Greeting message of Ann-Sofi Backgren, First Vice-President of AEBR :

Ann-Sofi Backgren, Member of the Board of the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia, was elected First Vice-President of AEBR on the occasion of the AEBR General Assembly 2010 in Dundalk.



First of all I am very glad, honored and humbled to have been appointed in Dundalk, Ireland as the first Vice President among all other Vice Presidents in the Association of European Border Regions. Thank you for your trust.

Maybe I say some words of myself. I am coming from the Ostrobothnian region in the western part of Finland. We have a maritime border region with Sweden. Swedish is also my mother tongue that means I am belonging to the Swedish speaking minority in Finland. My home region, Ostrobothnia, is a bilingual region, Swedish and Finnish with Swedish as the main language, but we also have immigrants coming from many countries. Ostrobothnia is today one of the most international regions in Finland.

Influences from many cultures, languages and collaboration, create new ideas and new business. These factors have a good impact when we are thinking of and planning the Future. Looking at AEBR, we could say the same. This organization gives the possibility for good collaboration between regions, languages and cultures. AEBR gives us all a good platform for working for the Future in our home regions and in Europe as a whole. European Union needs this collaboration in cross-border regions to create a better and stronger Europe. It is in the cross-border regions we meet the obstacles as a miniature of Europe. We have to deal with these obstacles every day and we have to solve them. Cross-border regions can provide Europe and other regions many Best Practice and also be places for experiment. Cross-border regions and their cooperation can create new ideas, new business and economic growth.  But new ideas, new solutions, new business needs also financing. That is why EU-programmes such as INTERREG are still very important. The Territorial Agenda is needed to go on after the year of 2013 and AEBR will make efforts for that. The Territorial Agenda is an important part of the EU structural policy and also for implementing the EU2020-strategy.

We should also promote more new methods for cross-border cooperation. The EGTC gives us a great new instrument. Let us use it and create more cross-border hospitals, cross-border universities, more cross-border business and more cross-border people to people activity.

Investing in people, investing in regions means investing in the Future of Europe.

We are ALL a part of a great organization, The Association of European Border Regions. Together we are stronger, together we can develop Europe. 

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