“The impression I get here is that it is powerful, both physically to see and hear everything. But also in terms of workforce, housing and the work and investments that are made here. I will take that with me,” says Erik Slottner (KD), Minister for Civil Affairs.
On June 19-20, Minister of Civil Affairs Erik Slottner (KD) visited Norrbotten and Boden. The delegation from the Ministry of Finance met with staff from the County Administrative Boardand representatives from the county’s municipalities. The agenda for discussion included housing, civil protection, growth and development.
“The visit of the Minister of Civil Affairs is a good example of dialog between the county and the government. An increased understanding of Norrbotten’s opportunities and challenges increases the conditions for us to work together to give the county and the country the best conditions for continued development, says County Governor Lotta Finstorp.
The Minister and other participants also met H2 Green Steel and were given a tour of the Boden Industrial Park. Intensive work is underway there in preparation for the construction of Europe’s first new steel plant in 50 years and the world’s largest hydrogen plant, scheduled to start in 2025. The area of the steel plant is 2×1 km. In addition, there is the hydrogen plant of 0.5×1 km. During the construction phase in the coming years, 5-6000 construction workers are needed.
For Boden, the ministerial visit included the participation of Claes Nordmark, who is also chairman of Norrbotten’s municipalities, in the talks. Also present at Boden Industrial Park were representatives from H2 Green Steel, Boden’s business manager Mats Berg and Thomas Fägerman, CEO of Boden Business Park. Together they gave a basic picture of what is happening and how the municipality of Boden and H2 Green Steel are working together in the challenges and opportunities of the extremely fast process. Mats Berg explained, among other things, how the municipality of Boden has rigged the work organizationally to meet the schedule, skills supply, infrastructure, business, housing and more. With H2 Green Steel’s future net export value estimated at 30 billion, green industrialization in Boden is of national value. As a municipality, taking the lead and getting the equation right requires understanding, insight and support at a national level.
“We are facing a huge challenge where we have to find a balance in costs. It’s important that the government is involved and helps with the hump,” says Mats Berg, head of the business community.
“The current social system for small municipalities is not built for such rapid and large-scale expansion. I hope that more ministers will come here to see, learn and understand – and then act,” says Claes Nordmark.
Impact on a broad front
The day before, Mats Berg and Thomas Fägerman, together with several municipalities, H2 Green Steel, Northvolt, SSAB, LKAB, Boliden and the regions, also participated in a digital meeting about the government’s continued work on new industrialization and social transformation in Norrbotten and Västerbotten counties. The same message was also conveyed to staff from the Ministry of Climate and Industry and the Ministry of Agriculture and Infrastructure.
“An investment of this size is challenging and significant for municipalities, regardless of where in the country it takes place,” says Fägerman.