06 / 02 / 2024

East-West Cooperation Across the Kvarken – Lifeline for a Dynamic Future in the Northern Nordics

Finnish MP Mikko Savola and Regional Councillor Rickard Carstedt emphasize the need for strengthened east-west transportation routes in their common letter to the editor.

In light of security policy changes in the Nordic region, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Finnish Defense Forces, and the Norwegian Defense Commission have emphasized the need for strengthened east-west transportation routes. These routes create military depth by being crucial for strategic mobility and future defense cooperation in the Northern Nordics. East-west connections enable deeper and more integrated cooperation not only for our northern regions, but also for our Nordic countries as a whole. 

Stronger and more interconnected Northern Nordics is a development that not only strengthens our preparedness in uncertain times, but also creates a robust foundation for our daily coexistence, prosperity, and innovation capacity. Moreover, it enables the creation of a common labor and education market and creates better conditions for civil preparedness. 

The Kvarken Council EGTC’s Board sees this cross-connection as a catalyst for society – an artery that in peacetime will vitalize the region’s economy, simplify travel, strengthen tourism, and broaden business opportunities for both small and large companies. It is a change that will increase mobility for people, goods, and ideas and make our region more attractive for both current and future residents and investors. 

The current geopolitical situation must be taken seriously in Southern Ostrobothnia, Västerbotten, and the entire Kvarken region. We must build a region that strengthens security and the security of supply in this part of the Nordic countries and Europe. We have the opportunity to create an environment where people can live and work under the best possible conditions and strengthen our role in Nordic cooperation. 

East-west cooperation not only enhances the security situation for us in this region, but also improves the conditions in energy, innovation, skills supply, and food supply. By investing heavily in improving the region’s infrastructure, we create new opportunities to build strong, sustainable communities that benefit from each other’s strengths. This opens the way for cultural and educational exchanges, increased tourism, and a strengthening of the social ties that define the Northern Nordics.

Actively working to strengthen the connections between Finland, Sweden, and Norway in peacetime is building for the future. We should all engage in carrying out this project – not only as a physical connection, but also as a path to a brighter future for all who live and work in the Northern Nordics.

Mikko Savola, Finnish MP, Chairman of the Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia’s Regional Assembly, and Board Member of the Kvarken Council EGTC.
Rickard Carstedt, Regional Councillor for the Regional Development Board in Västerbotten and Chairman of the Kvarken Council EGTC.

Both Mr Rickard Carstedt and Mr Mikko Savola participated in the opening of the “Västerbotten at the Grand Hôtel 2024” in January, under the “New North” theme, focusing on transport systems in the Northern Nordics in light of the changed geopolitical situation. Photo: Patrick Trägårdh.