International Co-operation

The Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia operates in several regional, national and international networks, which promote internationalisation and international co-operation.

Map of Europe in sepia colours with a net of strings connecting pins as main cities

Regional and national networks

  • The West Finland European Office (WFEO) is the joint regional office in Brussels for the Regional Councils of South Ostrobothnia, Central Finland, Ostrobothnia and Satakunta. WFEO acts as the lobbying office for the regions, and its tasks also include client assignments, supporting regional operators in utilising EU-funding and informing them of EU decision making. An important platform for WFEO in seeking and providing information is ERRIN, a network of European regions in Brussels.
  • Subscribe to WFEO newsletters on different themes.
  • South Ostrobothnia’s Excellence Forum for internationalisation is a network of the region’s central research, development and educational operators. The aim of the forum is to obtain international export projects on research, development, education and expertise for the region and to substantially grow region’s project funding.
  • Team Finland is a national network of all public internationalisation services offered for Finnish companies. Among its members are e.g. Business Finland and Finnvera. Team South Ostrobothnia is a regional co-operation network supporting Team Finland’s work. The network coordinates international events in the region and provides information on both the regional and national opportunities for internationalisation.
  • In addition, the Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia participates in the cooperation network of municipalities and regional councils coordinated by the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and in the network of regional councils’ employees working on international affairs.

International networks

  • The eHealth for Regions Network supports international cooperation and development activities on health technology, health and wellbeing. Project and information exchange have a pivotal role in the network.
  • ERIAFF – The European Region for Innovation in Agriculture, Food and Forestry network was constituted on 2012 as an informal partnership to facilitate the integration of European policies in favour of innovation in agriculture, food and forestry areas. ERIAFF has reached the aggregation of 50 Regions from 21 European Union Member States. ERIAFF members have developed 11 Interregional Operational Groups, of which many have made a considerable contribution to the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) Agrifood Platform, launched by the European Commission. South Ostrobothnia is involved in four of which three have the status of a Thematic Network of the Agrifood Platfom and one, “Food Systems”, established in 2021, is lead by Seinäjoki University of Applied sciences on behalf of the Regional Council.
  • AER – the Assembly of European Regions is a political advocacy organisation that has an official negotiation position in terms of EU and drives the interests of the member regions. The organisation has member regions from 30 countries.
  • The Kvarken Council is a cross-order cooperation for the three Regional Councils of Ostrobothnia and the cities of Vaasa, Kokkola, Seinäjoki and Jakobstad in Finland, as well as the Regional Council of Västerbotten and the Municipality of Örnsköldsvik in Sweden. The Council supports the cooperation between various actors in the Kvarken region, reduces and eliminates border barriers, increases the visibility of the region at national and European levels, works actively in several European networks, utilises the region’s strengths and supports the development of the region.

Friendship regions

  • The Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia has concluded agreements of cooperation with the region of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, the county of Louth in Ireland and the city of Hanoi in Vietnam. In addition, the Council cooperates actively with the Kujawsko-Pomorskie province in Poland.

Thematic Smart Specialisation Platforms

The Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia together with Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences participates in four smart specialisation thematic areas related to agriculture and food set by the European Commission:

  • High-tech Farming
  • Consumer Involvement in Agri-Food
  • Traceability and Big Data
  • Smart Sensors for Agri-Food

More information about thematic smart specialisation platforms: https://s3platform.jrc.ec.europa.eu/home