Growth from the North report published in Tromsø
(Translation. Originally published in Finnish on 20 January) Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg and Kristina Persson of Sweden, Minister for Strategy, Future Issues and Nordic Cooperation, received today in Tromsø, Norway, a report by a working group on the potential offered by economic cooperation between Finland, Sweden and Norway in the Arctic.
The working group was convened in April 2013 by Prime Ministers Jyrki Katainen, Fredrik Reinfeldt and Erna Solberg. The members of the group were Mr Risto E. J. Penttilä, CEO of Finland Chamber of Commerce, Ms Magdalena Andersson, County Governor of Västerbotten, and Dr Anne Husebekk, Rector of the University of Tromsø.
The working group was tasked to identify new ideas and practical ways of promoting economic cooperation between Finland, Sweden and Norway in the Arctic. The report identifies four drivers of growth and four instruments that Finland, Sweden and Norway can use in pursuing sustainable growth in the North. According to the report, growth in the North is not possible without intensified cooperation and strong political commitment from the three governments.
The four drivers of growth proposed in the report are based on the idea that each of the Nordic countries has its own strengths in the region that should be developed through joint efforts to benefit all three:
1) LNG and renewables, with Norway in the lead;
2) Greener mining solutions, with Sweden in the lead;
3) Increased tourism, with Finland in the lead; and
4) Ice and cold climate solutions, with trilateral spearheads.
Prime Minister Alexander Stubb was satisfied with the proposals presented in the report.
“A lot of things have happened in the North in recent years – and this trend will continue. Each country and each Government needs to ponder how to promote development in this region. We in Finland, for example, have approached this issue very much from a business perspective focusing on activities such as mining and tourism. And we have also discussed how to reconcile these two industries, which is not always painless. However, the northern issues cannot be resolved by just mulling things over in the southern capitals. Instead, we need to drive the development in close cooperation with the various actors in the North. The report released today is ambitious and offers a sound basis for further efforts. What we need to do now is to ensure that these issues are tackled and steps taken to move ahead”, says Prime Minister Alexander Stubb.
As far as the Arctic transport network and infrastructure are concerned, the authors underline the importance of prioritizing and political leadership. The Governments of Finland, Sweden and Norway should together hand-pick the Arctic infrastructure projects that are to be planned and, if necessary, financed jointly.
In the context of international cooperation in the Arctic, Finland, Sweden and Norway could be more effective, for example by agreeing on joint objectives in the Arctic Council and by joining forces in Brussels in order to shape the EU’s Arctic policy and secure a fair share of financing for the northern regions in the various programmes and projects.
Risto E. J. Penttilä, Finnish member of the working group: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eero Hokkanen, secretary to the working group: email@example.com
Anna-Kaisa Heikkinen, Special Adviser (International Affairs), tel. +358 40 7483 86, Prime Minister’s Office