How can Åland improve its economic competence to manage future challenges? A new policy briefing on the topic emphasises the island’s importance of addressing contemporary megatrends, including demographic shifts, globalisation, digitalisation, and climate change. The article is a contribution to the Centrum Balticum Policy Briefing series and is written by Anna Lundgren, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, and co-author Jukka Teräs at NORCE.
Åland, the autonomous region with slightly over 30,000 inhabitants in the Baltic Sea, is both an island economy and strongly interconnected with its neighbours in the global world, for example through international shipping, trade, tourism and international networks. In this policy briefing, the authors explore the implementation of the EU Structural Funds in Åland (2014-2020) and discuss how Åland can improve its economic competence to manage future challenges. The development of firms is closely linked to the macro-level economic development of the region, and to release systemic benefits and foster sustainable development, it is important to analyse current megatrends and engage with stakeholders from different levels of government. Moreover, to improve the organisational, technical and learning capabilities in a small economy such as Åland, attracting talent and competence and fostering place-based solutions is important.