the liveliest cross-border collaborations in the whole of Europe. This is something that we must embrace and further develop.  

Forwards – together! 

Mathias Lindström
Director, Kvarken Council EGTC

Chairman’s greeting

It is important to continue working to strengthen cooperation and promote sustainable development in the Kvarken region.

Nobody is the same person today that they were a few years ago. In a relatively short period of time, we have had to adapt and change our course of action several times, as well as rethink or clarify our values. For many people the outlook for the future may have changed completely. It is said that never before have we changed our strong opinions so quickly, regardless of whether it concerns a permanent workplace, NATO or energy production issues. But amid it all, we can also find good things in these changes.

At the Kvarken Council, we listen carefully to the signals and wishes of our members, combining them from a cross-border perspective. It feels strange to spell it out, but the crises that have been testing us, such as the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and high energy prices, actually unite us. We have a great opportunity to make the necessary corrective actions together – and there is a great will for us to work across national borders in the Nordics and the Kvarken region in particular.

It is quite staggering to see that the Kvarken region has again done the right kind of preparatory work with regards to the current situation. The European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) as an organisational form makes it easier to promote development projects for example. The preliminary studies of recent years for the Kvarken Fixed Link project were completed at just the right time. They have been the starting point for many discussions over the past year. This project is very topical from a security of supply perspective, and the energy production aspects linked to it are also extremely relevant.

Aspects of the green transition have of course not been neglected. Through the work of the Kvarken Council, we have completed the first electric aviation project (FAIR) and the next steps for sustainable flying are planned through two different projects. Cooperation between the major players in the Nordic battery cluster will also be promoted (Nordic Battery Belt pre-study), as well as innovative cooperation between energy companies (Bothnia Green Energy). Nor have we forgotten the aspect of meaningful leisure time and the importance of supporting our tourism businesses to promote sustainable tourism (Bothnian Coastal Route).

As I mentioned earlier, we may have changed, but the crises have also moved us forward and broadened our perspective. We actively listen to each other, we are more responsive to focusing on the essentials, we can look at things from new angles and there is a strong desire to work together to find solutions.

In conclusion, cooperation through a strong civilised society and a common labour market can play an important role in promoting the development of the Kvarken region. By making use of the resources and competences of the region, we can create a larger and more dynamic market that can lead to growth and employment in the region. It is important to continue working to strengthen cooperation and promote sustainable development in the Kvarken region.

Joakim Strand
Chairman of the Board, Kvarken Council EGTC

The number of residents is close to

in the Kvarken region.

When you look at the area

km² is the Kvarken region larger than Belgium and the Netherlands combined.

About the Kvarken Council

The Kvarken Council is a neutral cooperation platform and an enabler for all types of cross-border cooperation in the Kvarken region.


Events of the year

2022 was the year we turned 50! We can look back on a very eventful year. Take part in highlights from 2022.


Many new members 2022

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Allowance for young wrestlers

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Grand 50th Anniversary Celebration

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KvarkenTalks succeeded in creating dialogue

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New program area and three new EU financed projects

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The Kvarken Council’s new strategy is taking shape

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Åsa Ågren Wikström elected as vice chairperson of the Scandria Alliance

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The FAIR project has mapped out what it takes to become an early implementor of electric aviation

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Nordic Battery Belt Logistics project – The ports and local supply chains need to be developed to meet future needs

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Fixed Link project – More detailed investigations about a Fixed Link over Kvarken needs to be done

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Annual meeting, new members, and an expanded geography

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New members

A whole region, several development companies, municipalities/cities, and higher education institutions.

The area of the Kvarken region was expanded

km² when the entire Region Västernorrland became a member of the collaboration.