Driving force and key actors for the Bothnian Arc cross-border area

Economies of scale and complementarity are two levers for this cross-border region, but a greater involvement of firms in particular, as well as knowledge institutions, is needed to reap such benefits. The driving force for the definition of a cross-border region is to be a dynamic competitive region in the northern periphery of Europe. This is a real challenge for a large area with only 710 000 inhabitants in times where agglomeration in cities is seen as a key ingredient to economic growth and competitiveness. Expanding Oulu’s success by capitalising on a larger and proximate pool of assets including the Swedish knowledge and business actors is a priority for the actors driving the Bothnian Arc. The Bothnian Arc Association has a relatively young history, but can rely on a longer tradition of Nordic co-operation. While universities are important players, and companies active followers, they are not in the driving seat for developing collaboration at present.

Table 4.5. Snapshot of the rationale and relevance for cross-border collaboration:

Bothnian Arc



Relevance for cross-border co-operation (strong, moderate, weak, not present)

Economies of scale

Combine resources for efficiency of investment, larger labour markets or access to wider business and knowledge networks to increase critical mass


Political influence

Develop greater political power for more financial resources and better dialogue with higher levels of government



Build on diversity of assets in terms of research, technology and economic base, as well as supply chain linkages



Increase internal recognition of the cross-border area as well as its external attractiveness to firms and skilled labour


Border challenges

Address the day-to-day challenges associated with flows of people, goods and services (including public services) across the border


Note: The assessment of relevance relates to the actual relevance in current cross-border collaboration, not necessarily to the potential relevance.

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