The mayors of the Arctic cities of Oulu, Tromsö and Luleå, members of the NSPA (Northern Sparsely Populated Areas) network, have together submitted a statement in which they discuss the main challenges and opportunities for the European Arctic.
The three university cities of Oulu, Tromsö and Luleå have a combined total of 340 000 inhabitants, which amounts to nearly 10% of the total population in the European Arctic. These three Arctic cities are important centres for growth and employment in their respective regions; and therefore the Arctic mayors stress that they should be considered as key stakeholders with respect to EU Arctic policy.
A good infrastructure and transport solutions are key factors in an economically healthy development in the European Arctic, the mayors point out. They are convinced that it is necessary to improve transportation, both within and into/out of the Arctic region. One example of an improved transport initiative is the newly-launched Arctic Airlink, which has shortened the travelling time between the three cities significantly. The main challenges for the area, as the mayors see it, include becoming/remaining attractive locations for a large young population, sustainable growth and improved connectivity and logistics.
Furthermore, the mayors emphasize that cooperation between the Arctic cities is a powerful tool for development in the region, but that for this to occur, investments in sustainable growth, making labour mobility easier and sustainable communities are needed.
Oulu, Tromsö and Luleå have all endorsed the NSPA's view on the EU Arctic Policy and the recommendations of the Growth from the North report.
The common statement can be read here