North Sweden European Office is the Brussels representation of Norrbotten, Västerbotten, Jämtland Härjedalen and Västernorrland, the four northernmost counties of Sweden. The aim of the office is to create good conditions for the region's companies, academia and public authorities to act successfully in the EU arena. That is done by monitoring and influence the EU-policy in areas of interest for the regional actors, our owners.
Norrbotten and Västerbotten early recognized the need to be represented in Brussels and established North Sweden in Brussels in 1997, two years after Sweden joined the EU. As the start of 2020, North Sweden was expanded to include all four northernmost Swedish regions, as they have historically worked closely both at home and in Brussels. Before that, Jämtland Härjedalen and Västernorrland was represented in Brussels under the flag of Mid Sweden European Office.
To be present as a regional office in Brussels is not unique for northern Sweden. Today more than 300 regions and cities has similar offices in Brussels. The representation enables the regional actors to follow the legislative procedures and at an early stage inform decision makers on how propositions might effect the North.
An important part of our work is to help the region to utilize the the opportunities that the EU membership brings via collaborations and funding for development projects. North Sweden also strives to present our region's strengths and to communicate to the Brussels arena how the regional actors contributes to solutions to EU-issues, through production, innovation and collaboration.
North Sweden is a collaborative project between the regions of Västerbotten, Norrbotten, Jämtland Härjedalen and Västernorrland, the county government of Norrbotten, the municipalities of Norrbotten, the municipalities of Västernorrland, the Businesses and Chamber of commerce in Norrbotten and Västerbotten and Mid Sweden, as well as Luleå Technical University, Umeå University and Mid Sweden University. Our office works closely with the owners from our regions, as well as partners on the EU-arena which shares our interests. Issues that concerns national level are dealt with in collaboration with North Sweden Stockholm Office. Administratively North Sweden is considered a project hosted by the region of Västerbotten.
Many of the decisions made on EU-level influences the development of Norrbotten, Västerbotten, Jämtland Härjedalen and Västernorrland. To make sure that our regions interests are represented and part of the discussions, North Sweden works to influence the EU’s decision making process. We monitor the policy development and new legislation on EU-level so that the region's point of views can be lifted to the relevant actors in Brussels. To help raise awareness about EU-processes in our regions, North Sweden continuously reports on developments within prioritized focus areas. The goal is to establish Övre Norrland as an valuable partner contributing to EU:s collective developments and in return receive support and access to platforms based on the region's specific conditions. This is made possible by raising awareness about the regions possibilities in the European context, and to formulate the regions messages towards the EU. This requires insight, knowledge and understanding for EU-proceedings and legislative processes.
The EU implements parts of its ambitions by different funds and financial offers that supports development projects across europe. The purpose is to create greater cohesion, enhance the competition in the EU and to find solutions to common challenges in the member states. North Sweden act as a strategic tool to raise the regions ability to participate in the programmes. That includes to pinpoint possibilities and to stimulate a common understanding in the region for the policy development. The office is also a platform for presence in Brussels for specific events or long term.