Dear Friends in the Kvarken Council,
Thank you for the opportunity to write a personal greeting to all friends of the Kvarken Council. I’ve been involved in the Kvarken region’s cooperation in several positions of trust and to varying degrees since the early 1990’s.
During my first years, I served as one of the members of the Kvarken Council’s only permanent workgroup at that time, namely the cultural workgroup. We were five members from the Swedish side and as many from the Finnish side. The group was led by former Director Paul Lindell. One of the group’s larger cultural projects received its grand conclusion in Lycksele, Sweden, and gathered together around 200 young people. The performances were a mixture of music, dance, theater, literature, and film.
During my ten years as a member of Region Västerbotten’s working committee, I’ve visited the Finnish side of the Kvarken region numerous times and always been met with excellent hosts. It’s been very interesting and rewarding to participate in and experience Finnish culture.
In recent year, I have served as a Board Member in the Kvarken Council and witnessed interesting and exciting development in terms of the Council’s structure. In order for an area/place/city to attract visitors and be easily accessible, a combination of good infrastructure and the possibility to experience various cultural genres is required, but the most important ingredient is the local people. These three factors are necessary for an area’s development. We already have the people and culture; all we need to work on is the infrastructure. History was made in cross-border and Nordic cooperation as recently as September 11th of this year when we witnessed the launch of M/S Aurora Botnia at the Rauma shipyard via a live stream. The ship is expected to begin operating on the Umeå–Vaasa route in May 2021. The aviation industry is also progressing rapidly, and electric-powered flights may become commonplace already in the near future.
History will yet again be made in the beginning of October when the present Kvarken Council will decide to transform the Council from a registered association into an EGTC. You can read more about this HERE. A lot is also happening in regard to cross-border cooperation. Borders exist only on the map, and the Kvarken region’s cooperation is very good in practice – after all, we have over 40 years of experience in this. I want to be a part of the new organization and develop our region’s cross-border cooperation. I hope that you want to be a part of it, too.
Socialdemokratiskt oppositionsråd Lycksele, Member of the Board of Kvarken Council