Pat Cox, one of the key actors in European transport policy, visited Luleå and Kiruna on May 30-June 1, 2016. The aim of the visit was to obtain a comprehensive view of the region and the transport system in Northern Scandinavia and the European Arctic.
The County Administrative Board of Norrbotten, County Council of Norrbotten, Region Västerbotten and the County Administrative Board of Västerbotten, invited Pat Cox, European Coordinator of the TEN-T Core Corridor the Scandinavian-Mediterranean (ScandMed) to northern Sweden. The main purpose of the high-level meeting was to present the region and to further highlight opportunities to connect the infrastructure in northern Sweden, northern Norway and northern Finland closer to the ScandMed in order to improve the functioning of the European transport system as a whole.
A delegation of representatives of local, regional and national level as well as the industry and universities from Norway, Sweden and Finland participated during the high-level visit. The visit was coordinated by North Sweden European Office, the EU office for Norrbotten and Västerbotten.
- Infrastructure investments in northern Sweden are a priority for us and the meeting with Pat Cox is an important part of a long-term improvement within the field of transport across Europe, said Erik Bergkvist (S), the Regional Council of Region Västerbotten. Another significant partnership to make the region more accessible is the cooperation of Midway Alignment to strengthen the connection between Umeå and Vaasa.
- Sweden’s prosperity is largely based on the iron ore from LKAB, which is exported or processed to steel by SSAB. The current agenda now is to convince the European Commission and the Swedish state to invest in a modern port and in railways for the transport of goods and commodities produced in northern Europe, explained Niklas Nordström (S), Mayor of Luleå.
Jan Moström, CEO, LKAB, discussed with the delegation the importance of logistics and transport systems, and the role of the industries of raw materials and commodities in European competitiveness and growth.
During the meeting in Kiruna, Paal Iversen, Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Ministry of Transport, handed to Pat Cox a Letter of recommendation signed by the Norwegian Minister of Transport, and a copy to the Minister for Infrastructure of Sweden and the European Commission DG MOVE. The letter expresses the Norwegian Government’s support to the Swedish Government regarding the extension of the TEN-T core network corridor ScandMed with the Bothnian Corridor along the coast in northern Sweden and the Port of Luleå and further on the Iron Ore Line to the Swedish-Norwegian border and the Port of Narvik.
In Kiruna the delegation visited LKAB mine and the locomotive and wagon workshop. Kristina Zakrisson (S), Mayor of the municipality of Kiruna, hosted the meeting for the delegation at the City Hall, discussing issues such as the city transformation, the challenges in logistics and transport infrastructures and the conditions for leading global industries to operate from remote areas in northern Scandinavia.
A recurring theme in the discussions in Luleå and Kiruna was the recently published Communication on the Arctic. The Communication sets up the framework for an EU policy that should aim to promote sustainable development in the European Arctic. The Communication proposes inter alia a coordinated financing strategy in order to obtain optimal use of the network. The work to create a sustainable multimodal system for long and short distance and a mix of transport modes and for passenger and freight traffic, should be done in cooperation between the EU institutions, local, regional and national level in Member States, in associated countries and the industry.
The high-level visit of Mr. Pat Cox is a follow-up to the high-level meeting held June 3, 2015 in Copenhagen, with the participation of representatives of the local and regional level as well as industry from Norrbotten and Västerbotten, Mr. Pat Cox and the European Commission, DG MOVE. The Copenhagen-meeting comprised discussions on the development of transport infrastructure in Northern Sweden linked to the EU’s transport policy TEN-T and further how the EU could help to link our transport system to ScandMed.