The Kvarken Region – A Model for Crossborder Cooperation All Over the World
It is a privilege to work in a region where the interest for crossborder cooperation is as intense as in the Kvarken region. We witness a drive and genuine interest in putting the region, together, on the global map and improving our national, European and global competitiveness. It can sound pompous and bombastic but, in reality, is not that.
• In the region, we are developing a joint crossborder traffic strategy that stretches over three countries – which is unique in the world.
• We are working together with three national traffic authorities as well as with universities in Helgeland (Norway), Vaasa (Finland) and Umeå (Sweden) in order to adjust the calculation models for infrastructure investments to allow their usage also in crossborder projects – which is unique in the world.
• We have three crossborder enterprises which work together with traffic and infrastructure issues – which is unique in the world.
Consequently, we are a model for crossborder cooperation in many different fields in the Nordic countries, and if we are a model in the Nordic countries then we are in the vanguard in the global perspective, too. We can be very proud of that. All of the above examples indicate that we are getting ready for the next step in further strengthening our role in crossborder cooperation and cohesion policy. Therefore, the Board of the Kvarken Council has asked the office to investigate the possibility of establishing the Kvarken region as a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation, EGTC.
The required material is being produced in one of our projects, E12 Atlantica Transport, and the idea is being anchored amongst our members in connection with drafting the Kvarken Council’s new strategy up to the year 2021.
The Kvarken Council’s significance and operation have outgrown its present administrative role as an association. The region deserves and needs an instrument which will improve its visibility and impact both nationally and internationally, an instrument which will further strengthen and formalise crossborder cooperation, an instrument which will allow new tasks and can relieve the regional administrative burder related to these issues. EGTC would, in my mind, be the best possible mode of operation to achieve the above-mentioned ambitions. At the same time, it would be the second EGTC area in the Nordic countries and the first in Finland and, consequently, we would be a pioneer region also in that respect. On the basis of the feedback we have received so far, I hope and believe that there is political readiness and willingness to back up this aspiration. We just have to take the step into the future. The time is ripe.
I also want to extend my sincely thanks for all who work within or for the Kvarken Council, for its Board and members, and especially for the politicians and officials in the region who have the courage to work in the vanguard of crossborder cooperation. Further, my sincere thanks to the the Nordic Council of Ministers who with its funding allow us to promote Nordic cooperation.
Forward – together.