Integrated, up-to-date and sustainable transport networks, not least across borders, are key drivers of economic growth, job creation and ensuring a good quality of life for all citizens. The STRING region is uniquely positioned as a nexus between the Scandinavian countries and Northern Germany and continental Europe. The transport infrastructure in the region should therefore form a corridor that enables both internal and external mobility and supports development of a more prosperous, liveable and sustainable society. As such, infrastructure should be the backbone in all of STRINGs activities - the prerequisite that needs to be in place in order for all other development to follow.
To make this a reality,fourinfrastructure projects are of particular importance to STRING:
• The Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link:
The construction of the Fixed Link across the Fehmarnbelt will dramatically improve connectivity in the STRING region as well as the whole ScanMed TEN-T corridor, and improve accessibility and mobility following the completion of the road and rail corridor between Hamburg and Copenhagen will lead to economic growth and jobs. Our overall target is reflected in a journey time of 2½ hours between Hamburg and Copenhagen. Until construction is assured, this remains the main infrastructure focus for STRING.
• An improved and sustainable railway connection between Gothenburg-Oslo
An improvement of the existing railway stretch between Gothenburg- Oslo to include double tracks and the potential for high-speed rail is essential in order to avoid this stretch becoming a bottleneck in the TEN-T ScandMed corridor once the Fehmarnbelt Link is in place. It is also a necessary development in order to assure more freight on rail between Sweden and Norway. Once the final approval processes for the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link are in place, we need to make sure that we are geared for the next steps. Therefore, we will also work for the Gothenburg-Oslo railway as well as our regional business development to become an EU priority through increasing our presence at the EU level, as well as profiling ourselves towards national government in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, and Berlin.
• Fixed links across the Øresund
The Øresund Bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen has led to increased and successful cross-border cooperation in the region. With the completion of the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link, traffic flows are expected to increase and capacity issues at the Øresund Bridge are anticipated in the future. New fixed links across the Øresund, between Helsingborg and Helsingør and an Øresund metro between Malmö and Copenhagen, are necessary in a future perspective and STRING will therefore work to ensure that new fixed links across the Øresund become reality as soon as possible.
• Removal of bottlenecks
Whilst communicating the importance of these two projects to governments, businesses and individuals is a key priority, these cannot be seen in isolation. For these projects to have maximum success, we also need to focus on eliminating all bottlenecks in the ScandMed TEN-T corridor between Hamburg and Oslo. This means that STRING also works to:
- Enable the full integration of sustainable transport infrastructure in the STRING region with European transport networks
- Enable a low emission transport infrastructure
- Get high speed train services
- Assure inclusive mobility
- Receive maximum EU funding for regional investments
The outcomewill be the successful construction of the fixed link across Fehmarn Belt and its hinterland connections in Denmark and Germany, as well as an improved railway system between Gothenburg-Oslo. We will, by 2030, have a customer-friendly and efficient transport system linking Northern Europe to Central Europe and a system that paves the way for sustainable growth and integration between Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. This, in turn, will eliminate several of the practical barriers standing in the way of the STRING region claiming the title as the world leading Green Hub.
Whilst improved infrastructure and the creation of a Green Investment Hub will be at the heart of STRING, we will continue to work across sectors to support tangible cross-border projects and initiatives suggested and championed by our partners, such as the Fehmarnbelt Days, political festivals, and the cultivation of networks. We will also continue to facilitate interaction between projects and partners that will lead to more lighthouse projects within infrastructure and a green economy. Additionally, STRING will together with its cities and regions systemise our efforts and presence in Brussels.
In the ongoing process, there will be a focus on the development of other internal papers such as a work programme, handouts, and lobbying plans in relation to the strategy.