Inspired by the visit from the Finnish Parliament’s Committee for the Future in late November, I can state that we are on the right track. The work that is done in the Kvarken region creates rewarding and interesting discussions, and it is inspiring to be able to contribute to and participate in these.
Interest for the Kvarken region’s cross-border cooperation has always been great, but the spark that has reignited in the region after news of the new Kvarken ferry has surprised us. Our leading politicians work hard for the best of our shared region. We are proud of our cooperation, and our concrete results with e.g. the jointly procured and commissioned ferry, joint companies and new form of cooperation arouse interest both inside and outside the region.
We have held dozens of presentations all over Europe during the last months and been asked to tell of our regional cooperation’s historical background, challenges, solutions and goals and of the future prospects that an EGTC region can bring about. Time after time, we have had the chance to describe how our various projects have generated operational tools and support materials for decision-making that have gradually taken us closer to our long-term goal of developing the Kvarken region into a functional, competitive and well-integrated border region with a good transport infrastructure, good connections both internally and to the wider world, and an active role in Nordic and European cooperation.
Our goals have been set sufficiently high, which means that we must be proactive in terms of new projects for the future. One good example of this is the region’s initiative concerning electric flights, where the Kvarken Council functions as a cross-border coordinator. It is incredibly rewarding that our region constantly strives to improve its accessibility, and we at the Kvarken Council are eager to start working resolutely with this initiative. There is only development or degeneration, and this is definitely an initiative that can take the region further on many levels.
In addition to the excellent final result of the MABA II project, which enabled the commissioning of the new ferry, Interreg Botnia-Atlantica has now chosen to highlight this project in an exhibition where all Interreg programmes are given the chance to present projects they pride over. MABA II has been chosen to the category “Everyone Has A Neighbour” due to the preliminary work that was done to procure the new ferry and due to its significance for regional cooperation. We are incredibly thankful and proud of this honour, and we would like to acknowledge that this success would not be possible without political support from the region. And we definitely have that.
Therefore, I want to express my humble thanks to everyone working at or for the Kvarken Council and to the Council’s Board, members and most of all the region’s politicians and officials who have the courage to stand at the forefront of cross-border cooperation. I also want to thank the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Interreg programme Botnia-Atlantica, which contributes via its financing to the promotion of Nordic and European collaboration.
Forwards – together.