Governance of the Oresund cross-border area

Governance is institutionalised through the Oresund Committee and supported by several public, private and non-profit organisations. The Oresund Committee gathers several regional and local authorities in the area. National authorities (observers until 2006), firms and universities are not members. The Committee is supported by a ten-person Secretariat. It is complemented by a number of specialised organisations, such as Oresund Direkt to support cross-border labour market integration, and the Oresund Institute which carries out studies on the area. Private voluntary initiatives, such as the Oresund Chamber of Commerce and StudentSamarbetet Oresund, also reinforce crossborder collaboration. The Oresund Business Council, the former Oresund University and the Oresund Committee represent the bi-national triple helix actors that played key roles in the origin and development of the Oresund as a formal cross-border initiative. The Orestat initiative, a project funded by the European Territorial Co-operation programme, produces cross-border statistics which are useful for strategy development. However, the longevity of this database is threatened by insufficient national support.

The Oresund has a vision, but not yet an implemented joint strategy. ORUS is the Regional Development Strategy adopted by the Committee in 2010. It includes a long-term vision for the area for 2020 and focuses on four themes, one of them being “knowledge and innovation”. This is one step ahead of most other cross-border regions, whereby the strategy is limited to ad hoc projects. However, the vision is not yet accompanied by a developed joint strategy targeting economic development and innovation. Local and regional authorities in the Oresund are involved in joint strategies in the areas of land planning, transport and environment, but not as much in economic development and innovation. The future European Territorial Co-operation programme in 2014-20 will be an opportunity to develop more joint and precise goals and indicators.

Regional and national authorities’ commitment to the cross-border area is mixed. Due to the different position of the Swedish and Danish parts of the Oresund in their national context, the commitment towards the cross-border area is unbalanced. There is, broadly speaking, a stronger interest from Skane than from the Capital Region of Denmark. Interest at the national level is moderate to weak on both sides. In their support to the Oresund, regional authorities face a dilemma between regional growth and cohesion goals. For Sweden, the question is strengthening the area around Malmo and Lund versus the rest of Skane, albeit the entire region benefits from a stronger Oresund. The dynamics of Denmark result in tensions between Copenhagen-Zealand versus Jutland areas, thus politicising national efforts that support the Oresund.

Funding for Oresund initiatives is mainly from supra-national sources that also help place cross-border co-operation higher on local, regional and national policy agendas. The Oresund Committee is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and local and regional authorities. Public funding for cross-border co-operation projects comes mainly from European Territorial Co-operation (Interreg A), which has been instrumental in establishing the platforms that make the Oresund collaboration stronger, particularly for innovation. The Nordic Council and European Union programmes also support wider cross-border co-operation. Beyond European Territorial Co-operation initiatives specifically targeted at the Oresund, programmes with a larger territorial scope such as the Baltic Sea macro-region are also used to support cross-border co-operation.

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