21 / 06 / 2023

Good News for Cooperation in the Kvarken Region – The Finnish Government Programme contains several positive signals for the Kvarken Council and partners

The new Finnish Government, which consists of the National Coalition Party, the Finns Party, the Swedish People’s Party of Finland, and the Christian Democrats, presented a comprehensive Government Programme on Friday. The programme for 2023–2027, titled “A Strong and Committed Finland”, is 259 pages long and delivers many positive entries that clearly concern the Kvarken region and Nordic cooperation.

Director of the Kvarken Council, Mr Mathias Lindström, was one of the 1,099 experts who visited the House of the Estates in Helsinki during the seven-week-long negotiations.

– One of the Programme’s many positive statements is the promotion of the coordination of Nordic transport systems in order to facilitate cross-border traffic, which has also been on our agenda for years. We’re especially pleased with the proposal to establish a Council of Ministers for transport issues at the Nordic Council. We’ve worked hard for it for many years, Mr Lindström says.

– Another fantastic news is that the Government Programme calls for an investigation of a fixed connection over the Kvarken between the cities of Vaasa and Umeå. This is immensely gratifying and gives us a strong mandate to continue working on the issue, Mr Lindström adds. 

The new Finnish Government strives to ensure security of supply in all situations, including Nordic cooperation in preparedness and security of supply. Finland will explore synergies between electricity and hydrogen transmission connections as part of the study on building a fixed connection over the Kvarken. 

Together with Sweden and Norway, Finland will seek investment opportunities from the EU and NATO in order to improve logistics connections in Northern Scandinavia. 

In addition, Western Finland and Southern Finland are recognized as important areas for Finland’s vitality and growth. The Government carries out its own measures to promote the purposeful development of these areas and supports investment initiatives. 

– Another important point is the promotion of electric aviation and the development of flight connections throughout Finland to achieve the accessibility goal of three hours. It’s of major significance for our ongoing development work to improve conditions for the Kvarken region’s economic life and inhabitants. Finavia’s airport network will be maintained in its current form.

According to the Government Programme, Kvarken traffic will receive support in the same or similar manner through the so-called island exception within the emissions trading system for EU shipping. This is positive news for traffic between Vaasa and Umeå because the purpose is to make the system competitively neutral. 

– The Programme contains several points that are gratifying to us who work with cross-border cooperation. We are thankful for skilled politicians who have participated in the work and who understand our border region’s needs and potential. Thank you to everyone for their hard work, Lindström concludes. 

In addition, the Government Programme mentions the promotion of Nordic cooperation several times; 

  • The Government will work to strengthen and deepen Nordic-Baltic cooperation.
  • The Government will promote Finland’s country brand in the international labour market in collaboration with other Nordic countries.
  • The Government will aim to create a joint Nordic-Baltic electricity market strategy.
  • Finland is an active member of the Nordic community and will work to deepen Nordic integration and dismantle barriers between the Nordic countries.
  • Finland’s and Norway’s cooperation will become closer now that both neighbors are NATO member countries.
  • We will improve Nordic cooperation in preparedness and security of supply. 

In the Kvarken region, we are already actively working on many of the prioritizations set out in the Government Programme, this gives us legitimacy concerning further measures on these issues. 

Excerpts of the Government Programme can be read HERE in English.

Photo: Lauri Heikkinen, Prime Minister’s Office.