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Scania today (the s.c.nordic FAQ)
nordic flags
The home pages for the Usenet newsgroup soc.culture.nordic
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Scania today

There are probably three things that are a salient for the Scanian development today: membership in the European Union, the bridge over Öresund (the sea between Sjælland and Skåne) to Denmark/regional cooperation with Sjælland and Skåne becoming one region politically. These things are in contrast to much of that of history and culture openly discussed and many times pushed forward by local Scanian politicians:

 

7.6.8 Membership in the European Union

<This section by Malte Lewan>
In October 1995, Sweden voted a slight yes to become a member of the European Union. In Skåne, the decision was very clear though. It was the region the most favorable to membership in all of Sweden.

There is hope that Scania being a member of the EU can have positive implications for reasons of regional strength. There is talk about a Europe of the regions where the regions are getting more responsibility of conducting their own affairs and acting independently. The EU will probably to a certain degree result in the removal of administrative and political borders to neighbouring regions in other countries surrounding Scania. That is at least the explicit goal of the EU. In the long term, an abolition of customs controls and a common currency are discussed. This will especially benefit border regions.

The EU membership resulted in that Sweden needed to be divided into so called NUTS regions. These are regions that the EU use for socio- economic calculations, for example when determining distribution of subsidies from the EU structural funds. Of three levels 1-3, NUTS 2 is the most important, often called the "basic region". It's necessary that it has some sort of political controlling unit, a council or parliament. As a result of these demands for NUTS regions, Sweden and the EU agreed in 1995 on a division of NUTS 2 in Sweden into 8 regions. Skåne and Blekinge became one. Halland was decided to belong to another region. This EU NUTS 2 division has been made a business separate from the _internal_ regional one described late in 7.6.9 where Skåne _alone_ will constitute one region). Some people are not so happy with this that the boundaries had to be different, thereby splitting the regional focus.

The EU subsidizes the Interreg II program that supports border regional cooperation within the EU. For the Öresund region - that is: Greater København and all of Skåne - it will cover the years 1995-1999. The sum will be 13 million ECU for the whole project and 0.2 of these are used for a specific cooperation between south eastern Skåne and Bornholm. The same amount that the EU gives must be invested from the two states, thereby doubling the amount of money available.

Scania is also represented in the EU Committee of Regions in which the member states' regions have representatives. 2 of the 12 Swedish representatives are Scanians but that is not the result of any fixed quota granted to Skåne. The Committee of Regions has no decisional, but only advisory, powers in the EU. Still, in some EU countries, regional top politicians are members and have high hopes for the future of the institution before the EU intergovernmental congress in that started in Mars 1996.

 

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7.6.9 Cooperation with Sjælland and the bridge over Öresund

<This section by Malte Lewan>
There is since a few years a lot of talk in all kinds of sectors in Skåne public life about the prospect of a cooperative region involving Sjælland and Copenhagen. That's a goal every local politician seems to acknowledge nowadays. There are for example ideas about common transportation cards, a common TV channel, all kinds of cooperation projects in science, sports etc, a common labor market, and there has even been spoken of common Olympic Games in the year of 2008. Skåne was supposed to be a part of Copenhagen's arrangements as cultural capital of Europe in 1996, but in the end, the Scanian politicians decided to avoid some of its costs.

But maybe the most discussed project for better communications between Scania and Sjælland is the bridge over Öresund:

A bridge is being built between a point just south of Malmö and the airport of Copenhagen "Kastrup" which is the biggest airport in northern Europe. The bridge will be 16.5 km long and will carry cars as well as trains but not bikes. The current regional trains in Skåne and in Sjælland (the island on which Copenhagen lies) will be connected. It will take 28 min to go from Copenhagen to Malmö and 41 min to go to Lund. The university town of Roskilde will be on the same connection (26 min west of Copenhagen).

The bridge was planned to be finished 1999, but is not on schedule so current predictions are mentioning the year after. It will be financed by the car (and of course truck) traffic whose drivers will pay a few hundred SEK for a single trip, just below the prices of today's ferries. Train passengers will only pay the normal price of 50 SEK in today's money. The Swedish and Danish states will act as guarantors for the project.

The bridge was debated a lot because people were worried about hurting environmental effects. The flow of water between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea was one of the problems since it could be altered with damaging effects. The current solution is supposed to make sure there is no change at all in the water transportation. Other questions raised involved the increased car traffic and its environmental consequences.

 

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7.6.10 A politically united region

<This section by Malte Lewan>
In Skåne, there is a certain amount of dissatisfaction with the centralization of a lot of cultural and administrative activities around the capital Stockholm. For example,there has been a famous research that showed that Stockholm gets six times higher cultural subsidies than Malmö per inhabitant. The editorial offices of national radio and TV stations are usually located in Stockholm which many, not only Scanians, are worried give a particular Stockholm perspective in produced programs.

But Sweden is slowly in a process of getting a new division into regions. For the moment there are 24 smaller administrative provinces, "län", whose borders date back to the 1630's. In the future, there might be less than ten regions. What was long discussed (not a very loud debate though) was which areas would belong together and many different alternatives came up. Finally it was determined that Skåne and Western Sweden (including the second Swedish city Göteborg) would start out reuniting their respective län into two big regions (while the other Swedish län not involved would be left intact for the moment). The Scanian politicians were probably the most eager for this project and pushed rather strongly for it. (Already in 1992, did the main political organisations in Skåne submit a request to the government for a Skåne political region.) In this building of regions, the other parts of Skåneland - Blekinge and Halland - were omitted from being part of the new region. For now, they will continue being ordinary län.

So, a state official report in 1995 proposed that Skåne politically should become one region and that a directly elected regional council should be formed. The date was in a government proposition in 1996 specified to Jan 1, 1997. When this proposal will be carried through, today's two län councils will disappear and be substituted by the regional council. Some of the state administrative powers (concerning regional development) will be transferred to the region. The Swedish parliament will make a decision concerning this in 1996.

This report also suggested that the site of state administration would be Kristianstad in northern Skåne and this soon became a heated issue where the "capital of Skåne" would be. Malmö politicians were upset about making Kristianstad the administrative site and the positions seemed to be locked. Finally, this position was given to Malmö, a fact which of course angered the Kristianstad politicians much and who threatened to leave the project entirely.

Parallel to having this new common political institution, there is also already a will from the regional politicians to coordinate and integrate regional decision making. Many different political domains (eg communications, economic life, education, tourism) are examined one by one by selected teams on how to improve the way those decisions that concerns all of Skåne are made. This will be made with or without the help of a regional parliament. It seems, the theme is always one Skåne institution or organisation for different activities. This is not least visible in the names being used.

 

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7.6.11 International status

<This section by Malte Lewan>
Scania is a member of the national minority organization FUEV (Föderalistische Union Europäischer Volksgruppen [German]) which is located in Flensburg, Germany. Only regions with their own language, clearly defined border and a history to go back to, are accepted in the FUEV.

It is also a recent member of UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization). UNPO is an alternative to the UN for minorities of the world, which are not represented in there. UNPO is located in Haag, Netherlands where the Scanian flag now is flying.


Sources: Newspaper articles from "Sydsvenska Dagbladet", 1992-95 Brochures by SVEDAB (Svensk-Danska Broförbindelsen AB), 1993-94 Ett enat Skåne: www.skane.se, Öresundskomiteens: www.orestad.com



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© Copyright 1996-2001 by Malte Lewan.
You are free to quote this page as long as you mention the URL.
The line of flags is modified after a picture at det Åländska skoldatanätet.
This page was last updated June the 27th in the year of 1998.

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