A historical decision was made in the spring of 2018 to transform the Kvarken Council from a registered association into the Kvarken Council EGTC. EGTC stands for European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation, which is the European Union’s own legal instrument specifically designed for cross-border cooperation. There are currently approx. 70 European EGTC’s, but the Kvarken Council EGTC will become the first fully Nordic EGTC between two countries.
The goal has been for the Kvarken Council to begin operating in its new EGTC form in 2020. This timetable, however, has been delayed, but the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has granted the EGTC a so-called conditional approval in September 2020. This means that the EGTC’s founding meeting can be held on October 2nd immediately after the Kvarken Council’s Annual General Meeting.
– The approval is conditional to the extent that the Ministry wishes for small adjustments and specifications that must be implemented and accepted by all founding main members. After these adjustments and specifications have been addressed and approved in the EGTC’s founding meeting, we can proceed to the registration of the new organizational form with the Finnish Patent and Registration Office.
– These are our next steps, and we hope that everything goes well, says Mr Mathias Lindström, Director of the Kvarken Council.
The purpose is to gain a better instrument for regional development from a cross-border perspective. An EGTC provides several administrative benefits for the handling of various cooperation projects – ranging from transport and infrastructure cooperation to the collaboration between universities, hospitals, and the economic life. In addition, the new organizational form affords greater influence both nationally and at Nordic and European levels. The operations may also expand while they become more effective, and the Kvarken Council has an opportunity to reach completely new arenas as an EGTC.
– We will be easier to recognize as an organization, and the status of an EGTC shows that our regional development work has a strong mandate. Our importance increases, and we gain a better chance at influencing the description of different programmes and of bringing up our region’s needs in more and larger arenas.
Nevertheless, Mr Lindström emphasizes that the organizational change does not solve all problems – regional commitment and the members’ desire to develop their region are crucial.
– It’s gratifying that everyone has welcomed the organizational change. We have the most committed members at European level, and we’ve already attained unique achievements in our region – a new ferry co-owned by two cities in two different countries is one example of this, our regional electric aviation project another.
The Kvarken Council’s organizational change into an EGTC will be confirmed in October, whereafter the current association will be dissolved at the turn of the year.
– The Kvarken Council EGTC will become operational at the turn of the year 2020–2021 and, from all points of view, it will become an interesting cooperation partner. At the same time, it’s Europe’s biggest EGTC geographically and probably also in terms of its number of members. Together we’re strong, Mr Lindström concludes.
The original text was written by Ms Anna Sand/bySand and it has been edited for the Kvarken Council’s newsletter