Nordregio’s position regarding the funding of research and research collaboration with Russia and Belarus
The Council of Nordic Ministers decided as of March 4, 2022, to immediately discontinue all collaborative efforts with Russia and Belarus. The Nordic Ministers for Cooperation stand united in this decision. This means that programs, projects, and activities in Russia and Belarus are discontinued until further notice. In light of the stance put forth by the Nordic Ministers for Cooperation, Nordregio issues a moratorium as regards the disbursal of project funds, the acceptance of applications, the execution of projects, and the entry into agreements and the like that involve Russian and Belarusian parties. The intention is to end all contacts and collaborative efforts with governmental and public institutions of Russian or Belarusian origin. “Intellectual and cultural engagement between individuals is an important prerequisite to creating cohesion and mutual understanding between countries. It is devastating that this war in this way will affect cooperation in academia, research and culture – fields that are meant to serve as tools for mitigating conflicts, building global understanding across borders and supporting people-to-people contacts. The Director reserves the right to decide whether specific contacts and collaborative efforts are appropriate on a case-by-case basis if the circumstances change in the future,” says Nordregio Director Rolf Elmér. Nordregio has been involved with four projects with one or several Russian counterparts: FemArc, Semper Arctic, WANO and Accelerating wood construction across Nordics and Russia. All of these projects have been halted.
Stories from cross-border areas during Covid-19
The trust between people in cross-border regions is not gone but has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and municipal and regional micro diplomatic relations play an important role in rebuilding this trust – a recently published report shows. The “Covid-19 in Borderlands” (Covid-19 i gränslandet) report focuses on stories emerging from the Covid-19 crisis and the impact of border restrictions on communities along the Swedish-Norwegian border in Värmland (SE), Innlandet and Viken (NO). “We should not forget that in border areas, the border is, by and large, invisible. People live, work and thrive across borders; it is a promise of opportunity for many. With the COVID-19 crisis, the border became an obstacle to living life as normal. This may affect the future dynamics of cross-border living. We need to recognise that even if Sweden and Norway are two different countries, the countries are highly intertwined,” says an author of the report Mari Wøien Meijer, Research Fellow at Nordregio. According to the researcher, existing collaborative constellations have continued during the pandemic and are an important element in building political and diplomatic resilience. “Covid-19 in Borderlands” was written on behalf of Region Värmland, supporting their report on Swedish-Norwegian relations. Read the report here. (In Swedish)
Stronger institutions lead to higher Nordic trust
Strengthening institutions is crucial for mending Nordic trust and for building regional resilience in a post-pandemic world. This is the premise of a new academic article penned by Nordregio researchers. Alberto Giacometti, Mari Wøien Meijer and John Moodie, Nordregio researchers have worked together on a new academic article published in the Cross-Border Review Yearbook published by CESCI. The paper called “Trust: The social capital of border communities in the Nordic Region” looks into how the Covid 19 pandemic threatened the Nordic integration plans and the cooperation at large and how cross-border communities were heavily impacted. The researchers discuss the role of Nordic institutions and cross-border organizations in protecting the rights of citizens in border areas and introduce the concept of “adaptive institutionalization”. That could help establish a clear distribution of responsibilities across different levels of governance and thus help adapt cooperation to situations of potential future crisis. “We highlight the role of ‘trust’ as the ‘glue’ that keeps the Nordic collaboration in place, both among citizens and governance structures, which is pivotal for addressing future crises and global challenges,” says Alberto Giacometti, Nordregio Research Fellow. The 2021 edition of the yearbook is the eighth one and focuses on the riveting experience of life under the premises of a global and borderless pandemic. The “Cross-Border Review 2021” is intended primarily for the academic community, students of geography and political sciences and for all those who are curious about cross-border cooperation.
