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Political representatives of the Scandria Alliance member regions during the General Assembly in Berlin on 2 November 2021

03 November 2021

At the General Assembly of the Scandria®Alliance in Berlin on 2 November 2021, the political representatives of the cities and regions confirmed their common vision: to connect regions, communities, and economies through clean and smart transportation. The founding members welcomed seven new members, offering them to intensify collaboration on climate-smart mobility in the years to come as an important contribution to the achievement of the Paris Climate Goals.

 

 

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Per Thöresson, Ambassador of Sweden to Germany : "To reach the goals of the Paris climate agreement, sustainable transport is key. Germany and Sweden are collaborating in a number of joint initiatives, for instance on electric highways or long distance trains connecting our countries. Just a few months ago, the new connection between Berlin and Stockholm operated by Snälltåget could be inaugurated. I am happy to see that Scandria®Alliance is heading into the same direction and is collaborating along the corridor with similar initiatives like STRING."
Guido Beermann, Minister of Infrastructure and Federal State Planning of Land Brandenburg and chairperson of the Scandria®Alliance General Assembly: "Particularly for the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region at the intersection of the three core network corridors Scandinavian-Mediterranean, North Sea-Baltic and Orient/East-Med, the Scandria®Alliance has great economic and transport policy significance. Together, we now have the chance to make the Scandria®Corridor an example for climate-friendly transport development in Europe. In view of the ambitious European and national climate targets, cross-border rail transport plays an important role here. To consolidate it, the members of the Scandria®Alliance want to work together even more intensively within the framework of their strategic partnership and together unlock the potential of rail as a sustainable, innovative and safe means of transport."
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Minna Arve, Mayor of the city of Turku: "Sea, science, culture and international cooperation are building blocks of Turku's identity. We need more cooperation to better understand our common challenges and benefits of working together. The enlargement of the Scandria®Alliance proves its success. For Turku, collaboration on sustainable transport is essential. Our connection to Europe is the Baltic Sea. Thus, we must tackle emissions from maritime transport. A policy supporting environmentally friendly ferries like the LNG ferry Viking Grace between Turku and Stockholm needs to be continued. But also rail connections, like the one hour train rail link Turku - Helsinki contribute to smarter European connections from Stockholm to St. Petersburg. In the future, the Scandria®Alliance could take a stronger role in advancing cross-border connections"
Annette Lindahl Raakil, Vice mayor, Viken County Council: "For Eastern Norway County Network, the Scandria®Alliance is an important platform for discussing common political issues. More efficient transport along the corridor is crucial and should be based on climate friendly solutions. The local, regional and city level is closest to problems and solutions. Working together, we can advocate our interests at EU and national level. As a frontrunner in zero emission mobility, we are ready to share our experiences with member regions and are keen on learning good practice from the others."
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Ossi Savolainen, Regional Mayor Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council: "Why did we join the Scandria®Alliance? It is a very good platform for collaboration and a good opportunity to share experience. On European, macro-regional and national level, our common voice has much more weight. And: We want to be part of a clean and smart transportation network that is a European fore-runner. We understand ourselves as the gateway to the North but also to the East. Thus, from our perspective, in  future, I hope that we will have the tunnel to Tallinn enabling rail connections to Berlin and a high speed rail to St Petersburg, the closest metropole."
Magnus Lagergren, deputy chairman of Social Development Committee, Region Örebro County: "Cooperation can boost developemt: Two years ago I have been on a conference on Scotland on hydrogen. At that time, no one in Sweden was talking about hydrogen. And now: Everyone in Sweden is talking about hydrogen. Thus, today is a unique opportunity to talk to each other, to listen to each other and to learn together. It is essential to understand the others perspectives and interests to be able to join forces. For region Örebro county better connections to Oslo and Stockholm are on top of the agenda. And it is necessary to talk about clean fuels. Isolated national solutions, e.g. with regards to biodiesel, are not sustainable. With our ambitions at regional level, we can drive the national level. Thus, I am glad to welcome new members, who will make the Alliance more powerful.
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Håkan Samuelsson, Region Skåne: "The planet is heating, facing the greatest challenges of our time. Collaboration between businesses, science, people and nations is crucial, and we as regions have a major role to play here. Skåne's development depends on transporting people and goods. Our aim is to become fossil free by 2030. This needs the implementation of ambitious plans in terms of modal shift and transition to clean fuels. In this context, the extension of TEN-T is of great importance. New connections crossing the Öresund and Fehmarn Belt will increase the resilience of the transport system. We must succeed in meeting the EU's climate targets in 2030 and to become climate neutral in 2050 as the next step."

Moderator Martin Reents: "What did you take with you from the introductory statements?"

 

Guido Beermann: "A few days ago, I was in Brussels to talk about the Fit for 55 package and the Green Deal. There are a lot of challenges that we need to manage. We need to work together to find solutions for the challenges ahead. We should not stop to talk about aims. Berlin-Brandenburg understands itself as a bridge between Scandinavia and Italy and the problems we are facing in Berlin-Brandenburg as an urban node are similar to those of other regions. Thus it is so important to learn from the others how they are solving common challenges."

 

Minna Arve: "Climate. Corridor. Cross-border cooperation. Climate is the biggest challenge. I hope that our messages of what we are doing in cities and regions are flying over to COP-26 in Glasgow where the national level is negotiating. And how to synergize the large-scale, corridor development with the cross-border development, inheriting strengths and dynamics. This is what I take."

 

Annette Lindahl Raakil: "It was very interesting to hear about the hydrogen example in Sweden. This is an area where in Norway there is still some way to go. But maybe in the future everyone is talking about hydrogen in Norway, too. Coming from discussions at the local level, listening to the others is broadening my horizon and I am taking inspiration home."

 

Ossi Savolainen: "It's not healthy to be alone. We need friends and we need cooperation. What we have is a cooperation Berlin - to the North, what we need is a cooperation from Berlin to the South. This will generate new ideas and strengthen our collaboration."

 

Magnus Lagergren: "Not just talk about railways. But talk about the fuels. How to get the energy to where it is needed. Both discussions on transport and on energy have to be held at the same time. To learn how to have these discussions on regional level is what I would like to take away."

 

Håkan Samuelsson: "A few years ago we had the refugee crisis: suddenly borders were closed. And they were closed again during the pandemic. In the Nordic countries, we are not used to such a situation. The climate crisis will force us to collaborate even more. But we can no longer take this collaboration for granted. We have to take care of it."

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