08 / 12 / 2023

EGTC Organizational Form Improves Kvarken Council’s Opportunities to Strengthen the Region

The Kvarken Council became the first fully Nordic EGTC area on December 31st, 2020. Over the three years that the EGTC organizational form has been in use, the prerequisites for Kvarken Council to strengthen the region have improved and the handling of cross-border projects has been facilitated, among other things.

EGTC stands for European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation and it is the EU’s own legal instrument specifically tailored for cross-border cooperation in Europe. The Kvarken Council is the first fully Nordic EGTC area in Europe. The EGTC organizational form brings new opportunities for the Kvarken Council to develop and strengthen the region through cross-border cooperation projects. 

– There are many advantages to being an EGTC area instead of an association. EGTC has given us a stronger body to address issues that are important for the region at national and EU levels. The new organizational form entails stronger commitment from the partnership and facilitates action at EU level, says Mr Mathias Lindström, Director of the Kvarken Council.

Working Committees Foster Continuous Cross-Border Cooperation

Working committees are a new working method implemented after the Kvarken Council became an EGTC area. The Kvarken Council’s board or annual meeting can establish these committees within the framework of the council’s operations. This can be done on its own initiative or at the request of a member, partner, or project. The strengths of this working method are that it brings strong commitment from the board and the collaborating organizations in everyday work and that it is possible to invite private actors and non-members to participate in the committees’ work. 

The first committee established is the Working Committee for Traffic and Infrastructure. This group has worked to explore the implementation of a fixed connection – the Nordic Connector – across the Kvarken, even though there is currently no ongoing project regarding the connection. 

– At the Kvarken Council, we aim for continuous cross-border activities year-round, regardless of whether there are ongoing projects or not. The committees serve as a working method that contributes to this, maintaining operations even when there is no project funding, Mr Lindström says. 

Several corresponding working committees will be established in the future. The Bothnia Green Energy project aims to establish a working committee for energy issues within the Kvarken Council. 

The Kvarken Council aims for continuous cross-border activities year-round, sustaining operations even when there is no project funding. The sine curve illustrates this.

New Organizational Form Facilitates Project Management 

The new organizational form can function as a sole beneficiary in its EGTC role. This means that members of the Kvarken Council, as well as other collaborative partners, can work across borders on projects, while the projects’ administration, information dissemination, and financial management will be entirely handled by the Kvarken Council. Partners can simply focus on goals and activities, whereas the Kvarken Council takes care of the “boring” tasks.

The first project where the Kvarken Council acts as the sole beneficiary is FAIR 2, focusing on sustainable aviation. The project aims to deepen understanding of the need for sustainable regional flight connections. Several member organizations are part of the partnership, along with Luleå. 

– We’ve gained many new members since the EGTC organizational form was implemented. Membership is of interest because the Kvarken Council EGTC enables smoother administration of international projects. The latest development is that some universities have applied for membership, and our long-standing partners in Norway have also shown interest in joining the Kvarken Council, says Mr Lindström. 

The Kvarken Council’s goal is to promote all types of cross-border collaboration with the ambition of developing the region into the best place globally to live and work. The Kvarken Council EGTC, for instance, works through tourism and transportation projects to strengthen economic and social cross-border cohesion and to develop the region. The council’s work is based on collaboration on behalf of its members and other collaborative organizations in the region. 

Read more about the Kvarken Council and the EGTC HERE.
Read more about the Working Committee for Traffic and Infrastructure HERE.
Read more about the Bothnia Green Energy project HERE.
Read more about the FAIR 2 project HERE. 

The Kvarken Council’s Director Mathias Lindström participated in the city of Vaasa’s City Forum (Kaupunkifoorumi) event to present how the EGTC has been applied until now. Photo: City of Vaasa / Christoffer Björklund.