A total of ten organizations have been granted membership in the Kvarken Council EGTC in 2022, among them a whole region in Sweden, several municipalities and development companies, and some higher education institutions. The Kvarken Council has three different membership categories: main, municipal, and organization members.
In connection with the Annual General Meeting of 2022, Region Västernorrland was granted main membership with voting rights and two Board seats. This increased the EGTC’s geographical area and formed a natural continuation to the activities due to the shared World Heritage Site and numerous collaborative projects over the years. In addition, Region Västernorrland has cooperated in the Nordic context as a long-standing, previous member of the Mid Nordic Committee.
Points of Contact to the Business Sector via Development Companies
Development company Into Seinäjoki is one of the Kvarken Council’s newest members. The company views the membership as a natural continuum of previous cooperation with the Kvarken Council.
– We’ve already had the chance to benefit from cooperation in the Kvarken Council’s projects. There are opportunities for continued development through collaboration in a wider context that utilizes our strengths. Moreover, membership in the Kvarken Council enables smoother administration of international projects, says Ms Leena Perämäki, CEO of Into Seinäjoki.
Into Seinäjoki is a municipal development company that is 100% municipally owned and operated in accordance with its statutes in a non-profit purpose. Consequently, the company meets the necessary criteria and can be approved as member of the Kvarken Council EGTC.
– Jakobstad Region Development Company Concordia and Kristinestad Business Center have also been granted membership in 2022. Development companies strengthen our activities, bring about continuity in terms of project collaboration, and provide a fixed point of contact to the business sector and regional development actors, says Director of the Kvarken Council Mr Mathias Lindström.
Points of contact to the business sector and signals about the Kvarken region’s development needs are obtained not only through regions and their development companies, but also thanks to our region’s municipalities. Skellefteå, Vännäs, Kronoby and Larsmo are among the most recent municipal members.
– Although there are currently several major changes taking place in Skellefteå, we feel the need to belong to a wider context. We need cooperation networks in relation to, for instance, logistics and knowledge provision in the northern parts of the Nordic countries, along with mutual efforts to function as a larger unit and jointly increase our attractiveness, says Ms Evelina Fahlesson, Municipal Commissioner of Skellefteå Municipality and Board member of the Kvarken Council.
Higher Education Institutions Want to Contribute to the Region’s Development
University of Vaasa applied for membership in the Kvarken Council EGTC in order to strengthen cooperation with the Kvarken region’s actors. In addition, VAMK University of Applied Sciences was early in the game and considers closer cooperation with the Kvarken Council important with regard to competitiveness and sustainable growth in the whole region.
– As a university community, we want to contribute to the region’s development via membership in the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation. The membership brings about many opportunities that are strongly linked with the university’s statutory tasks – research, education, and societal interaction, states Rector of the University of Vaasa Ms Minna Martikainen.
There is great interest in Nordic, cross-border cooperation in the Kvarken region. Several potential members have come forward in addition to memberships granted in 2022 and the EGTC’s previous members. Active members get to enjoy the benefits and synergy effects generated by strong Nordic cooperation.
– Our members consist of dynamic organizations and we have an exciting year ahead of us. For instance, the number of higher education institution members will increase in 2023, and these institutions will receive an even stronger, shared point of contact through membership in the Kvarken Council, Mr Lindström reveals.
– We bid all new members welcome and note that this also increases the pressure on services provided by the Kvarken Council. We will continue to fortify our office functions in 2023, primarily in Sweden, Mr Lindström continues.
New Members in 2022:
Region Västernorrland, Skellefteå Municipality, Kronoby Municipality, Vännäs Municipality, Larsmo Municipality, Jakobstad Region Development Company Concordia, Into Seinäjoki, Kristinestad Business Center, University of Vaasa, and VAMK University of Applied Sciences.