In the wake of the STRING conference in Stockholm on the integration of infrastructure in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, there is an even stronger call for the formation of a Danish-Swedish infrastructure commission.
More than 120 participants from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland joined forces to discuss how to build connectivity across national borders and barriers. The time has come to think in bigger pictures – to zoom out on the map!
First along we saw the “Beltretter” - "Belt Savers". They were, and are, against the Fehmarn project and highly critical of the modernisation of the railway and road connection to the tunnel between Lübeck and Puttgarden. At the beginning of the year “beltoffen” – “Belt Open” entered the scene. They are based in East Holstein: A small, yet growing organization who would like to create transparency, connections and dialogue across the Fehmarn Belt. "beltoffen" chairman Björn Prölß would like to give the silent majority a voice in the debate.
The German Federal Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt has presented the Federal Government's draft for their infrastructure plan, Bundesverkehrswegeplan 2030. North Germany is satisfied: Most wishes are fulfilled and the expansion of road and rail links from Lübeck to the upcoming Fehmarn connection are both prioritized and funded.
The STRING politicians adopted the 'Stockholm Declaration' at their biannual political meeting in Stockholm on April 8. There is a urgent need for a shift of paradigms in European infrastructure planning. The planning of infrastructure can no longer be seen as a national affair.
The Danish government will concentrate more on Germany: Targeted business promotions and support for young Danes in German internships is the way forward. Almost a third of the state funds available for export promotion in 2016 and 2017 will be spent on Germany. The government has allocated a total of 20 million Danish Kroner over the next two years.
Representatives from Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the EU meet on Friday the 8th in Stockholm to pave the way for a future standardised, borderless transport system between Scandinavia and Central Europe. The Fehmarnbelt project between Denmark and Germany and the plans for high-speed railways in Sweden will be a game changer for the economic development in Northern Europe.
Green light for contract negotiations with development consortia. In the beginning of March, the conciliation parties in the Danish Parliament gave Femern A/S the green light to enter concrete negotiations for the construction of the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link. Now all eyes are fixed on a sign for the signing of the contracts – the signing is expected to happen in the beginning of May.
Femern A/S has just filed an updated and comprehensive application of the building permit for the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link – a total of 11,000 pages.
The latest updated economic calculations show that the economy of the Fehmarn project is robust: Figures show significantly lower construction costs and nearly a doubled reserve frame. This applies even if the German approval process is delayed. Now, Danish STRING politicians call on the conciliatory parties give the go-ahead for the binding agreements with contractors.