Valgerður Sverrisdottir Minister of Industry and Commerce
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to the first i2i conference, "Innovation and networking in aquaculture", here in Egilsstaðir.
Iceland became a full member of the Northern Periphery Programme in 2002 and it is now an important element of the Regional Development Policy.
In recent years the world has changed rapidly because of factors in technology, economy and politics. These changes can also be seen in increased globalization which has affected, the economy and culture on global, national and regional level, with both opportunities and threats for business and people.
The key challenge is however to cope with these changes, take advantage of opportunities and strengths and to create new ones for business, people and regions.
Geographic distance is becoming an increasingly less important factor in the establishment and maintenance of border-crossing economic, political and socio-cultural relations. Therefore it is more important than ever to strengthen cooperation between municipalities, regions and countries. This will enhance the economy, culture and the standard of living.
The i2i is a very interesting program The aim is to develop an integrated process to facilitate and support innovation within partnerships, micro/SME sectors, academia and public authorities, and the positive exploitation of their inherent knowledge, expertise and personal and professional networks, resulting in new business opportunities across the sectors.
It will also provide explicit guidance and mentoring in how to develop effective transnational, relationships, through the creation of a guide and learning tools. The i2i creates opportunities for individual, organisational and systemic learning through case studies, exchange of experience through meetings and conferences, as well as developing a competence in cross-sector, multi-disciplinary networking.
Co-operation and partnerships between countries and regions is the overall aim of the NPP programme. I am confident that the work at this meeting during the next two days will bring us closer together and help our common tasks of the regional development in the Northern Periphery.
The work in this project will be an important and valuable addition to future co-operation between the Northern countries. I look forward to learning more about your activities.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would again like to welcome our foreign guests to Iceland, exspecially to the east part of Iceland which is my constituancy. I wish you a pleasant stay.
May you all have a fruitful meeting and I wish you all the best.