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The Oresund strait between Malmö and Copenhagen with Malmö in the foreground and the island of Amager and part of southern Copenhagen in the background.
Copenhagen, with Parliament to the right and the former Stock Exchange to the left
Helsingborg
Malmö, with the Turning Torso skyscraper

Øresund or Öresund Region (Danish: Øresundsregionen; Swedish: Öresundsregionen) is a transnational region in southern Scandinavia located by the shores of the Øresund strait and connected by the Oresund Bridge. The Danish part is constituted by the islands of Zealand, Lolland, Falster, Møn and Bornholm. The part on the eastern side of the sound is Scania (Swedish: Skåne), Sweden. As of 1 October 2009, the region has a population of 3,726,859 and a population density of about 179/km².[1]

The Oresund Region was united under one flag, that of Denmark, for nearly all of the period 800 to 1658. Since the Treaty of Roskilde of 1658, Scania has been part of Sweden. In recent years, part of the population has stressed Scania's regional identity again,[2] but Scanian separatism remains very limited and is not a politically hot issue in any sense.

The Oresund Region consists of both rural areas and two larger metropolitan areas, the Greater Copenhagen Area and the city of Malmö on the Swedish side of the strait.[3]. Beyond Malmö, Lund and Helsingborg form important urban hubs on the Swedish side, but although Lund is sometimes loosely counted into a "Greater Malmö" urban cloud there exists no formal metro area and the cities remain firmly distinct both geographically and culturally. Areas in northern and eastern Scania, as well as areas in the western and southern Danish parts of the region, have a relatively low population density, whereas the central Copenhagen-Malmö axis is the most populous and most densely populated urban area in Scandinavia with approximately 2.5 million inhabitants.

Contents

Cross-border activity

The Oresund Region is the second largest population concentration in Europe north of Germany after St Petersburg and is an important hub for economic activity in Scandinavia.[4] Statistics compiled in January 2007 show 14,000 people commuting each day over the Öresund Bridge.[5] Compared with 2005, the commuter traffic increased by 43 per cent in 2006. The growing number of Swedes commuting in order to take advantage of the need for labour on the job market in Copenhagen and the higher salaries offered in Denmark, as well as an increased immigration of Danes to the south of Sweden, were essential factors in the traffic increase.[5] In 2006, 4,300 persons moved from the Danish part of the Oresund Region to Scania, attracted by lower Scanian real estate prices.[5] Since July 2000, 22,500 Danes have moved to Scania.[6]

Apart from work related commuting, Swedes cross over to Copenhagen to enjoy shopping and nightlife, to attend cultural and educational institutions and to use Copenhagen Airport. The airport in Scania, Malmö Airport is located 47 km (29.2 mi) from Copenhagen Airport and has limited international air traffic.

After the opening of the bridge, an 'Öresund identity' has been promoted in the region in order to counter-act various barriers to cross-border cooperation caused by nationalistic sentiments on both sides.[7] In 1997, a consortium of twelve universities (four Swedish and eight Danish) from both sides of the Sound has been established, opening up all courses, libraries and other facilities to all students, teachers and researchers from the region.[8] The universities have 150 000 students and more than 14,000 researchers combined. The secretariat is located at Lund University and at the University of Copenhagen.

The commercial interaction across the border has also significantly increased. Currently, an average of 15,800 vehicles cross the bridge each day.[9]

The ports of Copenhagen and Malmö were merged in 2001 to form a single company, Copenhagen Malmö Port. This cross-border merger of two ports into one legal entity is the first in history, according to Copenhagen Malmö Port AB, the Swedish registered limited liability company operating the port, a company equally owned by Port of Copenhagen and Port of Malmö.[10]

Political and administrative structure

Since 1993, local, regional and national authorities have cooperated in a regional policy forum called the Øresund Committee. The forum consists of 32 politicians and 32 deputies, whose election periods differ as they comply with the functional period for the various authorities they represent. The two state authorities have 12 appointed governmental representatives each on the committee. A commission of civil servants, the Øresund Commission, handles the day-to-day administrative tasks.[11]

The committee is legally a member organization funded by its members and by the Nordic Council through external project funding. The European Union cross-border projects have supported the region through Interreg II (1994-1999) and Interreg IIIA, operative since the end of 2000.[11] In 1997, an EU-funded EURORES project was launched in the region in order to promote a common labor market.

