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The regions of northern Finland, Norway and Sweden have in common many characteristics such as sparse population, harsh climate and long distances. This part of Europe is also specifically affected by globalisation, energy-supply, climate change and demographic change. The region has a population density of only 4.9 inhabitants per km2, something that cannot be found in any other part of the European Union.
The NSPA (Northern Sparsely Populated Areas) network represents close collaboration between the four northernmost counties of Sweden (Norrbotten, Västerbotten, Jämtland, Västernorrland), the seven northernmost and eastern regions of Finland (Lapland, Northern Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, North Karelia, Pohjois-Savo and Etelä-Savo) and North Norway (Finnmark, Troms and Nordland). The network works together to raise awareness of the region in the EU institutions, influence EU policies and provide a platform for sharing best practises.