New Report: Nordic Cooperation amid pandemic travel restrictions
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a multi-level stress test for the Nordic Region. National pandemic measures have challenged the strong basis of open borders and free movement in Nordic cooperation. Nordregio Researchers Fellows, together with researchers from other institutions, have recently published a report ‘Nordic Cooperation amid pandemic travel restrictions’, drawing attention to the preparedness of the Nordic Region to jointly confront global crises at both national and local levels. The report explores strategies and travel restrictions adopted by four Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, and studies how the Nordic cooperation functioned in a crisis. At the local level, it examines the economic, labour market and social implications for three cross-border regions, Tornedalen (FI-SE border), Öresund (DK-SE border) and Svinesund (NO-SE border). While there is room for improvement in handling a crisis like the pandemic, the publication finds that there are diverging views on the desirability to have all-Nordic approaches to situations affecting national security. Measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus have taken a toll on society at large. However, the severe impacts observed in border areas have exposed the fragility of communities and businesses located along national borders to global crises. “Although it is, unsurprising, and perhaps even expected, that each country was to adopt their own national strategy to the pandemic, rather than a joint one; what is most striking, is the blindness towards the social cost of inward-looking policies,” says Mari Wøien Meijer, Research Fellow at Nordregio. Border restrictions undermine all aspects of life and business in border communities. The disruption of people’s lives in border areas has been challenging, frustrating, and a wake-up call to the realities of those choosing a borderless life. Several themes emerge from the cases in these four Nordic countries, including trust, the impact of the measures and border closures,…
Why is Nordic co-operation struggling during the pandemic?
Insights on Covid-19 impacts from the perspectives of cross-border communities During Covid-19, free movement of people and services, and trade across borders has been drastically disrupted. Despite existing co-operation agreements, the Nordic countries took uncoordinated actions to protect themselves. Border closures have heavily affected lives in border communities. How could Nordic co-operation recover after the pandemic by integrating the resilience approach and focusing on cross-border communities? Nordregio – Nordic Institute for Regional Development – launches a report that gives an overview of the situation in Nordic border communities following border closures. Results point to the need for a quick recovery and re-engagement in the Nordic Vision 2030, which states that the Nordic Region is to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world. Fragility of border communities and Nordic co-operation Since the introduction of the Nordic Passport Union in 1954, long before the establishment of the Schengen Area, Nordic citizens could travel without passports and reside freely in any Nordic country. Virtually borderless societies established strong connections with neighbouring countries. This allowed people to easily access goods, services and larger labour markets across Nordic countries. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries took unilateral actions to protect themselves, moving away from the Nordic Vision. Since then, border closures inflicted significant social, economic and political impact on the border regions: ‘Hard‘ borders re-emerged and border guards were deployed to stop border crossings. Border closures separated families and friends, and disrupted access to work, education and basic services. The closed Svinesund bridge connecting Sweden and Norway and a fence erected in the middle of Victoria Square between Haparanda and Tornio (Sweden-Finland) created a shock reaction in the communities which haven‘t experienced anything like it since World War II. Great economic losses resulted from a sudden absence of border shoppers…
Open call for picture submission
Help Nordregio to visualise life in the Nordic cross-border areas during COVID-19 Do you live in a Nordic cross-border area? Or have you visited any of these areas before or during the pandemic? Maybe you took a bunch of pictures there? The cross-border communities are facing many challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic and closed borders. Life is not the same any more – many have had to change their daily life and work routines. Nordregio researchers are working on several projects in relation to this situation and you will hear about them very soon. To complement the studies and raise awareness about the current challenges, we would like to ask you to contribute with pictures from Nordic cross-border regions. Guidelines for submission: The submitted picture is made by the person who is submitting; One person can submit up to 5 pictures; The pictures are taken in cross-border areas in the Nordics; The caption describes the location, time and situation portrayed; If people are portrayed in the picture, and their face is recognizable, their signed consent to publish a picture should be provided; If people in the picture are under 18 years old, the parents’ signed consent to publish the picture should be provided; The pictures size is min 1 MB – max 16 MB; The picture formats are jpg, jpeg, png. Share your pictures by the 5th of March! The pictures will be used to illustrate Nordregio’s scientific publications and communications material related to the studies. The submissions are not subsidized but a clear reference to the author will be made. If you have any questions or concerns, please, contact email@example.com