Historical decision – cross-border cooperation in the Kvarken Region to grow stronger than ever
Press release Kvarken Council 2018/05/23
Lennart Holmlund and Mathias Lindström explain that, as an EGTC, the Kvarken Council will be a stronger organisation better able to push shared, regionally important issues at national, Nordic and EU levels
The members of the Kvarken Council gathered for their Annual General Meeting in Umeå on Monday the 21st of May. The meeting made history with its decision to start the process of changing the organisational form of the cross-border committee Kvarken Council from a registered association to a European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation (EGTC). Thus, the Kvarken Council will become the first fully Nordic EGTC.
The chairman of the Kvarken Council’s Board, Lennart Holmlund, from Region Västerbotten, explains that the Kvarken Council wants to strengthen its position as a cross-border cooperation organisation. Next year will be very important and interesting for the Council.
“Being an EGTC will be great for our members because it will allow us to create a stronger region for collaboration and growth. The members have given the Kvarken Council the mandate to compile the agreement establishing the Kvarken Council as an EGTC and to prepare its rules. This will raise the status of long-term cooperation in the Kvarken region.”
Joakim Strand has worked painstakingly towards achieving the new organisational form, the EGTC. Photograph: Anna Sand
“Our work together with the three Ostrobothnian counties, Västerbotten and Örnsköldsvik has reached a level where we are ready for the next step. We have outgrown our current ‘outfit’ as an association. The European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation is an established concept which we believe will make long-term cross-border cooperation easier and provide us with clearer and stronger authority,” says Deputy Chairman of the Kvarken Council’s Board, Member of Parliament Joakim Strand.
According to the Director of the Kvarken Council, Mathias Lindström, cooperation as an EGTC is clearer and not as dependent on persons.
“Now that shipping in the region is secure and will soon provide us with a long-term, durable transport solution, our role as a cross-border cooperation organisation will become more and more important. This is a decision we are making to prepare us for the future.”
As an EGTC, the Kvarken Council will be a more powerful body, better able to push shared, regionally important issues at national, Nordic and EU levels. Establishing an EGTC will reduce EU funding-related administration and will bring this important cross-border collaboration more visibility regionally, nationally and across the Nordic countries and the EU.
Mathias Lindström, direktör på Kvarkenrådet, +358 50 918 6462
Joakim Strand, riksdagsman och Kvarkenrådets vice ordförande, +358 50 310 0076
EAYY – Eurooppalaisen alueellisen yhteistyön yhtymä
EGTS – Europeisk gruppering för territoriellt samarbete
EGTC – European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation
The EGTC has been an official legal instrument since 2006 when the EU accepted a regulation concerning it. There had been several attempts before this to find suitable forms for organised cooperation between cities or regions within the EU. Since 2008, some fifty EGTCs have been established.
The objective of an EGTC is to offer a form of collaboration that allows cross-border cooperation between Member States and abides by the laws of the country in which the official EGTC headquarters are located. An EGTC is a legal entity, which offers strong operational capability and the possibility to make decisions.
An EGTC may consist of regional and local authorities, but also national governments. The parties involved enter into an agreement on setting the work in motion and compile rules for regulating and facilitating the work.
Other partners from countries outside the EU can be incorporated in the collaboration, but this requires a separate cooperation agreement with the country in question and the EU Member States involved.
Kvarken Council – Cross-Border Cooperation
The operating area of the Kvarken Council is called the Kvarken region. The Kvarken Region consists of the counties of Ostrobothnia, Southern Ostrobothnia and Central Ostrobothnia in Finland and the county of Västerbotten and the municipality of Örnsköldsvik in Sweden.
The Kvarken Council is developing the region by supporting the cooperation between various actors in the Kvarken region, reducing and eliminating border barriers, increasing the visibility of the region at national and European levels, working actively in several European networks and by utilising the region’s strengths and supporting the development of the region.
The Kvarken Council has worked with over 100 cross-border projects during almost 50 years within eg. business, education, tourism, research and development, health care, culture, environmental issues, sports, children and young people as well as communications and transport infrastructure. One of the region’s joint projects is the Midway Alignment infrastructure project.
The main members of the Kvarken Council are the Regional Councils of Ostrobothnia, South Ostrobothnia and Central Ostrobothnia, the cities of Vaasa, Seinäjoki, Kokkola and Pietarsaari – all in Finland – as well as the Västerbotten County Council and the city of Örnsköldsvik, both in Sweden. The operation is financed through membership fees and funding granted by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Read more: kvarken.org