On October 1, the steering committee for Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NPSA) met for a digital meeting. The agenda for the meeting included the ongoing negotiations on the next long-term budget (MFF) and NSPA’s position on the EU’s new Artic Policy.
Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA), which represents the 13 northernmost regions in Sweden, Finland and Norway, met digitally on October 1 for a steering committee meeting. Participating in the meeting were the steering group for NSPA and representatives from NSPA's EU Brussels offices for northern Sweden, Finland and Norway. During the meeting, a response to the EU consultation on regional state aid was adopted, as well as a draft response to the EU consultation on Artic Policy.
EU’s next long-term budget
Although the European Council decided on the next long-term budget in July 2020, questions remain on what the next budget period will mean for the NSPA regions. An important issue for NSPA is what impact the so called capping mechanism will have for the extra allocation that is granted to northern Sweden and northern and eastern Finland. This capping has been negotiated for the next budget period and means that Finland’s and Sweden’s allocation from the EU’s cohesion policy will be limited to 90% respectively 80% of current support levels. This is an important topic to follow to ensure that the regions receive full exchange of the EU’s special allocation to the NSPA-regions.
EU's Arctic strategy
Another important issue addressed during the meeting was the EU's Arctic policy, which currently is under revision. In parallel, the governments of Finland, Sweden and Norway are working to develop their own national strategies for the Arctic. On behalf of NSPA, it is important to emphasize the importance of strengthened regional development from both a climate perspective and a geopolitical perspective.
NSPA's position in regional state aid
Finally, the NSPA decided on a common position regarding the European Commission's revision of the guidelines for regional state aid.
North Sweden's chairmanship of NSPA is coming to an end
The NSPA's presidency and secretariat rotate between the countries where the Brussels offices and the political representatives take turns leading the work of the NSPA. North Sweden currently holds this position where Nils-Olof Lindfors, regional councillor in Norrbotten, is the chairman. In the beginning of next year, 2021, the presidency will be taken over by North Norway.
Read NSPA's response to the EU consultation on opportunities for regional state aid here.
Read about the consultation on Arctic policy in the EU here.
Read about NSPA's meeting with the cabinet of the EU Commissioner responsible for Regional Policy here.