Øresund Region

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

The Øresund or Öresund Region (Danish: Øresundsregionen; Swedish: Öresundsregionen) is a transnational metropolitan area in northern Europe, centred on the cities of Copenhagen and Malmö. Thus it is also called the Copenhagen-Malmö Metropolitan Area. Located by the shores of the Øresund strait and connected by the Øresund Bridge, the Capital Region of Denmark and Region Zealand constitute the Danish side, while Skåne County constitutes the Swedish side.[1] The region has a population of 3,848,163(1 April 2014) and a population density of 184/km².[1]

Since the Treaty of Roskilde of 1658, Scania (Swedish: Skåne) has been part of Sweden; for most of the period from 800 to 1658, the Øresund Region was united under the flag of Denmark. In recent years, part of the population has stressed Scania's regional identity again.[2] The Øresund Region consists of both rural and urban areas. There are two metropolitan areas within the region, Copenhagen metropolitan area and Metropolitan Malmö.[3] Areas on the periphery of the region have a relatively low population density, whereas the two metropolitan areas of Copenhagen and Malmö are two of the most densely populated in Scandinavia, with approximately 2.6 million inhabitants together. Helsingborg also forms an important urban hub on the Swedish side. Although the southwest of Scania is sometimes called the Malmö-Lund area, these two cities remain distinct both geographically and culturally.[citation needed]

Cross-border activity[edit]

The Øresund Region is an important hub for economic activity in Scandinavia.[citation needed]

In 2007, almost 25 million people traveled over the Øresund Bridge: 15.2 million by car and bus, and 9.6 million by train. By 2009, the figure had risen to a total of 35.6 million travellers by car, coach, train or ferry.[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% 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 Øresund 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[edit]

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[edit]

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 of the rules for taxes, social security, pension and unemployment benefits. While specific tax treaties exist for the region, there are still problems with administrating them. People commuting to work over the border (Danish: grænsegænger, Swedish: gränsarbetare) had a problem receiving information of rules affecting them and sometimes 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 Øresund Region, but working on the Danish side, lose their right to vote in general elections in Denmark as long as they work in Denmark.[12]

Statistics[edit]

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[edit]

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

  1. Danish Capital Region
  2. Remainder of Danish Øresund
  3. South Skåne
    • Southwestern Scania (metropolitan area)
  4. West Skåne
  5. North-East Skåne

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Geography". Tendens Øresund. Retrieved 29 October 2010. 
  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. ^ http://uk.oresundsbron.com/page/34
  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[edit]

Coordinates: 55°34′N 12°49′E / 55.567°N 12.817°E / 55.567; 12.817