Bleak economic outlook in the Fehmarbelt Region
The business leaders of the Fehmarnbelt region from Scania in Sweden over Zealand to North Germany agree that the short term (1-2 year) economic outlook is very weak. But seen in relation to the European economy, which as a whole, is declining in the autumn 2012, the forecast seems confident after all.

Picture:www.norden.org

The businesses expect a growth in their turnover of 4, 8 %. over the next 12 month. Export will increase by 2, 5 %, but employment only by 1 %. There are some regional differences: the turnover grew the most in Hamburg and the Capital Region of Denmark, but Schleswig-Holstein also foresees a growth in turnover. The Capital Region of Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg (only by 0.8%) foresee a growth in employment whereas Region Skåne and Region Zealand foresee a decline.

 

The source of these results is the first Fehmarn Belt Business Barometer, which has been commissioned by the project Green STRING Corridor and  Femern A/S (the company designing, constructing and later operating the fixed link across Fehmarn). Roskilde University in Denmark has done the research among 2100 companies in Southern Sweden, Zealand and Northern Germany.

 

We will over the years get a fairly good picture of the trends in these powerful North European economies in the STRING area (Region Skåne, Capital Region of Denmark, Region Zealand, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg). ''We have not yet done the full survey; but the preliminary results show that there is already a large cooperation between the businesses in the area'', says professor Per Homann Jespersen of Roskilde University.

 

Per Homann

 

The Barometer clearly shows how important accessibility and speedy transport is to businesses: when asked, transport time comes in as the most important barrier to further cooperation. And when we look at the expectations of the businesses, the physical contact is again important: the companies foresee more meetings - and 25 % foresee more employees from "the other side" once the fixed link is open.

 

It is the intention to have at least one yearly Business Barometer in order to follow the expectations from businesses in the region as a basis of growth.

 

As a comparison the latest forecast from the OECD from early September 2012 showed an expected decline in growth (measured by GNP) for the three largest Euro countries in the last two quarters of 2012 of - 1.0 and -0.7 respectively. For Germany, the expectations in the two last quarters were -0.5 and -0.8. The report does not take into account the latest EU initiatives regarding the Euro crises, but states that the global economy has weakened since spring, "led by developments in the euro area where recession is again taking hold". A lot of uncertainty prevails until the effects of the latest initiatives are proven.