In July 2020 a position paper was adopted by Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA) on the EU Cohesion Policy within the EU budget proposal and Next Generation EU. NSPA consist of the northernmost regions of Sweden, Norway and Finland. Overall NSPA welcomes the ambition for cohesion policy but stress the importance of regional adaptions and flexibility.
Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA)
Northern Sparsely Populated Areas, NSPA, is a network of 13 regions in north Sweden, east north Finland and north Norway working closely together to represent interests of the European Arctic. The Brussels offices representing these regions, North Sweden European Office, North Norway European Office and East North Finland, aims to influence EU policy by putting forward regional perspectives on Arctic issues on the EU arena.
NSPA’s position on the EU budget proposal and Next Generation EU
The NSPA welcomes the ambition for cohesion policy laid out in the revised proposal for the next EU budget 2021-2027. Moreover, NSPA support the new Recovery Instrument, Next Generation EU, to focus on green and digital transition within the European Green Deal as the main strategy. The NSPA also supports the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII+) as an essential effort to recover from the economic downturn. The NSPA welcomes the focus and extension of cohesion policy but underline the importance of regional development with three bigger standpoints regarding the EU budget proposal and Next Generation EU.
- NSPA call for greater flexibility and regional adaptions of EU cohesion policy, such as the ability to invest in regional airport infrastructure in order to link rural areas to larger markets and thereby support the restart of economic activities in the northernmost regions of Europe.
- NSPA wants to safeguard the legal status of the European Arctic in the initiative Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and Territories in Europe (REACT-EU). The sparsely populated regions with geographical challenges should have the same legal footing as within EU Cohesion Policy.
- NSPA calls for the EU to be a vital facilitator for sustainable development in the European Artic. The NSPA supports the Just Transition Fund (JTF) and the transition towards climate neutrality. However, the JTF needs to be in line with regional plans and investments for resilience and sustainable development to avoid financial crowding.
Read the position paper here.