Problems

One deterrent to closer economic integration is the lack of a single currency, as both Sweden and Denmark maintain their own currencies, the Danish krone and Swedish krona, although both are accepted in some areas of the other country.

Another problem has been a lack of transparency and coordination of the rules for taxes, social security, pension and unemployment benefits. People commuting to work over the border had a problem receiving information of rules affecting them and risked paying double taxes. They also risked losing the right to unemployment benefits because foreign employment did not contribute to entitlements in their home state, losing the right to kindergarten for their small children for the same reason etc. Some of these problems have been solved after the recent years of political coordination between the countries, but the local tax authorities have difficulties implementing the complex rules for cross-border taxation. [11]

An imbalance in the municipal budgets is also a problem, since the flow of commuters move mostly in one direction: from the residential side in Sweden to the labor market side in Denmark. Rules of taxation have left the Scanian municipalities with increased costs not covered by increased tax revenues from the growing commuter population mainly taxed in the country of employment.[11]

A third problem is voting privileges; Danes living on the Swedish side of the Oresund Region lose their right to vote in general elections in Denmark.[12]

Statistics

Region Population Area Density
Danish Capital Region 1,823,109 2,864 km² 636.5/km²
Remainder 608,036 6,970 km² 87.2/km²
Total for Danish part: 2,431,145 9,834 km² 247.2/km²
South Skåne 683,886 2,680 km² 255.1/km²
West Skåne 305,982 2,730 km² 112.1/km²
North-East Skåne 162,829 3,705 km² 43.9/km²
Total for Swedish part: 1,125,697 11,035 km² 102.0/km²
Grand Total 3,583,842 20,869 km² 171.7/km²

Data as of January 1, 2004

Population density in the region.

Statistical areas

The region is divided into five statistical areas, two in Denmark and three in Sweden.

  1. Danish Capital Region
  2. Remainder of Danish Oresund
  3. South Skåne
  4. West Skåne
  5. North-East Skåne

References

  1. ^ The Öresund Region. General facts. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
  2. ^ Peter, Laurence. "Bridge shapes new Nordic hub". BBC News, 14 September 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
  3. ^ Garlick, Steve, Peter Kresl and Peter Vaessen (2006). "The Øresund Science Region: A cross-border partnership between Denmark and Sweden." Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), June 2006, Chapter 2.2. Socio-economic environment, p. 14.
  4. ^ Öresundskomiteen. The Oresund Region in 30 seconds. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
  5. ^ a b c Commuter traffic cause of strong growth in traffic volume on the Øresund Bridge in 2006. Press release, 2 January 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
  6. ^ "Stadig flere danskere flytter til Skåne". Politiken, online version, 17 August 2007. In Danish. Retrieved 31 August 2007.
  7. ^ The Öresund Committee.Living in the Øresund Region. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
  8. ^ Øresund University. What is Øresund University?. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
  9. ^ Øresundsbro Konsortiet. Traffic development on the Øresund Bridge. 2 January 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
  10. ^ CM Port. History in brief. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
  11. ^ a b c d Greve, Bent and Maj Rydbjerg. Research Paper no. 11/03: Cross-Border Commuting in the EU: Obstacles and Barriers. Country Report: The Øresund Region. Roskilde University, 2003, ISSN 13991396. Available in pdf format from Roskilde University. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  12. ^ Roijer, Frida. Danskar i Sverige kräver rösträtt i Danmark. Sydsvenskan, 8 November 2007. (In Swedish). See also Swedish MP marvels at Danish law. News section, Nordic Council of Ministers, 12 November 2007.

External links

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