The decision to let Malmö in the Copenhagen Metropolitan Region (the Øresund Region) arrange Eurovision Song Contest ESC 2013 is innovative, but the consternation and complaints from Stockholm, the main capital of Sweden, were not long in coming.
Stockholm live with a centuries-old tradition of a national state thinking where major international events, media coverage and the country’s economy is expected to be centralized in the main capital. Disappointing enough for the grudging Stockholmers it is not nation-states or capitals that attracts anymore, it is smart regions. Unlike the politicians in Stockholm who think in terms of national economy and Swedish tax, the politicians of Øresund have a more flexible advantage thinking in regional economy and regional growth. Stockholm needs Southern Sweden (for the tax), but does Southern Sweden need Stockholm? Who needs grudge?
What Stockholm have to do is to realize the ongoing revitalization of Sweden now in progress when having competition from Southern Sweden, with Øresund connecting Malmö, Copenhagen, the university city of Lund and Helsingborg into a super region which takes Sweden to Europe and the rest of the world. By numbers and intellectual capital, Øresund is “The Human Capital of Scandinavia”. Sweden does of course become richer with a diversity of prosperous regions and some competition, and not centralized silliness. How rich, dynamic and diverse would the U.S. be without Los Angeles – New York?
Southern Sweden is one of the world’s leading knowledge regions, and among the most innovative regions. This was recently stated by the economic cooperation organization OECD. With its 3.7 million inhabitants from around the world in the Copenhagen Metropolitan Region, Malmö have all the diversity of a region that can provide the ESC with an international profile, services and attractiveness required to maximize the quality of the event. Only the functional labor market region of Malmö makes it Sweden’s second city in size. The Øresund, with its location in the middle of the border between the countries of Sweden and Denmark, is a symbol of modern Europe, which is about mobility and exchange of goods, persons, services and capital – and culture (the fifth element that the EU politicians for some reason forgot in their declaration). The fact that the venue for the ESC 2013, Malmö Arena, is of the smaller type with its 15 000 seats, is a stroke of genius in terms of focus on quality in an arrangement that still is essentially a TV product where small size can deliver a higher quality than large scale. Just like Christer Björkman, the supervisor of the domestic division of ESC in Sweden says: “The smaller the arena, the more heart”.
With the world-leading companies and expertise within ICT in the Øresund Region, I am sure we will see new innovative solutions to provide all Europeans a Eurovision Song Contest 2013 that conveys the feeling of direct presence, participation, pattern-breaking technology and a first-class international cultural experience. The Loreen spirit.. Thank you SVT for a wise decision and being bold enough to think new!
In the following YouTube video here you can see a brand new film I’ve produced about the Øresund Region’s research, entrepreneurship, international investments and quality of life: