NIB President Johnny Åkerholm stresses the role of regional solutions in ensuring the competitiveness of Nordic countries in the future. According to him, the focus should be now on those initiatives and plans which have already been agreed upon.
“Every year the Nordic prime ministers meet in a globalisation forum with representatives from various sectors of society. At these meetings they could take stock of how different plans and initiatives have been implemented,” he proposes.
Johnny Åkerholm spoke at a high-level forum (Framtidsforum) for Finnish and Swedish business at Hanaholmen.
Mr Åkerholm mentiones two areas where Finland and Sweden could bilaterally strengthen their co-operation.
“Within research and development, Finland and Sweden could increase the scale of their activities by combining resources. National support and incentive schemes could be developed in such a way that they are increasingly used for cross-border activities in some identified areas. Both countries are dealing with cleantech—this could be done together with a common platform,” he continues.
Mr Åkerholm also identifies options for closer links in the field of finance: “The decision to increase the capital base of the Nordic Investment Bank contributes to improved supply of long-term capital in the Baltic Sea region. However, there is a shortage of cross-border growth and risk capital. This is also an area where the national efforts are often not big enough to attract foreign investors.”
He mentioned that whenever competitiveness rankings are made, Nordic countries end up at the top of the list. The main drivers of these high rankings are education, research and development, innovations, infrastructure, good governance and stability of the society.
However, the Nordic countries are not without their challenges: “First, all these countries are small on a European as well as a global scale. Second, their locations on the periphery create challenging logistic connections. Third, research and development activity is constrained when taking a worldwide approach,” he explains.
Mr Åkerholm points out that the challenges call for regional solutions, not national ones. “There are plenty of regional structures and good initiatives. It is the implementation of existing plans which leaves room for improvement. Regional processes should be pursued more actively to put the Baltic Sea region more centrally on the world map. This requires more integration both within the region as well as with the rest of the world,” he says.
The NIB President sees no need for new regional initiatives, however. The focus, he believes, should be on the follow-up of decisions that have already been taken. The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region identifies many concrete projects. The Baltic Sea Region Energy Cooperation (BASREC) aims at a regional approach on energy issues, while the Northern Dimension Partnership on Transportation and Logistics (NDPTL) is the key for regional integration within transport and logistics.
NIB and Finland’s state property management agency Senaatti-kiinteistöt have signed loan agreement to finance investments in governmental offices and a research centre.
19 Jun 2013
NIB has opened a loan programme for small and medium-sized enterprises in eastern, northern and central Finland.
18 Jun 2013
The financial information on the period of January-April 2013 is now available.
17 Jun 2013