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.
Chairman of the Board, Kvarken Council EGTC