There is a lack of transportation-, energy- and information & communications technology (ICT) infrastructure between Scandinavia and Germany. The Öresund bridge (Malmö – Copenhagen) is all ready at its capacity, but Denmark has signaled that they are not going to support any new fixed links over the Öresund, except for perhaps a local metro to Malmö. Norway is making a decision on high-speed rail in 2013 and Sweden in 2014. This 100 year decision should therefore also have a 100 year perspective on what European context this several billion euro infrastructure investment will be taken within. If Denmark says no to more capacity over the Öresund, is it then possible to think of alternative fixed links from Sweden to Germany?
Why are fixed links to the European continent so important? Due to lack of capacity over the Öresund and unattractive ferry and train connections between Sweden and Germany, rail has lost 80% of its volume in the last decades. Today rail is having a market share of less than 2% and lorries have taken most of the market. Because of uncoordinated planning and a lack of rail infrastructure in Northern Europe, it is expected that lorry traffic in Scandinavia and Northern Germany will increase with 5% per year in coming decades, with growing negative consequences for energy use, emissions, congestions and road safety. A fixed link between Sweden and Germany and a new high-speed rail which transport both goods, people and perhaps energy, could turn the trend around and lead to a more energy effective and environmental transportation on rails.
Norway and Sweden have a growing surplus of clean, renewable energy, and this is expected to increase in the decades to come. Norway in particular has large amounts of clean energy from hydro electrical sources. Research has shown that Norway could serve as a ‚green battery’ for Germany. This demands a committed long term cooperation not yet in place.
Transportation planning is usually not done in coordination with energy and ICT infrastructure planning, neither within, nor between countries in Western Europe. Norway is part of the EEA, and the EU has the TEN-T program, but Northern Europe still lacks effective international institutions to deal with these challenges and possibilities. It is assumed that a closer cooperation in this respect will reach enormous social, economic and environmental surpluses for the society. The COINCO GmbH and the COINCO South initiative aims to create such an institutional platform and start research into the possibilities and potentials that such a corridor of cooperation can stimulate.